Sunday, March 7, 2010

When Advocates Change Course

An interesting story emerged this week that illustrates some of the difficulties for a public advocate who radically changes course. Diane Ravitch, a darling of the right for two decades, was a leading advocate of charter schools, school choice, and testing, until she decided that the policies she and her colleagues had put in place were destroying public education--as her opponents had argued would happen.

“Nations like Finland and Japan seek out the best college graduates for teaching positions, prepare them well, pay them well and treat them with respect,” she said. “They make sure that all their students study the arts, history, literature, geography, civics, foreign languages, the sciences and other subjects. They do this because this is the way to ensure good education. We’re on the wrong track.”

Sam Dillon, "Leading Scholar's U-Turn on School Reform Shakes up Debate," New York Times, 2 March 2010.

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