Ravitch: The ‘White House’s obsession with data is sick’

Diane Ravitch (Network for Public Education)
Diane Ravitch
(Network for Public Education)

Education historian and activist Diane Ravitch has been blasting the Obama administration for a long time for education policies that have expanded the importance of standardized tests and promoted the privatization of public education. She was just in Washington to talk with U.S. legislators about the dangers of corporate-influenced school reform and she made some of her strongest statements yet, according to my colleague Lyndsey Layton.

Ravitch, who has become the unofficial leader of a growing anti-reform movement and who is promoting her new book, “The Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools,” was on Capitol Hill on Tuesday with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten meeting with legislators, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Ravitch, who was hosted at AFT headquarters at a reception on Tuesday night, said the school reformers are doing nothing to help children and she doesn’t know “whether it is a period of madness or greed.” (Maybe it’s both.)

She also spoke about the administration’s promotion of policies that it says are “data driven” even though the data are too often highly questionable and even useless. High among these policies is the insistence that students and teachers  and principals and schools be evaluated for high-stakes purposes on student standardized tests, a method that assessment experts say is unreliable and shouldn’t be used in this way. She said:

“It makes me want to throw up. The White House’s obsession with data is sick.”

You can read more here.

 

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss · February 5