Sunday, July 11, 2010

Don't give them half a loaf ...

Some excerpts from Diane Ravitch's "Friend of Education" Speech at the NEA. The entire speech can be found at:

"Since my book appeared in early March, … I would say that I have met so far about 20,000 teachers, and after today I think I am going to increase it to 30,000. And in all of this time, aside from the right-wing think tanks, I haven’t seen met a single teacher who likes what’s happening. I haven’t met a single teacher who thinks that No Child Left Behind has been a success. I haven’t met a single teacher who thinks that Race to the Top is a good idea."

"Why has the Obama Administration built its education agenda on the punitive failed strategies of No Child Left Behind?"

"I have been told by some people in the Obama Administration that the way to stop the narrowing of the curriculum is to test everything."

"The single most reliable predictor of test scores is poverty, and poverty, in turn, is correlated to student attendance, to family support, and to the school’s resources."

"And perhaps we should begin demanding that school districts be held accountable for providing the resources that schools need."

"Instead of the current wave of so-called reforms, we should ask ourselves how to deliver on our belief that every student in this nation should learn not only basic skills, but should have a curriculum that includes the arts, history, geography, civics, foreign languages, mathematics, science, physical education, and health. But instead of this kind of rich curriculum, all they are getting is a heavy dose of high-stakes testing and endless test preparation. And as the stakes increase for teachers and schools, there will be more emphasis on test prep and not what children need."

"We need experienced principals who are themselves master teachers. We do not need a wave of newcomers who took a course called 'How to be a principal.' We need superintendents who are wise and experienced educators, not lawyers and businessmen."

"Stand up to the attacks on public education. Don’t give them half a loaf, because they will be back the next day for another slice, and the day after that for another slice. Don’t compromise."

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