School Wisdom from Diane Ravitch

In her review of two books, Solving the Mystery of the Schools, and The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools Diane Ravitch writes that the authors of the two books demonstrate that ideas cannot be imposed on people without their assent, and that money and power alone are not sufficient to improve schools.

So if it’s not assent, parents and students agreeing to go along, and if it’s not money and power that can improve the schools then what is it?

From her knowledge of school reform, developed over decades of writing about the schools, Ravitch concludes that genuine improvement can only happen if and when students, teachers, principals, parents, and the local community collaborate for the benefit of the children.

But, as she goes on to say, no sequence of reforms, regardless of money spent and power wielded, will be sufficient to “save” even a modest number  of the large numbers of children who are entrenched in lives of poverty and violence everyday of their lives. And shame is what we should feel and by and large we don’t.


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