Archives for category: Personal

Joshua Q. Nelson wrote a story for FOX News, saying that I was a hypocrite for sending my sons to private schools (more than 50 years ago) and ignoring the fact that I turned against school choice publicly in 2010. His source was Corey DeAngelis, who works for Betsy DeVos. He has attacked me so often on Twitter that I blocked him.

A little bit of research would have shown that I supported school choice from the late 1980s (when charters first emerged) until 2008 (when I started writing a book about my disavowal of conservative education ideology—charters, vouchers, standardized testing, merit pay, and high-stakes accountability).

My change of mind and heart was well covered, not only in The New York Times, but in The Wall Street Journal and other publications). And the book became a national bestseller.

Christina Pushaw, a close aide to Ron DeSantis, amplified the story in her Twitter account, as did the notorious Chris Rufo.

Since the story came out, I have received numerous death threats. Yesterday, I got another one, a long and garbled message with religious allusions, which ended by saying “Yes, we will be ‘slaying Goliath.’ You are Goliath.”

I think Joshua Q. Nelson should be aware that he was played by DeAngelis and correct his story.

Meanwhile, I am flattered that Ron DeSantis and Betsy DeVos and their minions read my tweets and perhaps my blog. I would like to recommend that they read my last three books, where I demonstrate the importance of public schools and the hoax of school choice, which originated as the battle cry of segregationists after the Brown decision.

In a diverse society like ours, public schools bring children from different backgrounds together. They are essential for our democracy. They are the best choice.

Of course, parents are free to make private choices but they should not expect taxpayers to pay for their choice to send their child to a private school that discriminates against others.

Meanwhile, here is a reading assignment for Corey DeAngelis, Christina Pushaw, Chris Rufo, Ron DeSantis, and Betsy DeVos:

And three books:

The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (2010)

Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (2013)

Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools (2020)

On a personal note: I am 84. I do not fear your threats. I write what I choose. I will not be intimidated.

Over the past few days, I have received a number of hostile tweets, comments on my blog, and Instagram comments, accusing me of hypocrisy because I support public schools but sent my own sons (now ages 60 and 55) to private school. I am touched, even baffled, that anyone is upset by decisions that I made half a century ago.

It was easy to see who inspired these denunciations of me: Christina Pushaw, who is one of Ron DeSantis’ closest aides, and Chris Rufo, the man who led the phony crusade against critical race theory. They seem to think they unearthed a dark secret. That’s absurd. I’m guessing that Governor DeSantis doesn’t like what I write about him in my posts and tweets. I’m flattered.

The question of where my middle-aged sons went to schools is a nothing-burger. For the past decade, my blog bio has said that my two sons went to private school.

Pushaw and Rufo were outraged that I tweeted during “school choice week”:

“The best choice is your local public school. It welcomes everyone. It unifies community. It is the glue of democracy.”

They tweeted their “discovery” that my sons went to private school. The outrage of these two prominent right wingers generated two articles attacking me as a hypocrite.

One appeared on a news site called, titled:

“Who is Diane Ravitch? ‘Hypocrite’ NYU prof who sent her children to private school urges parents to pick public schools”

The article quotes Pushaw’s tweets, as well as tweets from others responding indignantly to my alleged hypocrisy.

The Daily Mail in the U.K. published an unintentionally hilarious article with this title:

“NYU education professor tells parents to send their kids to public school – before being forced to admit she send hers to private schools

It was never a secret that my sons went to private school. I was never “forced to admit” that fact.

Why did I send them to a private school?

After college, I married a New Yorker in 1960 whose family had a long tradition of attending private schools. My husband enrolled in the private Lincoln School in 1936! Like him, our sons went to private schools. When I started my career as a writer, I was conservative. I wrote articles in publications like The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and The Public Interest. I opposed affirmative action, identity politics, and the Equal Rights Amendment. I believed, like Governor DeSantis, that the law should be colorblind.

However, I was never a racist. I was never contemptuous of public schools, because I had graduated from them and was grateful for the education and teachers I had, and the opportunities they opened for me.

In 1975, I earned a Ph.D. In the history of American Education from Columbia University. I was an adjunct professor at Teachers College from 1976 to 1991, when I left to work in the first Bush administration as Assistant Secretary of Education for Research and serve as Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander.

After my stint in the Bush administration, I rejoined the board of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and was invited to be a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute (which now employs Chris Rufo) and at the Hoover Institution. All three are very conservative and support school choice, as did I. I even went to Albany on behalf of the Manhattan Institute and testified on behalf of charter legislation in 1998.

