Education historian Diane Ravitch, a fierce critic of current education reform trends, has launched an advocacy organization that will endorse political candidates who oppose high-stakes testing, mass school closures, and what her group calls the “privatizing” of public schools.
The Network for Public Education is meant to counter state-level forces such as Democrats for Education Reform, Stand for Children, and Students First—all of which promote their own vision of education reform and support candidates for office, including financially. That agenda backs measures such as charter schools and teacher evaluations tied to student growth.
In a news release last week, the Network for Public Education notes that “wealthy individuals are pouring unprecedented amounts of money into state and local school board races, often into places where they do not reside, to elect candidates intent on undermining and privatizing our public schools.”
For instance, advocacy organizations made big donations to school board races this month in Los Angeles and West Sacramento, Calif.
In the release, Ms. Ravitch, a former education official in the George H.W. Bush administration, said her new network “will give voice to the millions of parents, educators, and other citizens who are fed up with corporate-style reform.”
The one thing the group won’t do: donate money. Ms. Ravitch said in an interview that her group will focus on branding people with the education equivalent of the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” and directing other groups to donate money to those candidates.
She said the network will distinguish itself from other like-minded groups such as Save Our Schools and Parents Across America.
“There are all of these disparate groups, and they’re not connected,” she said. “What we want to do is be the kind of glue and use the social media to create a powerful national movement.”
A version of this article appeared in the March 13, 2013 edition of Education Week as New Group to Take Aim at Ed. Reform Trends