Opinion: Blowback to a Blowback: Diane Ravitch responds to Ron Wolk on charter schools


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Education historian Diane Ravitch, who penned this March 14 Times Op-Ed article explaining her turnabout on the efficacy of school choice and standardized testing in improving public education, e-mailed us the following response to Blowback writer Ron Wolk’s defense of charter schools:

In his response to my article in the LA Times, Ron Wolk defends privately managed charter schools as a positive force in education today.

He misses the point of my critique. Charter schools will not lead to an overall improvement in American education. They are as variable in quality as regular public schools and they do not on average produce better student outcomes than regular public schools.

But even more important is that charter schools enroll a very small minority of students (only 3% nationally). Continuing to pour our energies into the charter strategy does nothing to upgrade dramatically our public education system, which continues to educate the other 97%. Charters are nice for the small numbers that enroll in them, but they distract us from the need to improve the system that educates the great majority of children.