Diane Ravitch: The Problem is Poverty not Bad Teachers

In the never-ending discussion of how to fix the broken American public school system we are repeatedly pelted with the now familiar litany of “fixes”; better teacher training, more funding, more accountability, and so on. Many people naturally look to the PISA report to find clues to what make other countries’ schooling work better than ours. Of all the factors the number-crunchers have scrutinized it seems nothing has a greater negative impact on education than childhood poverty, as compellingly described in this report from the National Association of Secondary School Principals. It seems LearningDiversity.org’s editor Sara Kaplan is in good company in drawing attention to the poverty factor in her post The Correlation Between Poverty and Low Achievement. Education historian Diane Ravitch discusses her new book The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education The Daily Show.

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March 2011