By Diane Ravitch, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Diane Ravitch was assistant secretary of education in the administration of George H.W. Bush. She is a historian of education and is now a research professor at New York University. She is the author of several books on education, including her latest “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education.” She blogs daily at dianeravitch.net and can be followed on Twitter at @DianeRavitch.
Schools of Thought will be publishing other views on this topic in the days up to the election.
(CNN) - Over the past three years, I have been an outspoken critic of the education policies of the Obama administration. In my view, Race to the Top is a disastrous program that is almost indistinguishable from the Bush administration’s failed No Child Left Behind legislation. Both programs require teaching to the test, both encourage privatization of our public schools, and both have demoralized the nation’s educators while doing nothing to improve education.
But as bad as the Obama education policies are, they are tolerable in comparison to what Mitt Romney plans. Romney claims credit for the academic successes of Massachusetts, but he had nothing to do with the gains in that state, which were enacted 10 years before he became governor. The Massachusetts education reforms doubled the budget for public schools, increased spending on early childhood education, and raised standards for new teachers, but Romney intends to do none of that if elected President.
If elected president, Romney will curtail spending on everything except privatization of public education. He will lower standards for entering the teaching profession. His policies will devastate our public schools and dismantle the education profession. He supports charters and vouchers and welcomes the takeover of public schools by for-profit entrepreneurs. Unlike the Massachusetts reforms that he wrongly takes credit for, he offers not a single idea to improve public education. Romney nowhere acknowledges that free public education is a public responsibility and an essential institution in a democratic society.
Under a Romney administration, I fear not only for the future of public education but for the future of our society. Presently, nearly 25% of American children are growing up in poverty. We lead the advanced nations of the world in child poverty. Romney offers no proposals to reduce that scandalous number. Only government action can make a dent in a problem of that magnitude, but Romney believes in private charity, not government action.
What frightens me most about the Romney-Ryan ticket is the Republican Party’s rigid ideology. There have been times in recent history when moderate Republicans were in the ascendancy in the party. Today, the moderates are gone; the GOP is dominated by radical anti-government ideologues. The party seems determined to roll back the social policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society and to bring our society back to the 1920s. We know what followed the free-market exhilaration of the 1920s.
If Romney has the chance to select one or two or three Supreme Court justices, then women’s rights, voting rights, and the rights of minorities will be imperiled. We can anticipate that a Romney Supreme Court would favor the rights of multinational corporations over consumers and individuals.
One shudders to imagine what will happen to our environment, to our water and air, if its protection is turned over to those who deny the reality of climate change and who despise regulation. We can expect that our precious resources of parks, beaches, and oceans will be handed over to private enterprise to mine for profit—theirs, not ours.
What of the millions of jobs that Romney promises to create? Romney’s private company was known for outsourcing well-paying middle-class jobs to low-wage nations. In the debates, he has expressed admiration for trickle-down economics, his belief that whatever helps the rich and powerful will eventually create jobs further down the food chain. We can expect that jobs of the future created by a Romney administration will be for retail clerks, fast food servers, operators in call centers, and home health aides, none paying the kinds of salaries that lift families into the middle class.
Romney has made clear that he will not pay for early childhood education, despite the fact that an independent survey by The Economist magazine ranked the U.S. 24th in the world in taking care of its youngest citizens. His education platform says that he will not expand any federal aid to college students now drowning in debt. Nor will he increase support for prenatal care for indigent women, even though a survey by the March of Dimes reported last spring that the U.S. ranked 131st among 180 nations in protecting the health of pregnant women; in that respect, we rank shamefully alongside Somalia.
A Romney administration promises a society in which life is very sweet for those at the very top, but hard, mean, and brutish for the growing number of Americans falling out of the middle class and into poverty.
Every successful nation in the world has taken positive steps to reduce income inequality, to reduce poverty, and to protect the environment in which we all live.
I cannot support a candidate who promises to shred the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens. I cannot support a candidate who wants to reward those who are richest and to deny government support to those who need help to survive. I do not want to turn the clock back almost a century.
That is why I will vote to re-elect President Obama.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Diane Ravitch.
It's the best time to make a few plans for the longer term and it's time to be happy. I have read this publish and if I could I wish to recommend you few interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to learn even more things about it!
