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Ravitch vs Ravitch

• Mike Thomas

In a recent speech in Chicago, Diane Ravitch pointed out that America has a stellar 90 percent graduation rate.

She notes the dropout rate is at a historical low.

She notes the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, which she calls the only valid measure of academic performance, are at their highest point in history for black, white, Hispanic and Asian students.

Schools are just doing dandy.

I only bring this up because Ravitch has become the leading voice of opposition to school reform. And in her Chicago speech, she noted the reform approach has failed again and again. In fact, she noted that reform really isn’t reform because it’s become the status quo in states and, for the past 10 years, in Washington. She is referring to No Child Left Behind, and also opposes Race to the Top.

I guess my question is this: If all the indicators of academic success are rising, and school reform has been the status quo for the past 10 years, then how does she draw the conclusion it has failed? I would think logic might lead to another conclusion.

Also, I might point out, Florida kids have made the second highest gains on NAEP tests, the same NAEP that Ravitch so admires, dating back to the 1990s. And Florida has been a national leader in education reform.

Florida still has a long way to go in addition to all the other states. But, according to Ravitch at least, Florida is going in the right direction. I suppose that implies we ought to stay the course.

So perhaps Ravitch can reconcile all this in her next speech.

About the author

Mike Thomas @MikeThomasTweet

Mike Thomas serves in the communications department, writing editorials and speeches. Prior to joining the Foundation, Mike worked for more than 30 years as a journalist with Florida Today and the Orlando Sentinel. He has written investigative projects, magazine feature stories, humor pieces, editorials and local columns. He won several state and national awards, and was named a finalist in the American Society of New Editors’ Distinguished Writing Award for Commentary/Column Writing in 2010. As a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, he wrote extensively about education reform, becoming one of its chief advocates in the Florida media. Mike graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in political science and journalism. His wife is a teacher and he has two children in public schools. Contact Mike at