Volume 16 Issue 3
By Dina Martin
Once an educational conservative and an early supporter of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy, Diane Ravitch has shaken up the education world by doing a complete about-face on testing, accountability, and the merits of charter schools.
In the process, she has become a champion of educators who show up every day to teach their students.
Through her speeches, her appearances on popular shows such as Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” her tweets, and her best-selling book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, Ravitch continues to take on the privatizers, the charter school movement, and those who have little understanding of what goes on in the American classroom.
That’s why three CTA chapters in three urban areas are taking advantage of a visit by Diane Ravitch to host several public events in January. Sponsoring talks by Ravitch will be United Teachers Los Angeles, United Educators of San Francisco (co-sponsored by CTA and the California Federation of Teachers), and the Sacramento City Teachers Association.
Nine local associations have joined together to bring Ravitch to the Sacramento Convention Center on Jan. 20. The Sacramento City Teachers Association, which spearheaded the effort, is especially hoping to get Ravitch’s message out to a community that has been heavily pressured by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his wife, Michelle Rhee, the former schools chief in Washington, D.C. Both have advocated radical reforms that include firing teachers, closing underperforming schools, and linking teacher and principal pay to student test scores.
“We’re very excited that Dr. Ravitch is coming to Sacramento, and we’re expecting educators and the public to come from throughout the region to see her,” says SCTA President Scott Smith. “At a time when teachers are under attack, she has a message that must get out.”