Diane Ravitch Cheered By Anti Education Reform Crowd In Nashville
Diane Ravitch, who writes a popular education blog and teaches at New York University, met with fans following an event at Vanderbilt University Wednesday night. In attendance were teachers union officials and some Metro school board members. Credit: David Wright Smith

Diane Ravitch Cheered By Anti Education Reform Crowd In Nashville

Diane Ravitch, who writes a popular education blog and teaches at New York University, met with fans following an event at Vanderbilt University Wednesday night. In attendance were teachers union officials and some Metro school board members. Credit: David Wright Smith
Diane Ravitch, who writes a popular education blog and teaches at New York University, met with fans following an event at Vanderbilt University Wednesday night. In attendance were teachers union officials and some Metro school board members. Credit: David Wright Smith

A Nashville crowd of 400 was enthralled with education reform naysayer Diane Ravitch from the moment she was introduced by Metro school board member Amy Frogge to when she left the stage.

Ravitch has become a leading voice criticizing charter schools, high-stakes teacher evaluations and over-testing. Wednesday night she also hit Teach for America, saying high-achieving countries like Finland would never consider giving a teacher just six weeks of training.

“They do not permit amateurs to become teachers or principals or superintendents, and they don’t permit amateurs to become state superintendents,” Ravitch said to cheers.

That last comment was a dig at Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, who is stepping down. He started out as a teacher with TFA and was later an executive with the organization.

Ravitch called it a “hoax” that schools are failing and in need of a total overhaul, adding that “protecting children from privatizing education is the civil rights issue of our time.”

Tennessee charter schools preemptively sent out a statement responding to Ravitch’s appearance, saying that her “divisive rhetoric” does not reflect what’s happening on the ground in Tennessee.

David Wright Smith contributed to this report.

Blake Farmer

Blake Farmer is WPLN's assistant news director, but he wears many hats - reporter, editor and host. He covers the Tennessee state capitol while also keeping an eye on Fort Campbell and business trends, frequently contributing to national programs. Born in Tennessee and educated in Texas, Blake has called Nashville home for most of his life.
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