Former Assistant Secretary of Education to talk to teachers

Kate Marinkovich, Author

Former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch will be speaking to local teachers about education policies Monday afternoon at Palo Alto High School.

Diane Ravitch, an education historian, was appointed to the United States Department of Education by former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She is best known for her public turnaround in opinion of education policies she previously advocated for, specifically her change in opinion regarding No Child Left Behind.

The event, sponsored by the Palo Alto Teachers Association, will take place Monday Sept. 30th in the English Resource Center. Ravitch will hold a meet-and-greet and book signing at 3:30 p.m., and then speak briefly and answer questions at 4 p.m.

Ravitch’s talk will be short and informal, serving as an introduction to the issues of education reform.

“I think she’s been highly successful at forcing the national conversation [of education policy] to address problems many education reformers would prefer to ignore,” Paly English teacher David Cohen said.

The event was coordinated by Cohen, who has met Ravitch previously through work he has done outside of Paly.

Knowing she would be speaking on Sept. 30 at Stanford, Cohen contacted Ravitch through a mutual contact asking if she would appear at Paly, and she agreed to meet and talk with teachers before her Stanford appearance.

The event is geared toward mainly toward teachers and administrators; however, teaching practicum students are invited as well. Please note the event is only open to invited teachers and students.

“Students should definitely make an effort to learn all sides of the policy debates in education,” Cohen said.

Cohen believes Ravitch’s perspective will serve as an inspiration to teachers.

“I think it takes courage to make such a public reversal when you recognize that your earlier beliefs and ideas have led to disappointing results,” Cohen said.