Ravitch needs advice from Sgt. Oddball
Sgt. Oddball: "Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out there? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?"
Diane Ravitch can't help it any longer. To quote Donald Sutherland's character in "Kelly's Heroes," her "negative waves" against charters continue apace as she does her best imitation of Tank Crewman Moriarty (Gavin MacLeod, not pictured).
A very positive study by Professor Caroline Hoxby came out last week showing that charter schools in New York City are outscoring district schools. Ms. Ravitch, an "education historian," responds by reminding everyone that studies of charter schools in other states show the results are not so good. Really, now?
Diane Ravitch goes way back in education reform circles, but in recent years comes off as bitter and disillusioned. It's as if anything favored by NYC Schools Chancellor Klien, Ravitch opposes, even if it contradicts her previous views. Her opinion piece in Sunday's Daily News concedes that the results of the Hoxby study on NYC charters were "impressive", but "not typical of other charter schools across the nation." She cites a study by Professor Margaret Raymond for the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University as her authority, yet mentions none of the criticisms of that study.
The CREDO study counted half the students as being in their first year in a charter school, which is a misleading sample of true performance. Furthermore, Ravitch mistakenly relies on the national data which lumps all charter schools together, without considering the individual state results in the study reflective of the wide variation of state policies affecting the quality of charter schools. Prof. Hoxby also criticized this study by writing: "the study contains a serious statistical mistake that causes a negative bias in its estimate of how charter schools affect achievement."
Even Prof. Raymond herself, a respected researcher, acknowledged limitations of the data she used, but Diane Ravitch must not have gotten that memo.
Instead, Ms. Ravitich continues to cite a national study with severe limitations to discredit charter schools, this time to throw cold water on the superb results of NYC charters. But Ravitch wasn't finished. She also trashed charter schools in Philadelphia and Boston as well.
So, since charters elsewhere supposedly aren't doing so well, according to Diane Ravitch using questionable sources, the state legislature in New York "should proceed with caution," she writes. Come again? Charter schools have been documented to be succeeding in New York but New York should be careful because they are allegedly not as good elsewhere? This is absurd, twisted advice, layered with acrimony. Such negative waves should be ignored.
for The Chalkboard
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