Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University. She is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including the bestselling THE DEATH AND LIFE OF THE GREAT AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, THE LANGUAGE POLICE: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Children Learn, LEFT BACK: A Century of Battles Over School Reform, and THE AMERICAN READER: Words That Moved a Nation. From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. She was responsible for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education. As Assistant Secretary, she led the federal effort to promote the creation of state and national academic standards. Before entering government service, she was Adjunct Professor of History and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She was appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board by President Bill Clinton, on which she served from 1997 to 2004.
She is also the author of NATIONAL STANDARDS IN EDUCATION: A Citizen's Guide (1995), WHAT DO OUR 17-YEAR-OLDS KNOW? (with Chester Finn, Jr., 1987), THE SCHOOLS WE DESERVE (1985), THE TROUBLED CRUSADE: American Education, 1945-1980 (1983), THE REVISIONISTS REVISED (1978), THE GREAT SCHOOL WARS: New York City, 1805-1973 (1974). In addition, she has edited sixteen books, including THE ENGLISH READER (with Michael Ravitch, 2006); THE DEMOCRACY READER (with Abigail Thernstrom, 1992); LEARNING FROM THE PAST (with Maris Vinovskis, 1995); and NEW SCHOOLS FOR A NEW CENTURY (with Joseph Viteritti, 1997). She has written more than five hundred articles and reviews for scholarly and popular publications. She has lectured in Poland, the former Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, the former Soviet Union, Hungary, the former Yugoslavia, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, and throughout the United States. Her lectures on democracy and civic education have been translated by the USIA into many languages, including Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Russian, Belarussian, and Ukrainian. Her books have been translated into many languages, including Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Swedish, and Japanese. In 1989, she advised Teachers Solidarity and the Ministry of Education in Poland. In 1991, the Polish Government awarded her a medal for her work on behalf of Solidarity. She was elected to membership in the National Academy of Education (1979), the Society of American Historians (1984), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1985). She was selected as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar in 1984-85, the first person chosen from the field of education studies. She was awarded the Henry Allen Moe prize in the humanities by the American Philosophical Society in 1986 and received the Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award in 1989. She was honored as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library in 1992. The Library of Congress invited her to deliver lectures in 1993 in honor of the 250th birthday of Thomas Jefferson. She is a member of PEN International. She is an honorary life trustee of the New York Public Library and a former Guggenheim Fellow. She was awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, by the following institutions: Williams College; Reed College; Amherst College; the State University of New York; Ramapo College; St. Joseph's College of New York; Middlebury College Language Schools; Union College.
Ravitch's recent awards include: NEA Friend of Education, 2010; American Association of School Administrators, American Education Award, 2011; Outstanding Friend of Education Award, Horace Mann League, 2011; Distinguished Service Award, National Association of Secondary School Principals, 2011; and the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 2011.
She received a B.A. from Wellesley College in 1960 and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1975. Ravitch is a native of Houston, Texas, and a graduate of the Houston public schools.
Click here to see Diane Ravitch on Charlie Rose discussing teachers, the problems with high-stakes testing in schools, and the future of public education in America.
Click here to watch Ravitch discussing school reform and the Chicago teachers' strike at the invitation of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at the City Club of Chicago.
THE AMERICAN READER: Words That Moved a Nation (HarperCollins, 2000)
THE DEATH AND LIFE OF THE GREAT AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (Basic Books, 2010)
EDSPEAK: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon (ASCD, 2007)
THE LANGUAGE POLICE: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Our Students Learn (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003)
LEFT BACK: A Century of Battles Over School Reform (Simon & Schuster, 2000)
REIGN OF ERROR: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013)
SLAYING GOLIATH: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools (Alfred A. Knopf, 2020)
THE ENGLISH READER: WHAT EVERY LITERATE PERSON NEEDS TO KNOW (with Michael Ravitch View Bio)