Diane Ravitch was a Research Professor of Education at New York University from 1995-2020 and is a historian of education. She is the Founder and President of the Network for Public Education (NPE).
She taught at Teachers College, Columbia University, from 1976-1981.
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 voluntary state and national academic standards.
From 1997 to 2004, she was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal testing program. She was appointed by the Clinton administration’s Secretary of Education Richard Riley in 1997 and reappointed by him in 2001. From 1995 until 2005, she held the Brown Chair in Education Studies at the Brookings Institution and edited Brookings Papers on Education Policy. She was a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution from 2005-2012.
During the 1980s and 1990s and into the early years of the twenty-first century—as a writer, professor, assistant secretary of education under George H.W. Bush, and member of prestigious conservative think tanks, such as the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and the Koret task force at the hoover institution—Diane Ravitch was a leading advocate of conservative ideas for fixing America’s education system, including charter schools, standards, accountability, and high-stakes standardized testing. But about 2006-07, she began to realize that these policies were not working. She began to criticize them and to criticize the federal law called “No child left behind.” with the publication of the Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, she became one of the most outspoken critics of ideas she once championed.
A native of Houston, she 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’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1975.