This is a guest post by Diane Ravitch, in response to "A Pedagogy of Practice" by Kathleen Porter-Magee.
When I say that poor kids should have the same school advantages as rich kids, I am not referring to unstructured classes and open classrooms, to balanced literacy or constructivist math.
I am speaking about classes of 15 students, instead of classes of 25-30. I am speaking about schools that have a program rich in the arts, rather than schools that focus intently on preparing for the next state test of basic skills. I am speaking about schools where children study history and read biographies and trade books, engage in debates, discussions, and projects, not just read banal textbooks. I am speaking about schools that teach science and have working laboratories for experiments and demonstrations. I am speaking about schools that teach great literature and engage vigorously in discussion of controversial topics.
I am speaking about schools that have the resources to keep their facilities up to date and spotless and to provide students with access to current technology.
I am speaking about schools that treasure their teachers, treat them with respect, give them the autonomy to teach as they think best.
I am speaking about schools that view education as a way of thinking and knowing and doing, of schools that seldom if ever administer standardized, multiple-choice tests. I am thinking of schools that have the luxury of teaching children to be thoughtful, independent, responsible,...