Diane\'s Blog

Marty Walker

Dear Mrs. Ravitch,
It is after midnight, and I am tired from the day’s activities, but I just had to write to you after reading your wonderful insightful article in the Dallas Morning News‘ Points section of Sunday’s paper. Please permit me to introduce myself: I am Mrs. Marty Walker, a 40-year classroom English teacher. I retired in 2004 after 32 years of teaching high school English–mostly English IV and AP English IV. I was department chair for almost 20 years. ...
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Alice S. Gottlieb

Dr. Ravitch,

I want you to know that my district is engaged in a community read of The Death and Life of the Great American School System. Last spring, one of our union officers approached me with a proposal to celebrate our good work, under the specter of state assessments and APPR regulations, through a read of your text. I bought 300 copies for our teachers, administrators, and board members, and on November 21, we will break into small Socratic seminars.

Thank ...

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Melissa Merwin

Dear Ms. Ravitch,

Hello. My name is Melissa and I teach Language Arts at an alternative high school in central Minnesota.  I work “part time” (all that our financially strapped district can afford), but put in well over 50 hours a week and I’m paid about $24,000 a year, but I don’t do this for the money.  I am writing this letter to say thank you. I read a lot of your nationally published pieces about education and education reform. Thank you ...

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Philip Rhodes, MD

Dr. Ravitch,

Thank you so much for your voice of informed sanity in the midst of so much disastrous action to our children, schools and teachers.  The interview with Brill was too painful to watch.  His arrogant misinformed manner was too much.  I know you have to face this time and again.  I just want you to know that there are so many of us who admire and thank you for helping our teachers and schools to become better in a ...

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Martin A. Olszewski

Diane,

My name is Martin Olszewski and I am a kindergarten teacher for a school district in Western Pennsylvania. This is my second career; I chose it. The 2011-2012 school will only be my 12th year teaching, but it may be my last.

The current course of public policy with regard to public education can only lead to the final demise of this institution and the profession I love. No one test score can possibly measure the true knowledge of a student ...

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Jamie Shell

I just finished reading The Death and Life of the Great American School System, and I sincerely want to thank you for writing this book.

I am 30 years old and about to start my eighth year as a public school teacher. I was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow (a program that is sadly on the chopping block right now due to budget) and honestly initially went into teaching because I knew I wanted to “do something with Spanish.” The Teaching ...

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A Jaded “Reformer”

Professor Ravitch,

I finally read The Death and Life of the Great American School System.  It’s rare that I find myself agreeing with almost everything in a book — thank you for such an important work.

I spent several years working as a Program Officer at New Visions for Public Schools.  I joined NVPS inspired by what appeared to be a substantive movement for progressive change in our schools. I had attended a small public high school myself, and felt it was important ...

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Dr. Randy Pratt

Dear Dr. Ravitch,

Several weeks ago I caught a few minutes of your interview with Jon Stewart. I purchased your book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System. My God, what a great read and what I believe gets to the heart of the matter in an honest and straightforward manner. It would be so appropriate for today’s administrators, teachers and political leaders to read this book. Thank you for writing such a book.

Sincerely,
Dr. Randy Pratt

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Jason Manviller

Hello Dr. Ravitch,

I stayed up later than I normally do to finish your book — I actually couldn’t put it down it was so compelling and through certain chapters found myself saying “uh-huh, yes, exactly, and that’s what my district does/is heading towards!”

Thank you so much for saying what many of us feel in education. We find ourselves looking around the room at staff meetings, bewildered, when we are presented with the onslaught of ill-conceived reforms, quick fixes, ...

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Thirty-Eight Year Veteran Teacher

If this gets to Diane Ravitch, I just want to say, “Thank YOU!”

I read The Death and Life of the Great American School System early in 2010, which prompted me to purchase additional copies for others and become an apostle of the rational word. The message has sustained me as I deal with the absurdities of sanctions and the disasters of reorganization in the time of Race to the Top.

Yippee, I’m from Tennessee and work in Nashville Metro Schools! We ...

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Al Janulaw

Dr. Ravitch,

Just heard your interview with Michael Krasney. I spent three decades teaching in California public schools and now I teach the science methods course in the multi-subject teaching credential program at Sonoma State University. It tears my heart out to spend time encouraging young pre-teachers to teach conceptual understanding through discovery while being fully cognizant of the reality they will encounter if/when they become employed.

But, what I really want to say is that I so appreciate your clear expression ...

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Florida Math Teacher

Dear Dr. Ravitch,

You don’t know me; aside from this e-mail, I’m sure you never will. I am a high school math teacher in central Florida. I teach at a public school, and have just finished my 24th year here.

I’m writing to thank you for trying to be a voice of reason in what feels like the war against public education. A couple of months ago a former student of mine who worked for a couple of congressmen and is now ...

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Misty in New Hampshire

Hello Dr. Ravitch,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your hard work in trying to educate the public about the damage we are doing to children through our obsessive reliance on standardized testing. I am a middle school social studies teacher in my 11th year, and I am currently working on my second research paper about why this testing is the wrong investment in our educational system. My first paper was written as my in graduate ...

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Rob Bligh

Prof. Ravitch,

Congratulations and thanks. I just found “Waiting for a School Miracle.”  What a gem! Over the course of the last few years, I have read a great deal about the educational tragedy of children living immersed in poverty and America’s irrational response to that tragedy. Nothing I have read (indeed, nothing I have written) beats “Waiting for a School Miracle.”

Several decades ago my father offered me a piece of wisdom that might be useful in this situation: ...

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E in LA

Dear Dr. Ravitch:

I am writing to express my gratitude for the truths you revealed in your Op-Ed piece in today’s New York Times. There is much heat surrounding the public debates on education reform, and it is refreshing to read an article by someone willing to shed some light on the issue.

I am a public high school teacher in Los Angeles. I spent five years at what is commonly deemed to be a model charter, and I routinely speak with ...

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