Saturday, November 14, 2015

Educators hear from advocate decrying school privatization - The Daily Nonpareil - Council Bluffs, Iowa: Local News

Educators hear from advocate decrying school privatization - The Daily Nonpareil - Council Bluffs, Iowa: Local News:

Educators hear from advocate decrying school privatization

Click on picture to Listen to Diane Ravitch




America’s public school system is under assault.
That’s the message public education advocate Diane Ravitch brought to the Council Bluffs-Omaha area as a guest speaker presented by the Metropolitan Omaha Educational Consortium.
Ravitch, the author of “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools,” is famous for attacking standardized testing, school choice, billionaires meddling in schools, the Common Core State Standards and other aspects of what she describes as the corporate reform movement in education.
The Omaha-based consortium – which is hosted at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and made up of Omaha’s metropolitan districts in Nebraska as well the Council Bluffs Community School District – brought hundreds of educators to the CenturyLink Center on Thursday evening to hear Ravitch’s comments and suggestions.
“I think she energized teachers a little bit,” said Mary Beth Runge, a teacher mentor at Thomas Jefferson High School. “The teachers I went with and talked to said that they felt validated that someone with her credentials gets it, that we’re under assault and the public might understand it for their own school in their neighborhood but doesn’t understand the system-wide issues that public schools and public school teachers face.”
Ravitch was assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush and spent years working for think tanks before she began criticizing some of the policies she had helped craft.
During a breakfast talk organized by MOEC for community leaders and school administrators, Ravitch said she realized strategies like charter schools – where private entities operate public schools with fewer regulations – weren’t helping.
“I’m doing this because I’m so angry at the balance of power,” she said Friday morning. “I helped to create this monster that I’m now fighting.”
Nancy Edick, dean of the University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Education, described the 77-year-old speaker as “the champion for public schools across the country” and said Ravitch’s blog, dianeravitch.net, was a leading voice in American education. Runge said she challenged the “false narratives” about education privatization and accountability.
“That carrot and stick mentality, she said, just doesn’t work,” Runge said, adding that four solutions Ravitch gave that she took home with her Thursday evening were to increase neonatal care, to put health clinics in schools, to reduce class size and to raise salaries for teachers.
“She ended the speech saying support for public education is the civil rights issue of our time,” Runge said. “I thought that was really powerful.”
A good crowd from Council Bluffs attended Thursday, she said. On Friday morning, several Council Bluffs officials could be spotted in the crowd of leaders, which Ravitch praised as being more inclusive than most communities can muster given the conflict that often pits community leaders together over education issues.


Ravitch also praised Nebraska, which as thus far not allowed charter schools or adopted the Common Core State Standards. Iowa, on the other hand, has adopted the Common Core through its Iowa Core standards, and has Educators hear from advocate decrying school privatization - The Daily Nonpareil - Council Bluffs, Iowa: Local News:
Educators hear from advocate decrying school privatization

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