Welcoming Diane Ravitch to Milwaukee

This morning I had the pleasure of coffee and chat Downtown with Diane Ravitch, author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education,” which was voted the education book of the decade in a recent poll.

Ravitch — who was assistant secretary of education in the elder Bush’s cabinet and was appointed by Bill Clinton to the National Assessment Governing Board — is a research professor of education at New York University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is also a respected education historian and writer.

She is here in Milwaukee for the first time ever — which seems surprising considering how much she travels — to speak tonight at the UW-Milwaukee Union. Her talk is part of the School of Education’s Urban Forum. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Here is the interview I did with Ravitch when her book was published last year.

This morning we talked about my Brooklyn high school — which Ravitch (who lives in Brooklyn) knows well, having written about it on a few occasions — and we discussed WEAC‘s recently unveiled “Bold Reforms” (which she had heard a little bit about) and MTEA‘s reaction to them (also on her radar; how does she keep up?!).

We discussed looming budget cuts at my child’s MPS school and the education scene in general in Milwaukee these days.

Her hard-as-nails review of “Waiting for Superman” in the New York Review of Books also came up. There’s been talk that her well-aimed pin-poke at the inflated success of the Davis Guggenheim “documentary” — did you know there were reportedly staged scenes? — helped fizzle Guggenheim’s chances for an Oscar.

If you miss her tonight, Ravitch returns to Milwaukee at least two more times this year: Oct. 27, giving the keynote address at the Wisconsin Education Association Council Convention, at the Frontier Airlines Center, and 10:30 a.m. And the following day at noon at the Administrators’ and Supervisors’ Council Conference, Clarion Hotel, 5311S.  Howell Ave.

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