Letters to Diane

Steven Lin

Dear Dr. Ravitch,

I wrote to you in 2010 about my immediate thoughts after reading your book The Death and the Life of the Great American School System. I won’t repeat them here, but suffice it to say that your book is the only book I have ever read, where upon finishing, I was compelled to capture my reflections immediately on the inside cover.

Over the last three years, I have returned to those handwritten reflections to remind me of the ...

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Renee Agatsuma

Ms. Ravitch:

Thank you so much for being one of the “lone voices” in the media in regards to Education and teachers. I wanted to write you because I wanted to share my store with you – I am a National Board Certified teacher in Science. I actually left education last year and am now back in science – I will be getting my PhD in Public Health Genetics. I miss teaching, though I still am able to teach undergraduates. I ...

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Marsha Mulroney

Dr. Ravitch,

I appreciated your opinions in your books (which I have read and shared) and your conversation on NPR this afternoon.

I walked out of my classroom last March 9, after 19 years of teacher and National Board Certification because my principal decided I needed to learn how to teach to the test. After 2 years of his harassment, I finally quit. He told me emphatically that I was NOT allowed to read a chapter book to the children because it ...

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D (Anonymous)

Hi,

Thank you for continuing to speak up for American education.

My state is now looking at adding the end of course tests for music classes and art classes to the scores for standardized tests to make a school’s grade for school and employee evaluations.

I am a music teacher at a center school for the lowest one percent of students.  Students who mostly function on the participatory level.  Students who have grave health issues like seizures and conditions that take away their ability to ...

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Jamie Duong

Dear Dr. Ravitch,

I remember watching the passage of No Child Left Behind and thinking that it was a terrible idea, the product of an ignorant President and his anti-union backers, and it saddened me to no end to see old education stalwarts like Senator Kennedy join onto the new President’s initiative. I suppose it was a mix of good will for the newPresident, as well as optimism at what the bill would accomplish that allowed those like the late ...

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Leah Magid

Dear Ms. Ravitch:

I am a student at Western Governors’ University, a competency-based, not for profit program. I am studying for certification as an elementary educator. I have almost a decade of experience as a preschool teacher and administrator and double that as the mother of an outstanding learner.

I was researching support documents for an assignment that asks me to formulate essay questions (on a college level) from a list of objectives. One of my selected objectives is minority rights in ...

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Michelle Connavino

Dear Dr. Ravitch,

I just listened to the podcast of your lecture at the City Club in Cleveland, Ohio and was again reminded of why I love public education and why I am so frustrated with the current education environment.  I had a similar feeling when I read Death and Life last semester in a History of Education course at Columbia.  I was excited to hear all of the things I’ve been thinking for years, so eloquently stated.  I was even ...

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Genevieve Szafran

Dear Dr. Ravitch,

I just finished reading an article about you and wanted to thank you for speaking up for teachers! Yes, most of us are weary of the public disdain for our profession.

I have been a special educator for over thirty years, and my profession has changed drastically. We special educators now find ourselves inundated with responsibilities other than teaching. Our days are filled with assessing our students, writing reports, and writing lengthy IEPs. We attend professional development workshops that ...

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Rebekah Ghormley

Dear Ms. Ravitch,

I can’t thank you enough for all the work you do on behalf of the education in this country.

My question is this. How do we work to get your message more broadly heard and understood? How is it that creatures like Michelle Rhee, with her minimal, failed experience, seem to grow in prominence and influence?

I read today that the National Council on Teacher Quality is suing University of Wisconsin regents over their refusal to turn over ...

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Amy Smith

Diane:

Let me tell you, I am a passionate teacher and I am so fired up about our current state of education- the current state of our country really. First I want to say that I was truly inspired by your article in the Saturday evening post because I was finally able to read something about education, and teachers in particular, that was right on! I am so often disappointed by what people assume and say about teachers, ...

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Wendy Beck

Thank you, Ms. Ravitch, for speaking to teachers’ and students’ needs and against the political scapegoating of teachers. (I heard you on Michael Krasny’s Forum show this morning on KQED in San Francisco.)

I just retired and I must admit, aside from the ceaseless hours I spent reading/editing/grading papers and planning lessons, it was the public discourse and lack of respect that did me in.

I taught in “bad” and “good” schools. When I was in the “bad” school, the staff ...

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Mary Mills

Prof. Ravitch,

Your book reads like a novel for me, and I concur totally with every point you make about NCLB. I am a retired New Jersey public school teacher. From my experience, I have come to realize that there are innumerable variables that influence student performance, and while the business approach might be fine for the production of things, it does not work with students.

NCLB tends to box in student creativity rather than encouraging students to think ...

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A Hoosier Educator

Dear Dr. Ravitch:

I read your book The Death and Life two years ago. At that time I didn’t realize the storm gathering around public education, but afterwards I finally understood why things were starting to get “loony” in my school building.

For me as a teacher, the last two years have been thoroughly unpleasant, especially with an anti-union governor and an anti-teacher State School Superintendent (I heard the Superintendent speak twice).

I cannot add any more eloquent words than my colleagues have ...

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Stacy Maxin

Dear Ms. Ravitch,

Thank you for giving me hope as an educator at a time when I have been very disheartened with the direction of education in the U.S.  I had the wonderful opportunity to see you speak at the NCSS Conference in Washington, D.C. on December 2, and walked away feeling that an expert in education finally “gets it”.  Last year, I reluctantly read your book The Death and Life of the Great American School System as it was selected ...

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Anonymous Physics Teacher

Dear Dr. Ravitch:

I just finished reading, and very much enjoyed, your book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System. The book answered many questions I had about how we got to where we are now in our education system, and, more importantly, why we appear to be headed in insanely wrong directions right now with no one seeming to have the power to stop it, or even steer it in a better direction.

As background, I was an ...

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