Striving Today for a Better Tomorrow
This excerpt showcases the sheer grit of a persona who believes in giving back to society and contributing to creating a world laid on the foundation of education for the next generation. Keeping people’s wellbeing always at the forefront, she has earned her name synonymous with conviction and commitment to help others create a difference.
Meet Diane Ravitch, a woman who keeps no stone unturned in amplifying the voices of parents, teachers, and activists alongside focusing on the freedom to teach, the freedom to learn, and the rights of children. She recently retired as a Research Professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, after 26 years on the faculty.
Being a prolific Education Historian and Policy Activist, Diane strongly opposes the status quo in education that promotes testing, ranking, and rating of – students, teachers, principals, and schools. She believes that the pursuit of learning and knowledge should function without any political interference and should contribute to the development of strong character and good citizens committed to improving their society.
She has written more than a dozen books, hundreds of articles, and writes a daily blog that has received more than 38 million views.
Talking about public education she says, “It’s a public responsibility that should not be privatized or outsourced. We should build and sustain the kinds of schools that create the society we want to live in.”
Exemplifying Educational Empowerment
Diane’s educational journey has seen her completing Bachelor’s from Wellesley College and a Doctorate from Columbia University’s College of Arts and Sciences. She taught at Teachers College, Columbia University, from 1975-1991.
In 1990, she was confirmed as Assistant Secretary of Education during the administration of President George H.W. Bush and the administration of President Bill Clinton. She was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., from 1993-2012.
For many years, she was a prominent advocate for standardized testing, privatization, and accountability and a member of several conservative think tanks. However, in about 2007, she began to realize that these policies were harming students and ruining genuine education.
In 2010, she published “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education,” in which she renounced her former views. the book became a surprise National Bestseller. In 2011, she was honored by the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences with the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award for this book’s contribution to the common good. Diane received the Grawemeyer Award in 2014 for this book.
In 2012, Diane established the Network for Public Education with her colleague Anthony Cody. Being the Co-founder of an organization, whose board of directors consisted of educators, parents, and activists, her sole aim is to dismantle the policies that negatively impact education, students, and public schools.
The organization which started from scratch having no funds now has 400,000+ followers and a staff of change-makers onboard. It’s the shared vision of Diane and Anthony and the collaborative efforts of their team that helped them reach this epitome of success.
About the Network for Public Education
The Network for Public Education is a national organization promoting the true value of public education as a cornerstone of democracy. Under Diane’s guidance, the organization monitors and reports on the waste, fraud, and misuse of public funds by private corporations and alerts the public to the dangers of privatizing public services. The Network for Public Education also warns the public about the misuse of standardized testing.
With each passing day, more and more parents, grandparents, and educators are coming in to join hands with the organization and supporting Diane’s vision to resist commercialism, privatization, and commodification. Today, the organization is active in every state of the U.S. and its supporters are taking their shared passion to local and state levels.
Leading with Excellence
In recognition of her work as a scholar, Diane has received ten honorary degrees and many accolades for her exhaustive contributions to the field of education, learning, and knowledge sharing.
In 2010, she was honored as ‘Friend of Education’ by The National Education Association and invited to address a convention hall with thousands of teachers from across the nation. In 2020, she was honored by the American Federation of Teachers as a “Woman of Valor.”
Two of her books, ‘Reign of Error’ (2013) and ‘The Death and Life of the Great American School System’ (2010) reached the National Bestseller list. These books explain and demystify the false promises of standardization and privatization.
Her latest book ‘Slaying Goliath’ (2020) is about the power of dedicated citizens to take their democracy from billionaires and plutocrats.
A Note to Remember
Diane believes that every student has the right to a high-quality education. Every student should have professional teachers and reasonable class sizes. Every student should have access to a full curriculum that includes not only basic skills such as reading and math, but deep learning in history, government, the sciences, and the arts. Every student should have time every day for play, time to day-dream, and be creative.
She has devoted her life’s work towards making the world a better place to live in. That means not only better schools for all students, but better lives for children, families, and communities.