Diane Ravitch, a renowned education historian and pundit, research professor and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, held an informal Q&A session with 200 UF College of Education students and faculty on Jan. 22 at Norman Hall. The session was held just hours before Ravitch — author of the best-selling book, “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools” — presented a public lecture in University Auditorium.
Her 60-minute session with students included the New York University professor’s view that the decline of public education in the U.S. is “one of the most compelling issues of our time.” She said that attempts being made by political extremists to “destroy and dismantle” public education have played a significant role in the decline, and that corporate involvement – especially the establishment of charter schools that use taxpayer dollars to make a profit before going bankrupt – is setting a dangerous precedent.
Ravitch fielded a variety of questions that centered around education reform, but left her attentive audience with words of encouragement. “The tide is beginning to turn” back in favor of education funding, she said. Ravitch encouraged students to get involved and stick together. “Don’t be the nail that gets hammered,” she advised.