Diane Silvers Ravitch Lecture Series

The Diane Silvers Ravitch Lecture Series

November 2018, "What Works May Hurt: Side Effects in Education," Yong Zhao, University of Kansas


2017 "Teaching for Life in Today's World: How Teachers Collaborate for Good", Andy Hargreaves, Boston College


2016 "The inconvenient Truth About American Education", Pasi Sahlberg, University of New South Wales, Australia


2015 "How to Ruin or Revive Public Education", Diane Silvers Ravitch, New York University

Wellesley College was proud to welcome Diane Ravitch ‘60 for the inaugural lecture in a new series of talks on current issues in public education. A national advocate for public schools who is ranked at the top of Education Week’s 2015 listing of influential scholars, she discussed how testing and privatization are damaging children, teachers, schools, and communities, and are threatening public education as a common good. Author of the New York Times bestsellers The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education and Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement, and many other books and articles on education history and policy, Ravitch also maintains a popular blog with nearly 23 million page reviews. In this lecture, she put forth her plan for preserving and strengthening public education, and why we need to act now.

In Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, a New York Times bestseller, Ravitch argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement, but of the destruction of public schools. The story begins where her previous book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, left off, providing a deeper argument against privatization and for public education. In a chapter-by-chapter breakdown, Ravitch makes clear what is right and wrong about U.S. education, how policy makers are failing to address the root cause of educational failure, and how we can fix it. 

A native of Texas, Ravitch attended and graduated from the public schools in Houston. She received a BA from Wellesley College and a PhD in history from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor under President George H.W. Bush. Later, from 1997 to 2001, she was appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board by President Bill Clinton. 

Follow her on Twitter at @DianeRavitch or visit her website or blog for more information.