Virtual school

Online Charter Schools and Individualized Education

Online charter schools are another name for virtual colleges. These institutions are known for spending a lot on recruiting and promoting. They spend a lot of money on fees from funds given to the neighborhood public schools, but Ravitch believes they have failed miserably in their attempt to individualized and tailor education. The online schools spend a lot of money on public relations, where they specifically target clients from around the globe. Additionally, according to Diane Ravitch, based on the circumstance, virtual schools may foster creativity or dehumanize the learning process. Learning can become inhumane if there isn't more personalized interaction between the instructor or tutor and the student. Virtual schools also have a tendency of investing their student’s skills in technology to enable them to participate effectively in learning.

Quality of Teachers and Student Performance

On the interpretation of the quality of the teacher, Ravitch sees this as true. Judging the quality of a teacher through the performance of students has several uncontrolled variables, further as individual variations among students to form these ratings valid. She says that no one should hinge on the answers of a standardized test questions. Klein and Rhee observe that highly effective teachers generate about 50% more than the average teachers, and ineffective teachers generate 50% less than average teachers, a stand that Ravitch agrees with. Ravitch observes that having great teachers “perhaps” contributes to exemplary performance in education, but she observes that “such teachers are not in great numbers” and that they cannot continually produce great achievements every year (Buntin, 2014). The two disagreed on the teacher quality Rhee and Klein insisting that great teachers have a greater influence on students' performance when compared to average teachers.

Corporate Reformers and Public Education

On the matter of corporate reformers, Ravitch views this as a deceptive scheme that often comes with an alluring name package. She sees this as a scheme that will undermine public education. She believes that public schools do not belong to individuals but to the public, which is the community. The liberals and progressives supporting the public education reforms in a market-based system are meant to destroy it since making it for-profit is likely to compromise the quality. This community is in charge of reforms and implementing ways to improve learning in the schools. Top schools perform better through the incorporation of efforts by the parents and other corporate partners who view education as a multi-sector issue. Engaging parents, especially for children in challenged backgrounds, helps them in appreciating the need to support their schools and their children. The administration of schools should incorporate some aspects of public involvement to aid in comprehending the efforts geared towards improving education.

Proposed Education Reforms

Ravitch proposes various reforms that could make schools more effective. Some include; Limit the Federal role in education to the administration of congressionally licensed grant programs that facilitate colleges give required services to poor, deprived, and disabled students. Limit the state role to distributing tax funds to public colleges, licensing academics, providing student bussing wherever necessary, providing grants to colleges with innovative programs, and providing special services, like a faculty man of science, wherever required. Re-design formulas for state funding to incorporate further amounts for colleges with massive numbers of scholars living in financial condition and students known as disabled and many more. She also disagrees with privatizing public schools through the increasing demand for accountability as well as discouraging the replacing of the failing schools with charter schools.

Critique of No Child Left Behind Law

Diane was among the people who spearheaded the implementation of the No Child Left Behind law. Four years later, she had a different opinion. She saw the No Child Left Behind as a destructor of American public education. It is being used in the closing of schools and determining if a teacher is good or not. She was of the opinion that standardized testing has high tendencies of undermining teaching. She was of the opinion that closing schools missing the set goals was not fair since there were probably other underlying conditions that could have undermined their performance. The majority of the schools closed in the centralized education systems were from the poor and/or minority backgrounds where the majority of the children were poor as well as not speaking good English. The centralized system also led to the charter schools becoming profit-making entities (Ravitch, 2016).

Addressing Poverty in Education

Poverty being a major hindrance to education, Ravitch supports the notion to 'fix' the poverty before they 'fix' the schools. This is because children with poor economic backgrounds are more likely to not succeed compared to their privileged counterparts. If all poverty issues are looked into, this would prove beneficial to a child's academic performance. Buntin (2014) quotes Ravitch where she states that low academic performance is highly influenced by poverty levels. She advocates for the improvement of schools attended by mainly African-American and Hispanic children to have abundant resources, after-school programs, experienced teachers, and a rich curriculum to improve academic performance from a poor background and not necessarily fixing the poverty conditions of the children. Resources, even for digital learning, placed in schools predominantly for poor children can help alleviate their poor performance.

Privatization of Public Schools

According to Ravitch, privatization is not popular amongst people. This is because public institutions and schools were being taken over by private entrepreneurs and financiers. This process was hailed only by those on the political divide and not the communities that need to get profit off their children. Privatization of public schools is not supported by the majority of education investors. Ravitch argues that for-profit online charter schools, commonly referred to as virtual academies, monetize education to an extent that excludes children from poor backgrounds. The virtual schools and other privatized schools are popular due to their publicity on social media platforms where they advertise their performance (results) to attract more students. Privatization, thus, according to Ravitch, discriminates against students and favors few, despite the schools collecting fees from the state.


Buntin, J. (2014). A Battle Over School Reform: Michelle Rhee vs. Diane Ravitch. Retrieved from ravitch.html

Ravitch, D. (2016). The death and life of the great American school system: How testing and choice are undermining education. Basic Books.

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