As a teacher and a true Independent, I am disappointed in Diane’s post–especially with her presumably voting in a Blue state. We named our 4-year old, “Barack” in July 2008. As an African American male, I admire Obama in many ways. However, I think he and the Dems need to understand that educated folk make decisions that transcend partisanship or some Band-Aid approach to education. I think the rationale that supports Diane’s vote is partly the reason why the Arne Duncans of Democratic administrations can exist and we have to stomach neoliberal/neoconservative education policies. The rationale is part of the problem. Blogging opinions pales compared to the opinion via suffrage–the final opinion. Opinions in blogs may not survive the historical marathon. But, popular sovereignty will. Unfortunately, Diane’s post is just one more example that the people’s sovereignty is inextricably tied to the dichotomized political narratives from which we feed. Diane is no exception.
We're side by side with Somalia? Oh, those are fighting words . . .
I don't think either candidate has a good plan for education. I don't like that Romney wants to privatize. It adds an element to education that has no place... profit. I don't like that Obama wants to throw money at a system that isn't working without making the reforms first that are needed. I don't think either are going to do a thing to fix it. People you can't sit around and wait for the government to educate your children the right way, take that matter into your own hands and make sure your children succeed. Put in the work if you want results. This is your responsibility as a parent.
Diane Ravich writes about how past government education and social policy has been a complete failure but wants more of it rather than change to a commercial model that has proven to be more effective.
President Obama is traditionally viewed as an African American because of his father’s heritage in Kenya. However, while researching his Caucasian mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, Ancestry.com genealogists found her to have African heritage as well. Their interest piqued, the researchers kept digging. DNA analysis helped confirm that Dunham’s ancestors, known as white landowners in Colonial Virginia, actually descended from an African man. Existing records suggest that this man, John Punch, had children with a white woman who then passed her free status on to their offspring. Some of Punch’s descendants went on to be free, successful land owners in a Virginia entrenched in slavery.
In related news, Ancestry.com claims that they have learned that OBama is directly decendant from Jesus Christ and Moses, and posseses both Hebrew and God DNA. The race card was not discovered in Barack`s DNA, they said. Great news. This will be the first time that GOD DNA has lost an election.
oddly, no one reports the fact that the Federal Reserve was allowed under Obama to give away 16 trillion dollars to banks and companies. Add that to our debt of 16 trillion, thats 32 trillion....not 16 trillion. the news wont carry that. pls feel free to research this.
Why go back to Republican ? Romney doesn't have a plan. Just to make Obama a one term President, he won't be ! I love this country and our President.
I LOVE YOU PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA!!!!
Educator/Teacher votes for Obama? No way!! Who else is going to take money from the Tarp fund to pay for the teachers over compensated pension system. LOL Teacher unions are by far the most power hungry money grubbing unions in the country. Look at prop 32 in calfornia increase taxes on everyone so they can fund their pension...screw the kids.
OMG!!! People actually except the government to pay for pre-kindergarden daycare and pre-school? 0.0 Where we get the money?
Romney wants to give out bonds for private school????!!!! I didn't know that. I've been wanting to put my child in private school for a long time but California doesn't give out bonds. You know, I think the public system is kind of bad, I want out of it and I think it's fair to allow a parent to go into the private schools and they should be able to use the money that would otherwise go into public schools.
I'm sorry, but what happened in Chicago showed one of many reasons why private schools are better.
I went to public school in MA and it was great.
Why I am voting for Romney. I need jobs and a better economy. Not 4 more years of broken promises. Sorry but sheer truth AND not all latinos vote the same. I am NOT for illegal immigration either.
so please tell me what's romney's plan to create jobs!
I am sorry to hear that you like most Latinos feed into baseless stereotypes. I may be mistaken, but I didn't see one post that suggested the notion that anybody was in support of illegal immigration. Instead however, you feel it necessary to defend a stance based on your ethnicity that no one has challenged you on. As far as your economy comment, previous administrations and bipartisan posturing is the reason why were struggling to get out of the recession. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research the United States had been in a recession since December of 2007. Research does the mind and body good, you should try it.
Romney's secret plan to stimulate employment, first and foremost FIRE Obama..
The high divorce rate in the U.S. contributes significantly to the increase of poverty. The divorce rate is now at or above 51%. Per the 2010 Census Report: 50% of all white households are headed by a single white female; 75% of all black households are headed by a single black female. Single parent homes will most likely fall into poverty due to the one income. Much of the blame in this article is misdirected. Individual responsibility has been abdicated for increased government intervention and social programs.
And you love Romney so much because he's full of lies.
Finally! a great writer! go Diane Ravitch!
So you're saying the government is responsible for forcing couples to divorce? What an idiotic statement!
