Save Money in this Sunday's paper

comments

Education advocate: N.C. on the wrong path

More Information

  • Testing petition

    MecklenburgACTS, a group of local parents and education activists opposed to overreliance on standardized testing, has launched an online petition calling for North Carolina to postpone new state exams and actions based on those results, such as teacher evaluations and school ratings: http://www.mecklenburgacts.org/petition-end-testing-madness/



North Carolina is heading down a destructive path for its public schools, according to education author, researcher and advocate Diane Ravitch.

Increasing charter schools, giving public schools letter grades, abolishing teacher tenure and piling on new standardized tests – all moves that have been passed or proposed by the state legislature – are false reforms that hurt kids and enrich corporations, Ravitch said in two speeches at UNC Charlotte.

“It’s an effort to turn public education into a profit-making venture,” she said, “and it won’t be to the profit of the children.”

Ravitch, author of “ The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” came to Charlotte to give the lecture, a talk that focuses on major public issues. Ravitch, a former official in the U.S. Education Department, is a prominent critic of high-stakes testing and a business-driven approach to school reform.

The surge of new testing – and the “failing” label that is likely to land on schools when the results come in – will only benefit testing and technology companies, Ravitch said.

Local activists seized the opportunity to launch their own campaign against North Carolina’s new testing system, which will bring 35 new tests this spring.

MecklenburgACTS, run by local parents and activists, and UnTEST, a new group created by UNCC students, joined Ravitch in urging audience members to resist overreliance on testing to rate teachers and schools.

“What it comes down to is a handful of people with a huge amount of money versus the American people,” Ravitch said. “Parents are the sleeping giant, but when the students awaken, everything changes.”

Ravitch said she was especially dismayed to read about a reform bill introduced this week by N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

“There’s so many terrible things happening in your state that I feel like a fireman,” she said, opening her afternoon talk to students and faculty.

But she praised Charlotte-Mecklenburg Superintendent Heath Morrison for taking a public stand against excessive testing.

In an interview between speeches, she said that she had decided to put Morrison on the honor roll of her education blog after reading his December comments in the Observer.

“These are people who stand up against the tests,” she said. “They actually care about teaching and learning.”

Helms: 704-358-5033
Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases
Your 2 Cents
Share your opinion with our Partners
Learn More
CharlotteObserver.com