Exclusive - Diane Ravitch Extended Interview Pt. 2

  • Aired:  10/30/13
  •  | Views: 37,454

In this exclusive, unedited interview, "Reign of Error" author Diane Ravitch criticizes America's test score-based teacher assessments. (7:14)

>> Jon: THANK YOU FORJOINING US, DIANE RAVITCH,

AUTHOR OF REIGN OF ERROR,YOU DID FORGET THE T, I DON'T

KNOW WHO PROOFREAD THIS,SO THEY SAY THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD

SCHOOL IS GOOD, BUT CLEARLY IT'SA DICHOTOMY. IN

PLACES THAT ARE ECONOMICALLYFLOURISHING THE SCHOOLS ARE

VERY GOOD IN PLACES THAT AREECONOMICALLY STRUGGLING THE

SCHOOLS STRUGGLE.

SO IT CLEARLY IS TIED TOTHAT BUT I GUESS I'M TRYING

TO GET YOU, YOU ARE A STAUNCHDEFENDER OF TEACHERS AND

TEACHERS DESERVE THAT.

IT IS ONE OF THE MOSTDIFFICULT JOBS IN THE

COUNTRY.

BUT ISN'T IT-- ISN'T ITPOSSIBLE--

(APPLAUSE)>> Jon: THAT-- THAT WHILE WE

VIEW, WE HAVE TO VIEW THESYSTEM AS A WHOLE AND THAT

ANY INSTITUTION INCLUDINGTHE UNION CAN FIND ITSELF

BECOMING TOO RIGID ANDDOGMATIC.

IS THERE ANYTHING IN YOURMIND THAT YOU WOULD CHANGE

ABOUT THAT STRUCTURE?

>> WELL, I THINK THAT UNIONSARE WILLING TO COMPROMISE,

YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER EVERY UNIONCONTRACT IS NOT DICTATED

BY THE UNION.

THERE ARE TWO PEOPLE AT THETABLE.

ONE SIDE IS MANAGEMENT, THEOTHER IS UNION.

AND MANAGEMENT SHOULD SAYLOOK, WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO

GET RID OF BAD TEACHERS.

BUT THE ONE THING THATMANAGEMENT SHOULD NEVER SAY,

ARNIE DUNCAN FORCES THEM TOSAY THESE DAYS, IS TEACHERS

SHOULD NOT BE JUDGED BY TESTSCORES.

THE TEST SCORES OF THEIRSTUDENTS DEPEND A LOT ON WHO

THE STUDENTS ARE.

IF THEY ARE AUTISTIC KIDSTHEY ARE NOT GOING TO

HAVE HIGH TEST SCORES. IF THEYARE KIDS LEARNING ENGLISH

THEY ARE NOT GOING HAVE HIGHTEST SCORES.

TEACHERS SHOULD NOT BEJUDGED BY TEST SCORES.

THEY SHOULD BE JUDGED BYTHEIR PEERS AND PEOPLE WHO

ARE SMARTER THAN THEY ARE,WISER THAN THEY ARE.

BUT THEY SHOULD NOT BEJUDGED BY TEST SCORES.

THERE ARE MANY GOOD WAYS TOEVALUATE TEACHERS.

>> Jon: IS THERE AN AREATHAT IS DOING IT RIGHT IN

YOUR MIND IN THE COUNTRYTODAY?

IS THERE A MUNICIPALITY, ASTATE, SOMEBODY THAT IS

DOING IT IN A MANNER THAT YOUTHINK YEAH, THAT'S THE

FUTURE MODEL?

BECAUSE IT DOES SEEM LIKE,LIKE IN BROOKLYN THEY HAVE

THIS PTEC.

IT IS A PUBLIC PRIVATEPARTNERSHIP THAT IS FOCUSED

MORE ON THE VOCATIONALASPECT OF THE MODERN WORLD.

DOESN'T SEEM LIKE A BADIDEA.

>> YOU KNOW, IT'S JUSTSTARTING SO WE'LL SEE HOW

THAT GOES.

I'M VERY IMPRESSED WITHVERMONT.

I WAS JUST IN VERMONT.

IN VERMONT THEY HAVE NOCHARTERS.

THEY CARE VERY MUCH ABOUTEVERY ONE OF THE KIDS AND

HAVE THE HIGHEST GRADUATIONRATE IN THE COUNTRY AND KEEP

SAYING WE CAN DO BETTER.