Actually, I believe the poster is saying that American's are putting themselves in the situation of being in single parent homes. Therefore having to make due with either no income or an income that isn't enough to care for their families. These are values that are taught. I value my marriage because I love my husband and am therefore committed to making our relationship work and being a family for our children. I think it's important to note that these days people are so quick to give up on anything that takes effort. The til death do us part, part of the vows is there for a reason. When you have children out of wed lock and you don't take your relationship with the mother or father of your children seriously and you act like your decision to be in a relationship with the mother or father of your children is only effecting you, you are wrong. The government will always fail when trying to pick up the slack. These are not the responsibilities of our government or the tax payer these are individuals responsibilities that aren't being met.
Black women has the highest % as single moms....who's your Daddy..?
Good piece! Globalised world needs a new approach. No more a super macho nation for strength this time is based on leadership that will draw all along but not intimidate others. The world is becoming more democratic. Our strength lies in being accepted. Acceptance will come through tactful wisdom.
They world is becoming more democratic???? Not planet Earth, unfortunately.
Obama represents the audacity of hypocrisy:
He said he would close GITMO, but he didn't.
He said he would pass comprehensive immigration reform, but didn't.
He said he opposed executive privilege but used it on fast and furious.
He said he would be transparent, but the health care bill was debated in private.
He said he would not pursue the single payer option, but did.
He said the health care bill would reduce costs, but they increased.
He said he would cut the deficit in half, but didn't.
He blasted Bush for debt, but then increased it by $6 trillion.
He said he would unite the country, but divides it along income and race.
He said the stimulus would save the economy, but it didn't.
He blasts Romney for outsourcing, but the stimulus outsourced jobs.
He said green energy would work, but his investments have failed.
He said his plan would reduce unemployment to 4%, but it is still nearly at 8%.
He opposes torture such as waterboarding, but he is willing to drone strike terrorists.
He bashed Bush for his foreign policy, but Obama can't get his story straight on Libya.
Fanastic summation of 4 years of Obama. Sadly I voted for him 4 years ago.. but not this time. Romney all the way.
You guys know something? I mean the tea pretties and the republicans, even with all the Karl Rove's sloganisms and misinformation and all the other vultures that suck away your money, you cannot see past your nose!!!
all lies – not from obama but from you!
Obama is terrified with well Informed voters..
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Iraq will always be debated.
President Bush took a risk. Leaders have to do that sometimes.
Like Obama's people continue to claim on Benghazi, Bush made the best possible decision based upon the best available information at the time.
People who have not studied World War 2 or the Cold War do not understand how this international Monopoly game or Real life Risk game works. If we had stopped Germany early, we would have stopped World War 2.
For the record, terrible weapons of mass destruction were found or suspected traces were found in Iraq.
Why would Bush think that they had great weapons?
Because Iraq had been leaking the information out, which helped keep his enemy Iran at bay.
President Bush and the United States had been blind-sided by the 9-11-01 attacks.
It wasn't going to happen again.
No one else was going to do a surprise attack on the United States on President Bush's watch. No one.
How would an Iraq with WMD attack the United States?
Would Sadaam bring one into an American city and surprise us, or would he attack our forces in Afghanistan.
They're neighbors over there, you know.
ANSWER: Iraq was not going to attack the United States anywhere. Iraq would be neutered. We would change their hostile government, find any weapons that might harm us, and destroy them. President Bush prevented World War 3, and prevented the loss of millions of lives, just like WE SHOULD HAVE DONE in Germany in the 1930's.
You complain now, but you do not realize what could have happened and what was prevented. Just like Iran is now doing, Iraq wanted nuclear and Iraq wanted domination of the whole region – just like Iran.
I also don't think the anti-Iraq-War people understand what Sadaam had been doing since August 1990. I don't think they know what Iraq did to Kuwait. I don't think they know how that "no fly zone" worked out in the 12 years since Operation Desert Storm.
No one in a democracy wants war. I don't. You don't. The soldiers and sailors sure don't. But sometimes we have to defend ourselves, and we figured that out fast on 911. No, Iraq didn't attack us on 9-11-01, but Iraq was not going to threaten us over there while we took care of business with the Taliban and Al Qaeda either.
When we took out Sadaam, we save millions of Iraqis. We saved them from a terrible dictator, and helped them choose their own government. If you don't like that, you had better remember that Obama did something very similar in Libya.
If it's good enough for Obama, then don't complain about Bush.
I love peace just as much as the next flower-child, but sometimes the real world doesn't work that way.
Based upon your reasoning or Republican reasoning, we should invade Iran next... and then we should invade Korea, and then we should invade China...and then we should next invade...etc...
From a Vetnam Vet/Flower Child...
