Ravitch: The Feds Matter

It’s a Ravtich twofer. After her Sunday Washington Post op-ed Diane Ravitch comes back with a big New York Times piece Monday about standards arguing states are setting them too low and the feds need to step in. To make her case, Ravitch focuses on the NAEP proficiency levels compared to how states define proficiency. The problem here is that there is a lot of criticism of NAEP proficiency levels and not just from anti-testing folks (although regardless of what one thinks of those levels the disparities in some states are eye-popping). But, to Ravitch’s credit, she doesn’t heap all this on NCLB but rather points out that it is an ongoing issue that predates the law. That stance is at odds with the recent rush to dump it all on NCLB (which could exacerbate this problem down the road, but isn’t causing a race to the bottom just yet). Ravitch also comes clean about the tough politics here. It could happen, of course, but Eduwonk has yet to hear a plausible political roadmap for getting it through Congress even if the occupant of the White House favored it.

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