I’m Off the Wagon, Diane

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I’ve been really good about not quoting Diane Ravitch, but I’m off the wagon. In a recent blog post  she demeans national  civil and human rights groups who are working hard to help the U.S. Senate understand the necessity of  maintaining ESEA’s mandate of annual standardized testing. As these groups explained in a press release today, “we cannot fix what we cannot measure.”

We all know this. We know that the achievement gap between poor children and wealthier children, between whites and blacks, between children with and without disabilities, was only revealed through states’ analyses of disaggregated data from annual standardized tests.

But here comes Ravitch, arm-in-arm with AFT and NEA leaders, arrogantly declaiming that “civil rights groups apparently are unaware if the history of standardized testing, and its ties to the eugenics movement. I wrote about that in chapter 4 of  ‘Left Back’.”

Her proof is a (white) civil rights professor named Gary Orfield, who blames the achievement gap on income gaps and lack of resources. Like, say, in Asbury Park. Okay, great: we’ll just wait, then, until the U.S. has remedied poverty.

Ravitch continues, “like school choice, standardized testing was a weapon used by racists to deny civil rights, not a force for civil rights.” Tell that to Howard Fuller. Tell that to Wade Henderson. Tell that to Barack Obama. Will the real elitist please stand up?

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