by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 1/11/13
The other day I turned up some notes from a talk by Diane Ravitch at Franklin & Marshall College on 1/11/88. At the time, she was regarded as a knowledgeable scholar who not only knew but was contributing to the latest trends. For many years now, she has been described as the foremost historian of American education and she is just as active in writing (and blogging) as ever.
Here is how she describes that earlier part of her career “Why I Changed My Mind About School Reform: Federal testing has narrowed education and charter schools have failed to live up to their promise,” Wall Street Journal, 3/9/10:
I have been a historian of American education since 1975, when I received my doctorate from Columbia. I have written histories, and I’ve also written extensively about the need to improve students’ knowledge of history, literature, geography, science, civics and foreign languages….
Here is what my now 25-year-old notes show:
Liberal education is becoming rare in the US. But “knowledge is power,” “ideas move the world,” and “the person who knows how will always have a job; the person who knows why will be the boss.”
Humanities–fields like history, foreign languages, and philosophy–are shrinking. Yes they help students think for themselves and become intellectually free, as early women’s colleges saw….
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