Please excuse my typo..."Vietnam" and Not "Vetnam"
From a Vietnam Vet/Flower Child...
Might prevent the HEMP attack on the US the mullahs are planning.
Are we rambling ???
well, i think VETNAM suits for you...
By listening to Obama talking points and dismissing the failure of the past 4 years and not doing the due diligence in reading Romney's answers to right this country you do yourself a great disservice . Remember where money for teachers comes from. US. So lets berate the people who create jobs sothere can be more of us that can pay taxes,which givesw us more money to hire more and better teachers and give full support to our sons and daughters.
As long as we continue Obama economic policies, we will have all the economic problems that go with it.
While unemployment is high, wages are down, inflation is up, and the deficit soars, no one in your school district is going to have the money or the patience to raise property taxes for more goodies for the school district.
If you love schools and you love education, then fix the economy.
We can't spend even more money on education, while everything else is falling apart and everyone in the country is getting poorer and poorer and poorer.
A lot of people are living off their credit cards and part-time jobs right now waiting for something good to happen to the economy, and nothing good is going to happen until we get the business-hater out of the White House.
The Republican Party Obstructionist have blocked the Democratic Party from making greater progress in returning this country back to the prosperous times when the country was under a previous Democratic President. After 8 years of the Republican Party presidency, our country has been bankrupted by the Republican Party's lies, deceit, and cronyism and thrusting our country into an unnecessary war in Iraq that maimed and killed many of our young men and women! The Republican Party also financially robbed our country by rewarding crooked military contractors that paid kick-back to many Republican crooks! After the Democratic Party regained the presidency, the Republican Party blamed the Democratic Party for not repairing the damage to our country within 4 years. It took 8 years for the Republican Party to rob and destroy our country. President Obama did make some promises to the American people and he made a mistake. When he was running for office he saw a 4 foot deep hole that needed to be filled… Before being inaugurated, President Obama discovered that that 4 foot hole that he was counting on repairing turned out to be a 20 foot deep cavern… a money trap!!! Then President Obama was repeatedly blamed by the Republicans for not fixing the problem that the Republican Party had created!!! When President Obama complained that his party had NOT created the problem, the Republican Party that had created the problem told President Obama to stop trying to passing the buck!!!
Sorry, Lady. Wrong Year.
It's 2012, not 2008.
Republicans have not been running the presidency or most of the rest of the government for the last 8 years.
How foolish you sound attacking Bush. You don't even know who's running this year.
Bruce, I agree with you. I also have noticed that the republicans are stating that they would be able to turn the economy around in 8 years, but they are chastising Obama for not doing it in 4. Another thought here, It was the greatest economic disaster since the great depression, and how long did it take FDR to turn the economy around? From my research it started in 1929 and ended in 1941 with the entry of WWII. I don't condone entering into another world war, but it will take more than the two years that Obama had before the "Obstructionists, as you called them (which I liked by the way), took control of the House and made it their number one priority to oust Obama in the next election. If the Dems had retained control of the House, I don't think we would be in the place that we are today.
I can NOT understand why anyone would consider voting for the Republican Party considering that it has become one of the most vile, corrupt, conniving, flip-flopping, and an anti middle class party that has ever existed! The Republican Party is trying to force its religious beliefs on America! The Republican Party is trying to take away the right to vote for millions of American citizens! The Republican Party is trying and succeeding in the out-sourcing of American jobs! The Republican Party is trying to take away the rights of women and deny them the right to make decisions regarding their own health issues! The Republican Party is trying to line their pockets with the money that they want to take away from the middle class by increasing the middle class tax burdens and at the same time putting record profits into the silk-lined pockets of big business, aka the Republican Party! How can so many citizens be so uninformed and blind to what the Republican Party wants to do to the middle class in the United States!
Vile and Corrupt??? i call vile and corrupt a president who watches ( in real time) a battle on 9/11 with islamic extremists in which 4 Americans are murdered and LIES to us about what happened ! This is the biggest coverup since Watergate and NO ONE is reporting it. WHAT IS WRONG WITH US PEOPLE ! !
This is not a coverup, Mike; otherwise you wouldn't know about it. This is the fantasy smoking-gun you'd hoped you had found to bring down President Obama, but in actuality is a tragic event that saw the death of four Americans serving their country overseas.
You have written a lot, but it just sounds like campaign taking points.
You don't have any examples.
You don't have any facts.
The Obama Administration has been the most corrupt administration since Harding or Grant, over a hundred years ago.
Benghazi-Gate was just a symptom of perhaps hundreds of scandals during this Administration.
How about Fast&Furious?
