Loud and Wrong

I like many of you, was a fan of Diane Ravitch and her earlier work. It spoke to me. It was bold, courageous, and truthful. I’m sure current admirers of her work feel the same way about her present-day work. With her branding, over 150k Twitter followers, ones who have pledged their allegiance no matter how factually incorrect and dangerous the rhetoric spoken by Ms. Ravitch becomes.  One of the challenges we face as a society is when we don’t take the time to challenge scholars when they spew their facts.  Most emerging scholar-practitioners benefit from the knowledge of counternarratives.  There is always research that debunks research.  No one study is safe. That’s the beauty of scholarship.

Why does School Choice bother You?

Moreover, I have written about Ms. Ravitch before, but not in a severe manner. It was more satirical, as I try and ignore her current stance, especially on charter schools. For the life of me, I can’t understand why less than 8% of schools bothers the heck out of 92% of people that work in traditional public schools. Primarily if we aim to educate students, there’s no way anyone could want schools’ monopoly.

Competition Makes us Better.

Further, if you look at any private and public sector, it’s safe to say competition keeps people honest. Imagine if you could only drive one brand of a car. I have driven many vehicles, which is how I know what I like. It’s the same with schools. Parents should have the keys to cars in terms of determining where their children attend schools. When we try and drive that narrative for parents, it’s the same as telling them you don’t think they are intelligent enough to pick schools for their children.

Joe Nathan gives countless examples that dispel Ms. Ravitch’s narrative.  Even when her narratives are dispelled, she doubles down on the rhetoric rather than taking down things that have been debunked.  It’s unfortunate because those who follow her never take the time to dispute the facts.  They go on the notion, Ravitch said it, so it must be true.  It kind of reminds me of… nevermind.


Unfortunately, this is not just a Ravitch problem. We have folks from historically marginalized communities that think the same way about Black and Brown parents. They don’t believe we are smart enough to select the right fit schools for our kids. For those parents that have challenged the status quo, I salute you. Your courage will undoubtedly be the hope needed to foster courage for other parents to make difficult choices about schools.  Sharif El-Mekki adds, “Black folks have been doing school choice forever,” in a tweet.

I Want All School to be Great for Kids

In conclusion, I want to make this 100% transparent. I’m for no one school system. My daughter is currently in a Public Charter School, and my son is in a traditional public school. If I could have afforded to send my son to private school, I would have done so. Our children are our investments.  I do not believe you should guilt me into staying in a system that 1) Isn’t designed to increase our intellectual capacity, 2) Doesn’t offer our students the best chance of being competitive in the Global Market. Whatever schools you choose for your families, let that be a school that best reflects your child. Please don’t let anyone guilt you, especially Diane Ravitch, into leaving your kids in schools that do not love them.

Published by Raymond J. Ankrum, Sr.

Mr. Ankrum is the current Superintendent of the Riverhead Charter School. Mr. Ankrum has gained notoriety as a school turnaround expert. He is enthusiastic about helping students from low (SES) find ways to end generational poverty through educational advocacy. If you believe PoC can end generational poverty by exercising educational opportunities, you have an ally in @Mr_Ankrum.

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