March 4 Actions to Defend Public Education & Ravitch Opposition to Testing and Choice

Democracy Now! offers a summary of actions during the National Day of Action to Defend Public Education. “Students and teachers held hundreds of demonstrations on Thursday as part of the National Day of Action to Defend Public Education. Hundreds of thousands took part in what was the largest day of coordinated student protest in years. We get a roundup of the action on the streets, from California to New York.” Diane Ravtich was interviewed during the same edition of Democracy Now! “As the Obama administration touts No Child Left Behind and the ‘Race to the Top’ competition for school grants, we speak to leading education scholar and former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch. She’s long been known as an advocate of No Child Left Behind, charter schools, standardized testing, and using the free market to improve schools.”

The two developments — mass student and teacher actions opposing the privatization of public education and demanding a say over the form and content of education; Ravitch’s change of heart — suggest several questions. First is the degree to which these developments reflect and stand to block the ability of the forces pushing RTTT to remain creditable in the public eye. Second, because it is clear that RTTT as a roadmap for education reform will not be abandoned “no matter what the facts are”, what methods will be adopted to impose it? Will the existing RTTT methods to secure compliance to the Department of Education backfire? I’m thinking of methods such as forcing LEAs, unions, etc., to “show support” for state applications through memorandums? If the application fails, as many have, what will the forced alliance to King Arne give rise to, if not hatred for the king?