Diane Ravitch

  • 2002 Eleanor Roosevelt Fellow

  • View Diane Ravitch's website
  • Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education and historian of education at New York University. She is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. From 1995 to 2005 she held the Brown Chair in Education Policy at Brookings and edits the Brookings Papers on Education Policy. In 1993-94, she was a Visiting Fellow in Governmental Studies at Brookings.

    From 1991 to 1993, she served as Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to the Secretary of Education and was responsible for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement program in the U.S. Department of Education. Before entering government service, Dr. Ravitch was Adjunct Professor of History and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

    Dr. Ravitch 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. In 1989, she became an advisor to Teachers Solidarity and the Ministry of Education in Poland. In 1991, the Polish Government awarded her a medal for her work on behalf of the Solidarity movement.

    She serves on the board of  the Core Knowledge Foundation; Common Core; the Albert Shanker Institute of the American Federation of Teachers; and Common Good. She formerly served on the board of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and was a member of the Koret Task Force at the Hoover Institute. She is an honorary life trustee of the New York Public Library and a former Guggenheim Fellow.

    In 2004, she received the Leadership Award of the New York City Council of Supervisors and Administrators. In 2005, she received the John Dewey award from the United Federation of Teachers of New York City; the Gaudium Award of the Breukelein Institute; and the Uncommon Book Award from the Hoover Institution. In 2006, the Kenneth J. Bialkin/Citigroup Public Service Award was conferred on her.

    Dr. Ravitch recently published The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (2010) and Edspeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon (2007). She has also authored or edited: Forgotten Heroes of American Education: The Great Tradition of Teaching Teachers (2006), The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (2003), Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms (2000), What Do Our 17-Year-Olds Know? with Chester E. Finn, Jr. (1987), The Schools We Deserve (1985), The Troubled Crusade: American Education, 1945-1980 (1983), The Revisionists Revised (1978), and The Great School Wars: New York City, 1805-1973 (1974). In addition, she has edited twelve books, including The American Reader (1991) and The Democracy Reader (with Abigail Thernstrom) (1992). She has written more than 300 articles and reviews for scholarly and popular publications.

    Dr. Ravitch is a member of the New York State Council for the Humanities, a member of PEN International and an honorary life trustee of the New York Public Library. She was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversaw the National Assessment of Education Progress, a federal testing program. 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). Dr. Ravitch was awarded honorary degrees, Doctor of Humane Letters, by the following institutions: Williams College; Reed College; Amherst College; the State University of New York; Ramapo College; Union College; Middlebury College Language Schools; and St. Joseph's College of New York.

    A native of Houston, Dr. Ravitch is a graduate of the Houston public schools. She received a B.A. from Wellesley College in 1960 and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 1975.

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