CRB: Diane Ravitch takes it all back

The new (fall) issue of the Claremont Review of Books is in the mail and, thanks to our friends among its ranks, we are previewing four pieces from it this week. The fall issue is characteristically chock full of excellent reviews and essays by prominent scholars.

Faithful Power Line readers know that the CRB is my favorite magazine. If you love to read and if you lean conservative, it is tailor-made for you. A subscription to the CRB costs less that $20 a year. Subscribe here and get immediate online access to the entire issue thrown in.

Bill Voegeli is one of the CRB’s senior editors and appears often in its pages. He is a man of long experience in the conservative movement, having worked for many years at the Olin Foundation, which did the honorable thing by following the wishes of its founder and going out of business. His Never Enough: American’s Limitless Welfare State may have been last year’s book of the year.

It would be hard to argue that our education system works 62 percent better than it did 30 years ago, Voegeli observes in the current issue, even though that is exactly how much more money we’re putting into it these days. In fact, it doesn’t seem to have improved even one percent.

Enter Diane Ravitch, who was for years a conservative critic of the American education system. As Assistant Secretary of Education under George H.W. Bush, Ravitch was a champion of the school choice and accountability movements, arguing that parents should send their kids where they like, and that the system should hold schools to tough academic standards. But that was then.

Ravitch has since become a critic of the very positions she once argued for. She’s taken it all back, Voegeli argues in “Public Education, Inc.,” but she had it right the first time.

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