Diane Ravitch

DIANE RAVITCH is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. She is also a nonresident senior research fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Ravitch, a member of the National Academy of Education, has previously taught at Teachers College, Columbia University and lectured widely in Europe and Asia on issues of democracy and civic education. Serving as an advocate for public education through government service, Ravitch championed the creation of voluntary state and national standards as the Assistant Secretary of Education under the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

She has received numerous awards and honors for her support of education reform including: the National Education Association “Friend of Education” Award (2010); the Horace Mann League Outstanding Friend of Education Award (2011); and the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (2011).  Having edited fourteen books and authored more than 500 articles and reviews for scholarly and popular publications, Dr. Ravitch also wrote the recent best seller: The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education.

For more information, visit Diane Ravitch’s Website. To learn more about Diane Ravitch from her family and friends, visit her Reflections. To view photographs from Diane Ravitch’s personal collection, visit her Photo Gallery.


Visit the video below to watch a short overview of the interview with Diane Ravitch. Otherwise, see all four of the full interviews with Diane Ravitch below.

Video Interviews with Diane Ravitch:

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Born in the “wide open town” of Houston, Texas as the third of eight children, Dr. Diane Ravitch recalls leisurely days spent playing with her siblings and neighborhood friends.  Fond of learning even as a young child, Ravitch often sought quiet time to read her favorite books by climbing a tree. Influenced by her rabbi and excellent teachers, Ravitch developed her life-long love for writing while a student in the Houston public school system. In this clip, hear Dr. Ravitch’s humorous stories from her school days and the important political advice she received from her father.

Having honed her writing skills as a magazine editor after college, Dr. Diane Ravitch describes her initial interest in the history of the New York City school system. Feeling “more like a journalist” than a researcher in her early career, Ravitch recalls the countless hours she spent in the library studying local school history. Once discouraged from pursuing a doctoral degree, Ravitch has since championed voluntary state and national standards as the Assistant Secretary of Education. Watch this clip to learn more about the uncertain future of national standards from Dr. Ravitch.

Sharing a passion for education with her life partner Mary Butz, Dr. Diane Ravitch enjoys spending time with their intertwined families. Citing cooking as one of her limitations, Ravitch prefers to write, even describing her favorite book The Language Police as having almost written itself. Ravitch, once a staunch supporter of No Child Left Behind, now courageously challenges the legislation for its unanticipated consequences. In this clip, Dr. Ravitch warns against the mounting pressure of high-stakes testing and the growing demand for school choice.

Reiterating the importance of a free public education system, one not necessarily improved by competition, Dr. Diane Ravitch advocates for the needs of teachers. Concerned with the expansion of entrepreneurial schools and standardized testing, Ravitch identifies the “double challenge” facing those who support public education—the simultaneous need to improve schools and reduce poverty. Encouraging graduate students to “find one thing and make it your own,” she describes the life experiences that shaped her career as a writer and scholar. In this clip, Dr. Ravitch shares her desire to write one more great story—her own memoir.

Amrein-Beardsley, A. (2011, December 1). Inside the Academy video interviews with Dr. Diane Ravitch [Video files]. Retrieved from http://insidetheacademy.asu.edu/diane-ravitch