When I came back to New York City, Teachers College asked me not to return because of my conservative views. I was hired as an adjunct at New York University, where I was a faculty member from 1995 to 2020, when I retired.

In 2007, after a long and deep immersion in the conservative education world, I began to change my views. I began to realize, based on frank conversations within the conservative think tanks, that charters were no better and possibly worse than public schools unless they cherrypicked their students; that clever entrepreneurs and grifters were using some of them to make millions; that voucher schools were usually ineffective, had uncertified staff, and did not save poor kids; that standardized tests are not valid measures of learning; that the emphasis on tests was actually ruining education by narrowing the curriculum and encouraging teaching to the tests.

The more I reflected on the poor outcomes of conservative policies, the more I doubted the ideas I had long espoused. In 2008, I began writing a book in which I renounced my conservative views. I rejected high-stakes testing, school choice, merit pay, evaluating teachers by their students’ test scores, and the entire corporatist school “reform” agenda.

The book—The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (Basic Books)—was published in 2010, and it became a national bestseller. My change of mind and change of heart were widely reported in the national media.

Today, I am no longer a conservative. I support equal opportunity and equal justice for all Americans. I am sensitive, as I always have been, to the unjust and inhumane treatment that Black Americans have suffered. I endorse critical race theory, because it is a way of studying and evaluating why racism persists in our society and devising ways to eliminate it. Racism and other forms of hatred are a cancer in our society, and we must end them.

And so, Ms. Pushaw and Mr. Rufo, I hope I have answered your question. I enrolled my youngest child in a private school in 1965 and my second child in 1970 because I was a conservative. A lot happened to me in the years between 1965 and 2023, more than I can put into a tweet. I hope you understand why today I am a passionate advocate for public schools and an equally passionate opponent of public funding for private choices.

From my life experiences and many years as a scholar of education, I have concluded that the public school teaches democracy in a “who sits beside you” way; it teaches students to live and work with others who are different from them. The public school, I realized, is the foundation stone of our diverse society. It deserves public support and funding.

One of the regular readers of the blog alerted me to the fact that there were several comments today (January 5) that contained vulgarity and profanity that are not allowed on this blog.

These disgusting comments were written in response to a post I wrote on June 1 called “I Am Woke, You Should Be Too,” in which I asserted that I care about justice, equality, freedom, and other fundamental ideals of our society. I took issue with those who would censor the views of those who disagree with them. I specifically criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for passing laws to silence those who don’t agree with his censorious views.

I wrote:

One of the hot-button words that has been appropriated by rightwing politicians is “woke.” They are trying to turn it into a shameful word. I looked up the definition of WOKE. It means being aware of injustice and inequality, specifically when referring to racism. I strive to be aware of injustice and inequality and racial discrimination and to do whatever I can to change things for the better. Shouldn’t we all do that?

My acronym for WOKE is “Wide Open to Knowledge and Enlightenment.”

What would you say about someone who is not WOKE? They are “asleep,” “unconscious,” “indifferent.” They are “Mind Closed, Mouth Open.”

Yes, I am WOKE. I want Dr. King’s dream someday to be true. It is not true now.

Apparently, this post was reprinted on a rightwing site. Consequently, I have received quite a few hostile, vicious, profane comments, especially today.

I regret that several such profane comments got past me today. I was busy and did not carefully screen every comment.

I apologize for allowing profanity on this site.

I will try to block them as soon as possible.

Yes, I am woke. I am proud to be woke. I hope someday everyone will care passionately about justice, equality, and freedom. Curse all you want. But not on this blog. I will delete them as soon as I see them. I won’t back down.

Diane Ravitch

I hope all of you have a healthy, happy New Year!

Please resolve to help someone else who needs you.

Please resolve to stand strong against the anti-democratic forces in our society.

Thank you for your friendship and your support!

I had two personal experiences with the late Barbara Walters, although I don’t claim to have known her.

Many, many years ago, my then-husband was active in New York City political and civic life. We had a dinner party for 10 and he invited the financier Alan (Ace) Greenberg of Bear Stearns. Ace brought Barbara W as his date. Trying to make conversation with my famous guest, I asked her if she had interviewed the current President, Jimmy Carter. She said, rather haughtily, “I have interviewed every president!” I felt humbled. Put down.

The second occasion was years later, in 2010. I got a call from Robert Silvers, the editor of The New York Review of Books. He asked me if I would like to review a movie called “‘Wating for ‘Superman.’” He had two tickets for a preview. Of course I did. My partner Mary went with me to a large corporate building in midtown Manhattan. There were about 50 people in the plush setting. The aisles were pitched, carpeted steps.

