March 5 is wrap-up session for communitywide book discussion

This winter, more than 115 people participated in three evening conversations about the future of public education and education reform. The focus of the communitywide discussions was the book Reign of Error, written by Diane Ravitch, an education historian who served as assistant secretary of education under President George H. W. Bush.

A follow-up session to discuss action steps will be held from 7–9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 5, at the Heights High Social Room.

Ravitch, whose own views have changed significantly as she has observed the impact of widespread high-stakes standardized testing on public schools, neighborhoods, cities, teachers and children, argues in her book that the privatization approach that educational reformers advocate threatens the future existence of public schools in the United States.

Discussion participants explored such topics as standardized testing, the achievement gap, the meaning of international test comparisons, high school graduation rates, value-added ratings for teachers, and charter schools. In the last session, participants brainstormed actions they could take, individually and collectively. At the March 5 session, participants will discuss possible next steps for parents, teachers, community members, school administrators and elected officials. It is not necessary to have read the book or to have attended past discussion sessions to attend.

Several Heights-based organizations hosted the discussions, including Reaching Heights, FutureHeights, Heights Community Congress, the CH-UH Public Library, the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union, the CH-UH City School District, the CH-UH PTA Council and Link Educational Consulting.

Free child care is available, by reservation (call 216-321-0020), to those attending the March 5 session. For more information, visit http://chtu.oh.aft.org/news.

Deanna Bremer Fisher

Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 10:33 AM, 02.28.2014