If facts and thoughtfulness could combat the reformist zeal to punish teachers for poor standardized test scores, Diane Ravitch’s work would be our most potent weapon. Her latest piece in the New York Review of Books intellectually vanquishes those who think we can test our schools to greatness.
The sad though I had after reading her piece is that she has a deeper understanding of the plight of today’s teachers than too many of our state and national union leaders who have simply acquiesced too often to the reformers demands. Ravitch recounts asking the education minister of Finland what that country’s teachers would do if they were told they were to be judged on the basis of the scores of their students on standardized tests. His reply should be taken to heart by every union leader in our nation. “They would walk out and they wouldn’t return until the authorities stopped this crazy idea.”
What a sad state our unions are in when a university scholar and an education minister propose more radical challenges to the testocracy than our teacher unions do. Why don’t we merge the NEA and AFT and draft Diane Ravitch as our first president? That would fulfill the goal many of us have had of one great education union speaking with one powerful, eloquent voice.