MORE THAN 90% OF THEIR KIDSARE ALREADY GRADUATING HIGH

SCHOOL AND THEY KEEP SAYINGWE CAN DO BETTER AND

THEY'RE NOT FOCUSED ON TESTSCORES.

THEY'RE FOCUSED ON THECOMMUNITY, THE WELL-BEING OF

CHILDREN, THE HEALTH OFCHILDREN.

THOSE THINGS MATTER A LOT.

SO I THINK THAT'S GOOD. THEOTHER PLACE

THAT I HAVE SEEN WHERE I WASREALLY IMPRESSED WAS SAN

DIEGO.

BECAUSE IN SAN DIEGO INSTEADOF DOING A SEARCH AND

BRINGING OUT ONE OF THE SAMEOLD FOLKS TO BE

SUPERINTENDENT, THEY PICKEDTHE BEST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

PRINCIPAL IN THE WHOLESYSTEM.

AND SHE WAS SHOCKED BUT SHEIS TERRIFIC.

AND SO I'M VERY IMPRESSEDWITH SAN DIEGO.

>> Jon: RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT.

AND I THINK WE CAN ALL AGREE,IT'S MUCH EASIER TO DO IT

WHEN IT NEVER RAINS AND LIFEIS PERFECT.

(LAUGHTER)THIS TESTING REGIME, IS THE

IDEA THAT THE FEDERALGOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE

STANDARDS OF PERFORMANCE ORTHAT THEIR STANDARDS OF

PERFORMANCE SHOULD TAKE INTOCONSIDERATION THE ART OF

TEACHING, NOT JUST THESCIENCE OF TEACHING.

>> WELL, FIRST OF ALL, IDON'T THINK CONGRESS SHOULD

MANDATE ANY TESTING.

I THINK IT'S COMPLETELY OUT OFTHE REALM OF THEIR

KNOWLEDGE.

YOU KNOW HOW MANY THINGSTHEY LEGISLATE ABOUT WHERE

THEY KNOW NOTHING.

THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUTSCHOOL REFORM SO CONGRESS

SHOULD GET OUT OF IT.

(APPLAUSE)BUT AS FAR AS TESTING GOES,

THE BEST TEST IS THE TESTTHAT A TEACHER MAKES UP.

BECAUSE THE TEACHER KNOWSWHAT HE OR SHE WAS TEACHING.

AND THEY CAN TEST IT ANDTHEY CAN GET THE ANSWERS

RIGHT AWAY.

AND FIND OUT HOW TO HELP THEKIDS.

TESTING ONLY HAS ONE PURPOSEAND THAT IS TO HELP KIDS.

SO THE TEACHER CAN LOOK ANDSAY OH, JOHNNY NEEDS MORE

HELP WITH FRACTIONS, I CAN GIVETHAT HELP.

THE TEACHERS ARE GOING TOFIND OUT I THOUGHT I TAUGHT

THAT, NO ONE LEARNED IT, IDIDN'T TEACH IT VERY WELL.

WHAT WE HAVE NOW WITH THESTANDARDIZED TEST, THE

INDUSTRY, THE STANDARDIZEDTESTING IS GROWING FATTER BY

THE DAY, CONSULTANTS GROWINGFATTER BY THE DAY.

THE KIDS TAKE THE TEST INTHE SPRING.

THE RESULTS COME IN, INAUGUST AND THEY DON'T EVEN

HAVE THE SAME TEACHER ANYMORE.

AND THE TEACHERS ARE NOTALLOWED TO SEE WHAT THEY GOT

RIGHT AND WHAT THEY GOTWRONG.

MEANING HAD THAT THE TESTHAVE ZERO VALUE.

ZERO, OTHER THAN FOR THETESTING COMPANIES.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

THAT'S THE WAY-- I MEAN, NOTTO MENTION, WHAT IF ITS

CHILD'S NAME IS NOT JOHNNY.

I MEAN IT THROWS THE WHOLEREALM OF IT OFF.

>> IT'S TRUE FOR MARIA ALSO.

