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Educator and author Diane Ravitch shared her thoughts on issues ranging from the privatization of education to low teacher morale. Check out highlights, or listen to the complete interview online.
“Corporate Reformers” Want Charters To Prevail
They want higher standards for public schools, because they want the public schools to fail, and they want lower standards for charter schools ... currently, we’re just pouring on the testing, pouring on the accountability to the point where teachers say they just can’t stand it anymore, all we do is test kids.
Public Schools Will Be Dumping Grounds
I think we’re going towards a re-establishment of the dual school system, and I think we’re going to see it emerging in many cities, cities like Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Chicago, DC, where the charter schools will be for students who are able and nimble and have motivated parents, and then the remaining public schools will be dumping grounds for the kids who are not able to keep up and who get kicked out of the charter schools ... When I talk about a dual school system, I’m talking about separation not by race, but separation by class. I don’t want to sound alarmist, but I think that’s where we’re heading.
Teach for America
What places like Nevada and other places are doing is they’re hiring Teach for America. And these are young kids that have very little training, they have five weeks of training, they come in, they’re idealistic, they knock themselves out and two years later they’re gone. On the whole they don’t get better results than well-prepared teachers, but what’s the end game of this? We are destroying the teaching profession.
Nevada: You Get What You Pay For
I know that Nevada, for example, I was just looking at high school graduation rates the other day – Nevada has the lowest high school graduation rates in the U.S. And from everything I’ve heard from teachers in Nevada – and I frequently get emails from teachers in Las Vegas, Clark County, and also the rest of the state – teachers’ salaries are very low, teachers are not held in high regard. The state wants to get education on the cheap, and you’re getting what you pay for, just like everything else in life.