Dr. Diane Ravitch, controversial former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, will speak at Baylor University on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 6 p.m. in Waco Hall. Her appearance is part of the Academy for Leader Development Lecture Series and the School of Education Distinguished Lecture Series. The lecture, titled “Leading for Equity in Education,” is free and open to the public, with no tickets or reservations required.
Ravitch is research professor of education at New York University and a historian of education. In her role at the Department of Education in the 1990s, Ravitch led federal efforts to promote standardized testing, teacher accountability and school choice. But in 2010, she abandoned those ideas and now decries the rampant testing culture and legislation including No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.
“Dr. Ravitch’s complete turnaround on standardized testing issues is extraordinary,” said Dr. Doug Rogers, professor and associate dean in the Baylor School of Education. “Her point — and it’s a good one — is that the good that could be done through testing has been overshadowed by the excessiveness of standardized testing. Because of testing, we now know more than ever about what students need, but because of the timing and schedule, we no longer have classroom time to address what we know.”
Dr. Wesley Null, Baylor’s vice provost for undergraduate education and professor of education, will introduce Ravitch, whom he has known for many years. Null and Ravitch co-edited the book Forgotten Heroes of American Education: The Great Tradition of Teaching Teachers in 2006 and have collaborated on other projects.
“Diane Ravitch has been one of our nation’s leading educational historians and policy analysts for at least 30 years,” Null said. “We are very fortunate to have her visiting our campus.”
Null called Ravitch a “true fighter for classroom teachers and the teaching profession” and said she is “unafraid to argue for the kind of high-quality education that she expects for all young people.”
Dr. Michael McLendon, Dean of the Baylor School of Education, said, “Diane Ravitch is a vocal proponent for public education in this country at a time when our collective prosperity depends heavily on the conditions and quality of our educational system. She is very much at the center of the national conversation around accountability and testing, their purposes and their impacts.”
In 2014, Politico magazine named Ravitch among 50 people influencing policy in Washington. Politico said, “Ravitch today is a staunch defender of teachers and their right to organize against what she calls the ‘privatization’ of our school system by ‘people who make false promises,’ ‘drain students and funding away from public schools’ and ‘blame teachers for conditions beyond their control.’”
Ravitch’s lecture will include tips for concerned citizens about what they can do to improve public education locally, and she will take questions from the audience. Her books — including her latest, Reign of Error: the Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools — will be available for purchase. Ravitch blogs at dianeravitch.net, a site which has had nearly 8.3 million views in less than a year.
Additional sponsors for the lecture are the Baylor Division of Student Life, the University Lecture Committee and the Campus Diversity Committee.
Media recordings of Dr. Ravitch’s presentation will only be allowed during the first 10 minutes that she speaks.
Director of Communications
Baylor School of Education
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