Tag Archives: school choice in America

The Ravitch Transformation—an educated awakening

Until recently I had no idea who Diane Silvers Ravitch was.  After all, America has the third largest population [316 million] in the world after China and India, and I have trouble just remembering the names of all my neighbors.

But I was about to discover who Ravitch was.  My wife was on the road one morning listening to KQED, and when she got home she told me about this interview on the radio.

I went on-line and found the post and podcast at, and read “Diane Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education, spent years advocating for an overhaul of the American education system. She supported the No Child Left Behind Act, the charter school movement and standardized testing.

“But Ravitch recently—and very publicly—changed her mind. She looked at the data and decided that the kinds of changes she’d supported weren’t working. Now she’s a prominent critic of things like charter schools and school choice and she’s particularly opposed to privatizing schools.”

That’s when I discovered Ravitch wrote a book published  in mid-September 2013 by Knopf called “Reign of Error“.  After I read the storm of reviews on Amazon [twenty-two 5-star reviews compared to three 1-star reviews] of her book, I ordered a copy

I also Googled Ravitch to learn more about her because after reading the reviews of her work, I discovered someone who knows what’s going on with America’s public education system—and the truth might set America free so the people will support teachers instead of make them scapegoats for dysfunctional families.

For example, what does a teacher do when he or she assigns a thirty-minute reading assignment as homework and only three students out of thirty-four do it and this is what happens all the time? Where are the parents?

Diane Silvers Ravitch is a historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and a research professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Previously, she was a U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education.

I was a teacher for thirty years in the public schools [1975-2005]. The schools where I taught were surrounded by a barrio where violent street gangs ruled the streets, but the schools were an oasis for students where dedicated teachers worked long, hard, frustrating hours—often sixty to one-hundred hours a week—to overcome the poverty, ignorance and violence that surrounded those schools. Just getting kids to do the homework, study and read for fun outside of the classroom was a big challenge.

I’ve been researching this same topic for years and writing about it on this Blog.  Are the public schools broken as the critics claim?

The answer is NO!

Today, America’s public schools are better than they have ever been in America’s history, and I have proven it on this Blog. And when I read Ravitch’s book, I’ll probably learn more about the misinformation, deceit and lies that has influenced millions of Americans to blame teachers and the teachers unions for problems they have no control over.

President Abraham Lincoln said it best: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Maybe the time has finally come for all or most of the American people to stop being fooled about the state of public education in the United States and shift the blame to where it belongs—dysfunctional families that do not value the work it takes to earn an education.

Public teachers in the United States should get the same support that Americans give the troops that are fighting this country’s endless wars, because there is a war being waged in America’s classrooms too.

Discover It’s the parents, Stupid


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves


Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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