The buzz today is the publication of Diane Ravitch’s new book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (Basic Books, 2010). As commentators and reviewers note, this is a big shift: Ravitch was one of the champions of No Child Left Behind.
With West Michigan being ground zero for charters in Michigan, and with GRPS adopting charters as a model for reform — the shift of an advocate changes the dynamics. A move to community-oriented schools would certainly reinforce the position of Tony Baker, Henry Campbell and Wendy Falb trying to keep Stocking School open (and correspondingly, makes the difficulties of John Helmholdt and Bernard Taylor that much more difficult).
This news should also come in the context of recent reports on the role of teacher education in school success (here, for Amanda Riley; also see Bob Herbert). The increased role of teachers is not opposed to the charter movement per se, but rather functions as a way to focus our efforts. For would-be school reformers (and conservative critics everywhere), this certainly means that tactics that focus on re-structuring as a magic pill loses some of its emotional energy.
I am sure we will hear more about this in the weeks to come.