Ravitch’s View on Education




Ravitch’s View on Education

According to Ravitch, what is the goal for merit pay for teachers? Does merit pay for teachers work to increase student achievement scores? Explain.  

            Ravitch believes that merit pay seeks to “compel teachers to teach for tests and ignore what is not tested, like the arts and physical education” (Ravitch, 2012). It is the focus on tests that makes merit pay fail, according to Ravitch, harming the quality of education. Merit pay does not motivate the teachers, eroding initiative and overall quality of education in a school. The author believes that the goal of merit pay conflicts with the overall goal of education, providing a quality learning environment for students in the public school system. Merit pay does not increase student achievement scores because it destroys collaboration and teamwork among teachers, demoralizes employees, and fails to consider the innate desire by teachers to serve others without consideration of monetary incentives (Ravitch, 2010). Teachers work as hard as they can regardless of a bonus hence the merit pay does not improve student grade scores. 

Discuss how Ravitch responds to the notion that “schools will be more successful if we get rid of tenure for teachers since firing bad teachers is the key to improving education”?

            Ravitch responds to the proposition of getting rid of tenure as a platform to improve the success of schools by stating the effects that would emerge. The protection of academic freedom will be removed from lack of tenure and teachers will be fired for no reason including dislike by the principal, being too expensive, or outspoken to which she calls capricious firings (Ravitch, 2015). Ravitch also critiques the idea that getting rid of tenure results in success in schools by noting that there is no evidence that tenure causes low test scores. She believes poverty is the cause of low test scores and is predicted in standardized tests including SAT, Act, national tests, international tests, and state tests (Ravitch, 2015). She believes getting rid of tenure will make staffing schools in poor neighborhoods very difficult, create massive demoralization among teachers, and solve no problems for the students.       

What does Ravitch have to say about the opinion that Teach for America (TFA) recruits teachers and leaders whose high expectations will one day ensure that every child will have an excellent education?

            Ravitch faults the idea that Teach for America recruits teachers and leaders with the ability to ensure every child will have an excellent education despite attracting “educated, bright, idealistic young people” (Strauss, 2011). She contrasts the 8,000 young people sent to needy schools by TFA to the four million teachers and states that most of these youth leave the profession within three years and 50% of those who enter teaching leave within five years. She believes FTA does not address teaching challenges including new teachers having strong preparations and solid education for work, recruiting those who plan to stay as teachers, and ensuring they have mentors to provide the recruits support and guidance in the early years (Strauss, 2011). Ravitch believes the FTA has managed to promote itself and stifle public discussion on the restructuring and improving the teaching profession.      

According to Ravitch, what were some of the unintended consequences of Michelle Rhee’s corporate reform movement in education?

            The reforms on the education system have led to unintended consequences including a backlash on teachers because of the accountability and evaluation reforms that have been put in place. These evaluations focus on test scores without considering the circumstances of performance by teachers. The other consequence has been encouraging “gaming” the system as the teachers and students focus on ensuring passing the test by all means. The impact includes teachers instructing the students to pass the tests, and other important learning requirements not included in the tests which are not factored in the learning environment causing deterioration in the quality of learning in schools. Limited choice for parents is the other consequence of the reforms that seeks to provide a one-size fir all model leaving parents with no choice of opportunities in the school system for the special skills, talents, and abilities of their children. The role of the parent in deciding the right education fit for their children is limited.    

According to Ravitch, have charter schools been shown to be more effective at raising test scores than public schools? Explain? What does she see as the hidden agenda with charter schools? Explain?

            Charter schools have not been shown to be more effective at raising test scores than public schools. The charters do not attend to the cause of low academic performance since top-performing systems in the world in Korea and Finland do not have charter schools (Ravitch, 2013). These countries have “strong public school programs with well-prepared teachers and administrators” (Ravitch, 2013). Charter schools transform schooling to a consumer good where the highest value is a choice. The focus on reducing the costs also causes lack of bargaining and unionization for teachers and charter schools causing demoralized teachers and affecting children performance.

            Ravitch argues that the hidden agenda in charter schools is entrepreneurship focusing on ensuring high test scores to the extent of enrolling few English-language learners and disabled students. Charter schools focus on success in test scores to promote enrolment and make money from the process instead of focusing on ensuring quality education is achieved. Accountability and transparency of charter schools have also been questioned.



Ravitch, D. Tenure is a guarantee of due process to prevent capricious firings. New York Times.   Retrieved on October 26, 2017 from           https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/06/11/does-tenure-protect-bad-teachers-          or-good-schools/tenure-is-a-guarantee-of-due-process-to-prevent-capricious-firings

Ravitch, D. (September 28, 2010). Merit pay fails another test. Education Week. Retrieved on      October 26, 2017 from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-            Differences/2010/09/merit_pay_fails_another_test.html

Ravitch, D. (August 9, 2012). Rhee is wrong and misinformed. CNN. Retrieved on October 26,    2017 from http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/09/my-view-rhee-is-wrong-            and-misinformed/   

Ravitch, D. (October 2, 2013). Diane Ravitch: Charter schools are a colossal mistake. Here’s       why. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on October 26, 2017 from             https://www.alternet.org/education/diane-ravitch-charter-schools-are-colossal-mistake-             heres-why.        

Strauss, V. (February 15, 2011). Ravitch: The problem with teach for America. The Washington Post. Retrieved on October 26, 2017 from http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-      sheet/diane-ravitch/ravitch-the-problem-with-teach.html

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