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I'm an Associate Professor of English Education. My time is spent preparing to teach, teaching, reading, writing, working with pre-service and practicing teachers, serving on various committees, and trying to keep my office from over flowing into the hallway.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why I struggle with Diane Ravitch

http://kindle.amazon.com/work/death-american-school-system-ebook/B002ZSJTHA

The link above is to an Amazon Kindle quote page for The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch. I have not read the book, so for those of you looking for a review or for someone knowledgeable on the book, please note that I am not claiming that here. In fact, I am not claiming much knowledge of Diane Ravitch at all except some strange generational skepticism and confusion. 
I am absolutely thrilled that someone as powerful as she has come out against the tyranny of the test. Her bold statements  such as 


...it assumed that higher test scores on standardized tests of basic skills are synonymous with good education. Its assumptions were wrong. Testing is not a substitute for curriculum and instruction. Good education cannot be achieved by a strategy of testing children, shaming educators, and closing schools. CHAPTER SEVEN
Highlighted by 131 Kindle users 

assure me that she is no longer an advocate for the old ways of No Child Left Behind.  Still, I wonder what she envisions when I read that she dubs 21st century skills "the latest fad." 
Misunderstanding of the connection between standards and curriculum: That is an interesting idea to ponder as we head into the new era of common core standards. Is it even possible at this point to turn away from way has been set in place? I guess that is where I am really confused with Diane Ravitch. How can she purport to want to stop something she helped put into play? How can she fail to support innovation for curriculum that is founded on multiple forms of literacies, including those valued in the common core, not simply on "baking nut bread."   
These are thoughts I ponder heading into a new semester. I am thrilled to focus on Teaching Comp. this semester, especially coming off a summer of immersion in digital composition across the curriculum. Sad to say, I have also been transformed by my smart phone. But even before I could Twitter, Google reader started changing the way I read. Sharing news and images has become exciting. I'm looking forward a growing community in which to share!

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