Diane Ravitch to speak as part of School of Education Distinguished Lecture Series

Diane Ravitch Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

By Stephanie Reyes, Staff Writer

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Dr. Diane Ravitch will speak at Waco Hall about equity in education at 6 p.m. on Thursday as part of the of the Academy for Leader Development Lecture Series and the School of Education Distinguished Lecture Series. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Ravitch is a historian of education and a research professor of education at New York University. In addition, Ravitch was a former U.S. assistant secretary of education. In her role at the department of education, Ravitch promoted standardized testing, teaching accountability and school choice. In 2010, she abandoned these ideas.

Associate Dean for Student and Information Services and Associate professor of curriculum and instruction Dr. Douglas W. Rogers said Baylor University is very fortunate to have Ravitch speak at one of their lecture series. He added that the goal of the lecture series is to educate the Baylor community on topics that are important in the field of education.

“The goal of our lecture series is to bring important voices and important individuals to campus, so that our students, our colleagues, our community all have an opportunity to hear leading voices in the field of education,” Rogers said.

Ravitch was the assistant secretary of education during the time when standardized testing really got started for children, schools, teachers and teacher education. Her work was foundational for the “No Child Left Behind” legislation.

Ravitch’s lecture will include tips for citizens about what they can do to improve public education at the local level. She will also be taking questions from the audience. Ravitch’s latest book, “Reign of Error: the Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s public schools”will also be available for purchase at the lecture.

Rogers said people who attend the lecture are going to learn how to be active in the political conversations that are going on in their local communities. He added that one of the things Baylor students can do is learn more about what’s going on and do volunteer work in the schools.

“I think one of the things students can take a moment and try and realize is that they too someday will be a member of a community,” Rogers said. “The more they can learn about a community now the better prepared they are going to be to live and be an active member of their community wherever they decided to go and have a profession, wherever they decided to go and raise a family.”

Rogers added that students should attend the lecture because what is going to be spoken about at the lecture is a national topic and the students are embedded in the process.

“We hope they’ll take away a greater understanding of what the dilemma really is, a way to get involved in the national debate, and that they will be to work locally on some of issues they hear about,” Rogers said.

Galveston senior Katie Fisher, who will be attending the lecture, said people who attend the event can learn about what Ravitch thinks about education. Since Ravitch has seen both sides of the No Child Left Behind debate, Fisher said she can show students about where she’s been and what she believes.

“These are all things we’ll see eventually one day but we haven’t seen yet,” Fisher said. “I hope they’ll take away things that are beneficial for the rest of their teaching career.”