Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Diane Ravitch: Be careful Canada

I know many Canadian educators who are rightfully sceptical of the debacle that is American Education Reform.

We should not be too quick to dismiss the idea that the lunacy of high stakes standardized testing, vilification of teachers, merit pay and other corporate reforms can come to Canada.

The 49th parallel does not offer some kind of inherent insulator to this madness.

Arne Duncan spoke in Toronto last year by invitation of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, and Bill Gates recently appeared at the Toronto Film Festival to promote Waiting for Superman.

Diane Ravitch was recently asked if she thought that the same kinds of corporate reforms can spread to Canada and other parts of the world?

Yes, it is happening already. I have gotten urgent e-mail messages from teachers in Australia, the U.K., and elsewhere in Europe. They are worried that the corporate reforms are coming their way, heavily promoted as “the answer” to the ills of education. Bear in mind that the ultimate goal is privatization and deprofessionalization, treating schools as businesses that can be opened and closed with ease as their “profits” (test scores) rise or fall.


  1. This is the reason I spend time talking about US education, so that I can open people's eyes here about the dangers of following the US path.

    I listened to the BC education minister about a week ago talking about his vision for education in British Columbia, and I'm pleased to report that not one idea he had was similar to the corporate reforms happening in the US. We should be safe in BC for at least one more election cycle.

  2. Joe, let's take this all the way to the extreme end of the "what-if" cycle: What if it's no longer 'good business' to have any public education at all?

    Lest we become too secure, this is the question that Detroit tackled. Their solution? To issue lay-off notices to ALL their public education teachers. No more public education. Period.

    Could the same happen here? That's like asking whether a global crisis like the Japan earthquake-induced disaster could happen here. Of course it could.

    So what would that mean? Well, those without the means for private education costs would go without. Period. Can you envision anything more Draconian? It sounds like a modern-day Dickens novel. However, unlike quakes and tsunamis, we still (so far) have some degree of input here, as far as prevention. What we choose to do about it is something I'm very interested in seeing.


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