THE BLOG
09/30/2013 06:57 pm ET Updated Nov 30, 2013

I Know Who I Am and I Love What I Do

A blogger who is a Los Angeles parent asked the question, "Who is Diane Ravitch?" -- and explored the answer.

I know who I am.

I am one of eight children, born in Houston and a graduate of the Houston public schools.

I was lucky enough to be admitted to Wellesley College, where my friends included incredibly talented women.

I married a wonderful man two weeks after college, moved to New York City, and began having children. I had three sons, one of whom died of leukemia at the age of two.

I earned a Ph.D. in the history of American education from Columbia University in 1975. My mentor was the great historian Lawrence A. Cremin.

My first book was a history of the New York public school system, published in 1974. It was also my doctoral dissertation.

I was divorced in 1986. My ex-husband and I are good friends.

From 1991-93, I was Assistant Secretary of Education in the first Bush administration. Then I worked as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution for two years.

I missed New York City and moved back to Brooklyn and became an adjunct at New York University. I published more books.

In 1997, the Clinton administration appointed me to serve on the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees federal testing. Secretary Richard Riley reappointed me in 2001, and I served on that board for seven years, learning a lot about testing.

I was a fellow at three different conservative think tanks in the 1990s and early years of this century. The Manhattan Institute, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and the Koret Task Force at the Hoover Institution.

In 2010, I published a book explaining that the ideas I had thought were good in theory turned out not to work, that they were actually damaging education, and I became a critic of testing, accountability, choice, and competition. My book explained why and how I lost faith in these ideas. It is The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining American Education.

I have lived with my best friend for the past 25 years.

I still live in Brooklyn. I have written ten or eleven books and edited many more.

I have four grandsons.

My latest book -- Reign of Error -- is the #1 book in education and the #1 book on public policy as of this moment on Amazon.

This week I visited Denver, Seattle, Sacramento, and Berkeley. Tonight I speak in Palo Alto, then twice in Los Angeles. I have no staff, no secretary, no assistant. I am not funded by anyone.

I am 75 years old.

I love what I am doing.

I love children, and I admire those who dedicate their lives to educating children and improving the lives of children, families, and communities.

I want all children to have a wonderful education, not just the basics and testing.

I will work for a better education for all as long as I have strength and breath.

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