A soul who studies to empower generations
A quest for truth, a belief in the supremacy of knowledge and evidence, a conviction that it is her responsibility to make the ecosphere a superior place for others, a sense and that she has an obligation to promote the general welfare, not private interests, Diane Ravitch pursues her passion as an exponent of education. She fearlessly champions the teachers and leaders who devote their lives to educating the next generation of children. She loves her work on behalf of the freedom to teach, the freedom to learn, and the rights of children.
A journey to initiate a change
Diane served in the federal government in the early 1990s. She was appointed to positions by President George H.W. Bush and by President Bill Clinton. For many years, she was a staunch advocate of testing, privatization, and accountability. She also participated in conservative think tanks. In about 2008-09, she had a very deep change of mind and heart and renounced the views she held for many years.
Diane co-founded the Network for Public Education in 2012 with her colleague Anthony Cody. Diane and Anthony gathered a board of educators, parents, and activists. Their shared mission was to stop damaging policies that harmed education, students, and public schools. They strictly opposed privatization and high-stakes testing. They completely supported equitable schools where all children and adults are respected and valued. This extraordinary expedition began with no funds and very few volunteers. As time passed by, the steady success of the organization facilitated a stable budget, a steadfast staff, and nearly 400,000 followers. Many more parents, grandparents, and educators support the goals of this organization, sharing the view that education must be respectful of students and must resist commercialism and commodification. The organization is now active in every state in the U.S. and the team is able to encourage the supporters to get involved in supporting their shared goals at the local and state levels.
The Network for Public Education team consists of the board members and staff. It is a national organization that promotes the value of public education, opposes diversion of public funds to private corporations, and advocates on behalf of teacher professionalism. The associates of the team are exceedingly motivated, most of whom give their time without any compensation because the institution has a shared value system, in which it values the educational and academic freedom of students and teachers.
Steps along the path to success
Diane grew up in Houston, Texas. Her mother was a high school graduate and father never finished high school. She was third of eight children. She was obligated to forge her own track to college. She married only a few weeks after graduating from college and had a child two years later, then another. Her second child died of Leukemia when he was 2 years old. She then had a third child. She did not even know if she would ever have a professional life or career. So she had to figure it out on her own.
Following a challenging path in pursuing her dreams, she finally, with her conscious steps and a frantic run through time, Diane was successful in receiving many honorary degrees and awards for her outstanding contributions in the ocean of knowledge. She has titular degrees from 10 colleges and universities. The National Education Association honored her in 2010 as its “Friend of Education,” and invited her to address a convention hall with thousands of teachers from across the nation. In 2011, she received the Daniel Patrick Moynihan from the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences for the careful use of social science to advance the public interest. She wrote a book called “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” which revealed her new perspective about education. She has also been acknowledged with the Grawemeyer Award in 2014 for her book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System.” The book became a national bestseller, as did her 2013 book “Reign of Error.” She became a strong critic of high-stakes standardized testing and of privatization and also a champion of classroom teachers, public education, and common sense. In her new book, called Slaying Goliath, which will appear in January 2020, she proclaims that the “Disruption Movement” of privatization and testing has utterly failed and survives only because it is supported by billionaires. She celebrates the ordinary heroes among the commoners, who fought for the communal interest.
A venture filled with beautiful experiences
During her tenure of this beautiful and an unselfish journey, Diane experienced beautiful interactions and sustained healthy relationships. She notably remembers a few of the encounters:
In 2011, after the publication of “Death and Life of the Great American School System,” she was invited to come to Sacramento, California, to talk to the teachers in that area. The event was held on a Friday night. It was raining. Diane’s hosts had rented the Sacramento Convention Center. There were 3,500 people there, most of them are the teachers. It was a thrilling night. Among the speakers was the State Superintendent of Instruction and leading educators from across California. She was overwhelmed with the fruitful interaction that blossomed from her journey.
Her other wonderful experience was appearing twice on The Daily Show, hosted by the amazing Jon Stewart. At the time, it was one of the most popular shows on American television. Jon Stewart was very generous, warm, and welcoming. The day after she appeared, her book was #1 on Amazon, a great achievement. She mentions that, at both times, it was literal fun talking to him.
The Advice that works
Diane firmly believes that the best way to achieve any success is to begin by having a clear vision of what good education is and join with others who share your vision, work for the ideals you believe in, not for money, but to make the world a better place to live in.