>> Jon: THIS HAS, IN MY MINDWHEN YOU TALK TO TEACHERS IT

IS SO DISSPIRITING TO THEM,THIS IDEA THAT THEY ARE JUST

GIVEN THIS CORE CURRICULUMTHAT THEY MUST TEACH TO AND

IT PUTS THEM INSIDE A BOXTHAT STEALS-- YOU KNOW, WHEN

YOU HAVE TO GO TO A JOB LIKETHAT LOOK, I DEAL WITH MY

KIDS FOR JUST LIKE 40MINUTES IN THE MORNING.

AND I'M READY TO, LIKE, GOTO THE TEACHERS LOUNGE AND

GET HIGH, LIKE THAT.

(LAUGHTER)SO THEY'RE OUT THERE THEY'RE

BANGING IT OUT.

TO STEAL THE CREATIVITY ANDJOY AND INSPIRATION THAT

THEY MIGHT BRING TO THEPROCESS, SEEMS LIKE A REAL

CRIMINAL ACT.

>> THERE ARE TWO CRIMES HERE,ONE IS THE CRIME AGAINST THE

TEACHERS.

BECAUSE TEACHERS WANT TOTEACH.

THEY BECOME TEACHERS ANDEVERY ONE I HAVE EVER TALKED

TO SAYS THE SAME THING.

I BECAME A TEACHER BECAUSE IWANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN

THE LIVES OF CHILDREN.

AND THEN THEY'RE GIVEN ASCRIPT.

SO THEY DON'T HAVE THEABILITY TO BE CREATIVE, AS

YOU PUT IT.

THEY LOSE THEIR PROFESSIONALAUTONOMY.

I MEAN THE COMMON CORE WHICHIS THE CURRICULUM WE'RE

TALKING ABOUT HERE IS ANANSWER TO A PROBLEM WE DON'T

HAVE.

WE HAVE A PROBLEM OF POVERTYAND THE COMMON CORE DOES

NOTHING TO ADDRESS THATPARTICULAR PROBLEM.

BUT THE SECOND CRIME ISAGAINST CHILDREN.

BECAUSE WE'RE NOW SO FOCUSEDON TESTING THAT WE ARE

REWARDING THE KIDS WHO CANPICK THE RIGHT BOX.

AND WHAT WE NEED FOR THE21st CENTURY IS THE KIDS WHO

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX, NOTINSIDE THE BOX.

(APPLAUSE)>> Jon: I WILL SAY, YOU KNOW,

YOU TALKED ABOUT THESECHARTER SCHOOLS AND THE WAY

THAT THEY ARE COMMODITIZING,MAYBE, EDUCATION.

I DO, I'VE MET SOME PEOPLEWITHIN THAT SYSTEM.

THEY ARE-- THERE ARE SOMEREALLY GOOD PEOPLE THERE WHO

REALLY CARE ABOUT KIDS.

AND WHO DON'T VIEW IT AS AMETHOD TO BUSINESS SUCCESS

BUT ARE REALLY GOOD HEARTEDINDIVIDUALS.

YOU MAY DISAGREE OBVIOUSLYWITH THE METHODOLOGY BUT I

WOULD JUST TO NUANCE THAT ALITTLE BIT AND SAY LIKE

THERE ARE SOME PRETTYSPECIAL PEOPLE.

>> I HAVE MET SOME REALLYGOOD PEOPLE IN THE CHARTER

SECTOR.

AND I DON'T MEAN TO PUT DOWNTHE WHOLE SECTOR.

WHAT I'M CONCERNED ABOUT ISIT'S PART OF A LARGER

PICTURE WHERE WE NOW HAVEWITHOUT ANYBODY EVER VOTING

FOR VOUCHERS, 17 STATES WITHVOUCHERS.

AND THAT MEANS KIDS AREUSING PUBLIC MONEY TO GO TO

PRIVATE SCHOOLS, RELIGIOUSSCHOOLS AND SCHOOLS THAT

TEACH CREATIONISM ANDSCHOOLS THAT TEACH THAT THE

DINOSAURS AND THE PEOPLELIVED AT THE SAME TIME.

I DON'T KNOW IF THEY LIVEDHAPPILY OR NOT.

>> Jon: NOW IS THAT ON THETEST, BECAUSE I DON'T--

(LAUGHTER)>> Jon: WELL, THANK YOU VERY

MUCH, ALWAYS NICE TO SEE YOU,COME BACK AND SEE US AGAIN

SOON, REIGN OF ERROR, ON THEBOOK SHELVES NOW, DIANE

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