Enough of Small-Minded Education Reformers

I have done my share of complaining about the business types—and the phonies who think they are thinking like business types (when in fact they are clueless about teaching and learning and therefore lean on incentives, data, and an attitude of toughness to mask their ignorance of curriculum and instruction).

Nonetheless, I share their expressed concern about improving the achievement and knowledge of our nation’s children. As a nation, I do believe we will be helped or harmed in the future by the way we educate our children today.

Where I part company with today’s so-called reformers is that they think that test scores alone are adequate measures of “achievement.” I, however, do not. I hope for the day when schools are expected to teach not only reading and math but history, geography, science, the arts, literature, civics, and a foreign language, and to attend to students’ health and personal development.

To me, such a rounded approach to education seems self-evident. It is what the “best and wisest” among us want for our own children. I wonder why our society is so willing to listen to the small-minded “reformers” who are willing to inflict on other people’s children what they would never tolerate for their own?

Professor Diane Ravitch
Professor of Education
New York University

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