Monthly Archives: September 2013

Highlights from Diane Ravitch’s Talk in Seattle


Chatting with Diane Ravitch after her talk in Kane Hall, at the University of Washington. She assured me that grassroots campaigns can be won!

Some words of wisdom from Dr. Ravitch:

“If you close a school, usually it destroys the community as well.”

“The most important causes of low achievement are poverty and segregation.”

“Tests should be used diagnostically.”

“Most tests should be made by teachers.”

“Standardized tests are a very accurate measure of a parent’s income and education. They do not measure the capacity to learn.”

“We have overdosed on testing.”

“Principals should themselves be master teachers.”

“Superintendents should be experienced educators.”

(To the teachers of Garfield High School who spoke up against the flawed MAP test.) “They brought so much heart and hope to the nation. Thank you for your courage.”

She concluded her talk by reading the final paragraphs from her new bestselling book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools:

“Genuine school reform must be built on hope, not fear; on encouragement, not threats; on inspiration, not compulsion; on trust, not carrots and sticks; on belief in the dignity of the human person, not a slavish devotion to data; on support and mutual respect, not a regime of punishment and blame. To be lasting, school reform must rely on collaboration and teamwork among students, parents, teachers, principals, administrators, and local communities.

“Despite its faults, the American system of democratically controlled schools has been the mainstay of our communities and the foundation of our nation’s success. We must work together to improve our public schools. We must extend the promise of equal educational opportunity to all the chidlren of our nation. Protecting our public schools against privatization and saving them for future generations of American children is the civil rights issue of our time.”


“We must treasure public education. We must make it stronger and better. It belongs to all of us.” — Diane Ravitch



Come Hear Diane Ravitch Discuss Her New Book, Sept. 26, 7 p.m. at Kane Hall, U.W.


Don’t miss Diane Ravitch at U.W.’s Kane Hall tomorrow at 7 p.m!

The former U.S. Undersecretary of Education is currently touring the country with her new book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (Knopf, 2013) and will speak in Seattle on Thursday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m., at Kane Hall, Room 130, University of Washington, (206) 634-3400. Free.

Her previous book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (Basic Books, 2011) was a widely acclaimed bestseller.

An education historian and professor at New York University, Ravitch served in the Department Education in both the Bush I and the Clinton Administration.  She has since become a foremost national authority on public education and a powerful critic of controversial “corporate ed reform” policies that emphasize charter schools, high-stakes testing and teacher evaluations based on standardized test scores.

In August, Dr. Ravitch’s national organization, Network for Public Education, strongly endorsed my candidacy. She has also written about my School Board race on her blog (Seattle: Status Quo Crowd Fears Sue Peters) and tweeted: “Help elect Sue Peters to Seattle School Board, a champion of public education.”

I am thrilled and honored to have Dr. Ravitch’s support.  I greatly respect the years of experience and research she has dedicated to public education, and I have drawn many of the same conclusions she has. Privatizing public education via charter schools, excessive testing, and blaming teachers are failed policies that have done great damage to our schools and the morale of our students and teachers.

Instead, I support an investment in rich, engaging curriculum for all students, not excessive testing; respect and support for teachers, and keeping public education public.

As a founding member of Parents Across America (PAA), in Feb. 2011, I had the honor of speaking and sharing a panel with Ravitch at the organization’s kickoff event in New York City.  In the fall of 2010, I emceed a forum at Seattle University featuring Ravitch via Skype, educators and public education advocates Dr. Wayne Au, Jesse Hagopian and Dora Taylor, sponsored by the Seattle Education Blog.