Diane\'s Blog

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 outside the box. Also, at best standardized tests offer a rough gauge of student performance. As a high school student, I scored in the bottom 49 percentile in the grammar usage section of the National Merit Scholarship Test . Per this result, I was advised not to pursue any career related to teaching English or foreign languages. My undergrad major was German, and I later finished an MA in German from Ohio State and a PhD in German and an MA in English from Rutgers. I have taught English, German, French, and Spanish. Obviously, I did not heed the advice based on my performance in the grammar usage section of the NMST.

As politicians use business models to establish what is best for public education, I am concerned that the very future of public education is endangered.


Mary Mills, PhD