Ravitch gave a lecture in TCU’s BLUU Ballroom as part of The 2015 Fogelson Honors Forum discussing the risks associated with making public schools private and the hazards of schools and the government focusing only on standardized test scores in the United States.
Standardized tests are tests given to students attending public schools. The tests given are all the same and are used as a marker of performance. These tests are used to rank academic achievement of students. The tests do not take into consideration class size, economic standing of the school, and other factors that may effect student performance.
Ravitch said she opposes measures such as standardized testing to evaluate student achievement.
“They love data more than they love children,” Ravitch said when discussing the emphasis politics and the government put on standardized test scores within public education.
Ravitch said she also opposes the privatization of public schools through charter schools.
Charter schools receive the same taxes that public schools do, but are able to discriminate on what students get into the charter, and are also able to operate as a for-profit enterprise.
Ravitch argues that these charter schools teach people to think as consumers, not as citizens.
“Charters should be for the neediest students, not the most privileged,” Ravitch said.
She said that her book, “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools”, was meant as ammunition for citizens to be informed as to what was happening to the American Public School System.
Ravitch was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. She is currently is a research professor of education at New York University.