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caption: Jesse Hagopian and Diane Ravitch at Town Hall Seattle
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Jesse Hagopian and Diane Ravitch at Town Hall Seattle
Credit: Sonya Harris

No ‘public school’ left behind: Diane Ravitch confronts school privatization

Diane Ravitch was once an avid supporter of charter schools, affiliated with various right wing think tanks. She came to a turning point when she could no longer stay quiet about the fact that charter schools were floundering.

A former Assistant Secretary of Education, Ravitch took a bold step. She reversed her previous position and began a journey toward defending public schools and educators.

In this episode, Diane Ravitch speaks with local Garfield High School educator Jessie Hagopian about her new book Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight To Save America's Public Schools. In it, she discusses the corporate and political interests that are committed to reshaping public schools into more business-like models.

Ravitch highlights the efforts of activists, religious leaders, parents and educators who are resisting the ‘disrupters’ of public education. Among them, a group she calls "the Billionaire Boys Club." She also draws attention to the costly effects of standardized testing, which she says give "privilege to the privileged" and subtract from the purpose and mandate of public schools -- “To encourage students to think and act as citizens of a democratic society, prepared to do their part in making it better for everyone.”

Diane Ravitch is a historian of education and a professor of education at New York University. She is the founder and president of the Network for Public Education.

Jesse Hagopian teaches Ethnic Studies at Garfield High School in Seattle. He is an editor for the social justice periodical Rethinking Schools and the co-editor of the book Teaching for Black Lives.

This event was presented by the Town Hall Seattle on February 4.