As we settled in to the dimly lit screening room, we looked around to see if we knew anyone. We didn’t. Then the last person entered, and it was Barbara Walters. Unmistakable. She walked down the stairs, and a few rows past us, she tripped and fell flat on her face. Everyone saw it but for an instant, no one moved. Mary was on the aisle, and she leapt up, ran to BW, and helped her to her feet. She told me “she was light as a feather.”

The incident told me more about Mary than Barbara W. Mary was like that. Quick to jump in and help. Fearless. I remember one time near Lincoln Center when we saw two young men breaking into a car to steal its radio. Mary yelled at them, gave a loud whistle, and chased them for a block. Meanwhile, I yelled at her, “Watch out, they might have a knife!”

Those are my Barbara Walters stories. I have a large supply of stories where I had small and insignificant brushes with celebrities, incidents they would not remember but I did.

The upshot of the screening of “Wating for ‘Superman’” was this review-article. A magazine called “The Hollywood Reporter” cited it as one of the reasons that the film was not nominated for an Oscar (the most important reason was that one scene was staged, and another reason was that it was anti-union).

If you are on Twitter, watch Barbara Walters eviscerate Trump. Don Winslow⁦‪@donwinslow‬⁩Barbara Walters knew Donald Trump was a FRAUD.

That’s one heck of an interview!

[The reason the beginning of this post appeared at noon is that I started writing it late last night, then decided to delete it before finishing. My deletion failed, so I decided to finish it a few minutes ago.]

I want to wish you the merriest of Christmases, the happiest of Chanukahs, and the blessings of Kwanzaa.

Relax. Enjoy friends and family. Don’t get stressed out. Peace.

If only there were peace in the world. And joy.

Let’s drink to that!


PS: I won’t post anything else today. But I have great stuff in store for you tomorrow and in the days ahead.

I have gone through nearly three years of COVID without getting it. One of my sons called me a unicorn.

Unicorn no more! Thursday morning I was feeling washed out, tired, sniffles, etc., took a home test, and it was positive.

I felt sick on Thursday. Rested and drank water. Had a small fever.

The second day, no fever. Feeling better.

Today, I’m still resting but on the mend.

My illness will mess up plans for Christmas, but I don’t want to infect anyone. It is what it is.

I have taken all the recommended shots and boosters. It’s clear by now that I have a very mild case, and for that I thank the vaccines.

I truly don’t understand the people opposed to being vaccinated during a pandemic. Do they also oppose vaccines for smallpox, polio, measles, mumps, chickenpox, etc.?

I’m glad I got all my shots. Everyone should.

I started this blog in April 2012. At the time, I wanted to spread the word about the dangers that were looming via a coordinated, well-funded attack on public schools and the teaching profession. The blog was my medium for awakening the public and educators.

Each time, I reached one million page views, I would announce it. Page views are recorded each time someone opens the site. Some people log in more than once a day.

I just checked and discovered that the blog has been opened 40.1 million times.

Quite a lot of journalists read it regularly. I am guessing that most readers are educators.

I select articles that interest me and try to keep the site lively. On a few occasions, I have featured local stories shared by readers or by my daily reading of many newspapers and magazines, then discovered that those stories got national attention.

A note to readers: I read every comment.

Thank you for your attention, your time, and your participation.

Here is a message to you and all my friends!

Be happy!

Be kind to people of different religions as well as those who have no religious beliefs!

Welcome the stranger!

Open your hearts!

Banish cruelty, hatred, and bigotry!

Save some time to laugh every day, even to laugh at yourself!

Happy New Year!

In 2013, I visited Cuba with my partner and two old friends. It was legal. It is still legal.

We had a spectacular trip arranged by a Cuban-born travel agent. Her name is Myriam Castillo. You can contact her here:

She is thorough, efficient, and thoughtful.

We stayed in a beautiful hotel in Havana. We visited excellent restaurants. We had tour guides wherever we went. We visited museums, artists’ homes, and historical sites.

We flew nonstop from Miami. I understand there are nonstop flights now from other cities.

The most exciting moment of the trip for me was when I got the ticket stub that said “Miami-Havana.” After 63 years of non-contact, it was thrilling.

The food was wonderful. The people were welcoming. The sight of 1950s American automobiles, in perfect condition, with leather seats, all in vibrant colors, was fabulous.

Myriam had an agent waiting for us at Jose Marti Airport. The agent helped us check into the hotel. An SUV drove us to places outside Havana.

If you want the thrill of a lifetime, this is the vacation to plan.