While Diane Ravitch was speaking to an Indiana University audience Tuesday about the state of public education, and the inherent danger in linking test scores and accountability, the Indiana General Assemby was continuing its assault on public education and Indiana teachers were struggling with computer glitches on a standardized test that will be used to evaluate them and possibly determine their salaries.
Ravitch delivered the Branigan lecture on campus, speaking for more than an hour on the effect of "corporate reform" on schools.
"Corporate reformers have no vision of what good education is," she said. "They don't think about why we educate, other than to prepare for college and jobs."
As she did in her latest book, "The Death and Life of the Great American School System," Ravitch details the role of private foundations, think tanks and billionaires in so-called reform. She notes that the people involved wouldn't want the same demands placed on the schools their own children attend. "This is poor peoples' schooling," she said. "Not what they do at Sidwell Friends."
Ravitch gave a nod to what is happening in Indiana.
"What the Indiana legislature is doing now is so punitive and so destructive to public education and to the teaching profession that it's hard to see anything good coming of it," she said.
Ravitch could have devoted the entire session to what's going on in Indianapolis. While politicians in other states seem to be picking their targets more carefully, Indiana Republicans are like kids in a candy store, joyously gorging on merit pay, vouchers, charter school expansion, home-schooling incentives, punitive evaluation procedures, the destruction of collective bargaining and more.
The archived streaming video of Ravitch's address is available here.