How about all that money poured into Democrat political allies, into ACORN, GE/NBC, Solyndra (with Pelosi's brother on the Board), or how about James Biden, Joseph's little brother getting a $1.5 Billion building contract from the federal government?
We only know a fraction of what's been going on.
Wait until the investigations are over, because you are looking at an Obama resignation or an Obama Impeachment.
It's coming. If Obama gets elected, you will be electing President (Where am I?) Biden.
On the Economy? Obama has frozen all American businesses that were thinking of hiring anyone with all his regulations, executive orders, red tape, taxes, and daily bashing and slandering of businessmen.
On employment? It went as high as 10% and it never got below 8%. That last employment statistic put out by the White house did not include California, the most populous state with 10.7% unemployment. That's why it was the biggest faked decrease in unemployment in 4 years.
Deficit? It went UP 30% in four years, another $1.3 Trillion each Obama-year, and growing.
Democrats refuse to do anything to slow the deficit growth, much less reduce the deficit.
Every time anyone brings up the budget, Obama-Democrats claim that Republicans are Cannibals or something.
People of all backgrounds cannot take 4 more years of this nonsense.
Here's how Obama's class warfare propaganda worked.
He divided the country into two parts.
The first part would be all the rich people, except for democrats and movie stars.
The second part would supposedly be everyone else, supposedly 99% of the population, which was a false number.
His division in this manner was a big fraud.
He did not include the middle class in his 99%. He put the middle class into his 1% and then demonized them all.
Ordinary Middle Class people: working, often married with kids, struggling financially were labeled as, "rich people" all the time, who did not deserve anything they had. That's why Obama declared to these middle class people with small business that "they didn't build that".
Obama never noticed the middle class. He never ever saw them.
Obama wanted to raise gas prices and electric prices sky high, so we would be forced to look at HIS alternatives. By coincidence, it was Obama's political allies who were controlling the alternative energy industries and who would most benefit by Obama's pushing everyone towards alternative energies.
Meanwhile, the middle class has had to suffer inflation, rising gas prices, and unemployment. After a member of the middle class lost his good job, he might replace it with one at a gas station, if he was lucky.
Barack Obama thought everyone in the country was just like him or was supposed to be just like him. Obama thought everyone was from Chicago and San Francisco.
Obama never had any use for rural people, suburban people, people who attended church, or people who believed in God, or people who had worked their way up in the world by their own effort and sweat and patience.
Obama never saw himself as an American.
He always saw himself as the son of a Kenya man or the child of Indonesia or the product of Columbia University in Chicago. He never noticed that anyone else outside of his bubble.
You have proven once again that liberal Democrats really are as dumb as you sound. As of Nov. 6 Obama is gone and will be replaced with a real leader with common sense, and vision.
Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Romney is a wolf trying very hard to fit into sheeps clothing, but his ears and tale just won't fit. He hasn't fooled enough people into believing his non sense. Face it, regardless of which candidate is elected if times are hard for you they will most likely get harder. When people are struggling to have food on the table, and to have a way to work, or don't have work, they are most likey not as concerned with their child's education as they would be if they are able to feed their families, and afford to live. The first priority for our government should be stabilizing the economy by reducing government funding and giving companies incentives to hire more people. Right now there is no incentive for companies that are sending our jobs over seas, to keep those jobs here for American's. All of these other issues won't be as big if we start with the economy. Local and state governments won't have such problems if people have the money to support them without federal money. We haven't found the right person for the job that's our biggest problem.
I cannot support a President that lets an Ambassador and his staff be murdered by our enemies, then lie to the American people via TV entertainment shows... this; in and of itself,... should convince every American that Obama is untrustworthy and incompetent to run the greatest country in the world.
But you will vote for the candidate from the party that that cut the funding to the state department? You will also vote for the candidate from the party that lied about the reason we needed to invade Iraq? Good reasoning.
If President Obama and the Democratic Party made a mistake and it cost the lives of 4 Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, then that indeed was an extremely regrettable mistake... but where were you when the Republican Party connived and lied and led America into a war with Iraq that took thousands of lives and cost US citizens BILLIONS of dollars and started the financial plunge that has put the US in the worst turmoil in over 400 years?
Sorry for the typo... should read "40" years... NOT 400 years.
hey buddy it's 2012. Bush has been gone for a while now. If you have no argument better than "he did it so it's ok for me too" you would be better suited for a kindergarten class room. obama watched as Americans were murdered, if that's not a valid argument to get rid of him then I don't know what is.
Ok Diane. Mass's education system is wildly successful; and the evil Romney is going to do the opposite of all that....deluisional