Diane Ravitch, educational historian and professor of education at New York University, and Geoffrey Canada, founder and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone, debated the pros and cons of charter and public school education on the third day of NBC News' Education Nation. NBC, for the second year, hosted 350 teachers and policymakers at Education Nation, a national summit, to discuss educational issues.
Ravitch, who had just returned from Finland where every public school looks like a private school and student achievement ranks high globally, suggested that the United States follow their lead and abandon teaching to the test. She went on to criticize the success of Canada's Harlem Children's Zone charter school, claiming that it was due to its wealthy board of trustees who help fund the school. Canada countered that teacher unions have blocked education innovation.
David Gregory, the host of Meet the Press, moderated the Ravitch/Canada session and he asked the pair, "How much firing can you tolerate?" If firing is not part of education reform then don't even bother, proclaimed Canada. While Ravitch responded that we should not have lousy teachers but "if we have lousy teachers it is because some lousy administrator hired them."
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