Diane\'s Blog

Anonymous 22-Year Teacher

Dear Ms. Ravitch,

One of the most important book purchases I made several years ago was your book about the state of Public Education. You articulated so many ideas I have had about the destruction of our public school system. Today I happened to listen to Terry Gross’s interview with you, and once again you provided the most clear and concise “big picture” of what and how the system is being decimated.

I have been an accomplished public school teacher in an urban school district teaching grades from 4th to 12th, as well as college teaching for the past ten years. I have loved teaching and interacting with my students for every year I have taught (22 years) and know all too well what you said about the dysfunctional society in our students’ communities. You are on point with everything you discussed in your book and with Terry Gross, but I especially loved what you coined “the entrepreneurial” environment we are in. There is big money to be made, and it is, and the people making it are being lauded as innovators of education. When did public school teachers become the pariahs of society? In this past school year, I have felt that a witch hunt had begun on teachers, and that we were responsible not only for all the ills of society, but also responsible for the economic crisis because of our unions. Once again, you explained why the Republicans have a need to crush the unions.

I don’t know if you have been aware of a situation in my school district in which my high school was going to go charter next year. An EMO was chosen, but then the political powers held a secret meeting with a school district representative, the two EMO’s, and a member of our School Reform Commission, and suddenly the original EMO chosen had withdrawn, and the EMO with political ties was in.

On another note, after reading Mr. Canada’s book I was very impressed with his tenacity in creating a school environment that would nurture and encourage academic excellence. However, he lost some of my vote when the “test” became a horse race for his students. I was let down when he felt his school and students weren’t “succeeding” like the KIPP students.

Ms. Ravitch, I wish you would get your voice out to different venues because I don’t think enough people are hearing your side. It seems the news bites are filled with the same rhetoric and educational jargon over and over again until people begin to believe it.

I am anxiously hoping that you are at work on another insightful book. It is heartwarming to know that there is someone like you who truly understands and believes in the education of all our children, and not just the privileged few.

Thank you for all the hard work you have done over the years.