Reign of Error by Diane Ravitch

Education plays a crucial role in society; thus, all its members should struggle for high-quality education. However, citizens of the United States have different views on how to achieve it. Some of them argue that the privatization of public education is essential, while others disagree and state that improvements in public schools are vital. In her book Reign of Error, Diane Ravitch assures that the latter perspective is right and can lead to positive results. In contrast, those who support the former follow some idealistic and unreasonable concepts or want to get some benefits. Without any doubt, it is vital to analyze Ravitch’s evidence against the crisis in education and the privatization effort and evaluate her arguments and suggestions to understand the issue better.

First, Ravitch undermines the claim that American public education is in crisis and presents powerful arguments. For example, the author uses numerous studies conducted throughout recent years that prove that public education in the United States is improving. She states that it is irrational to keep crying while progressing, as the advancements are slow but steady (Ravitch, 2013). Ravitch adds that it demonstrates that the education system is moving in the right direction; thus, there is no reason to panic. Research shows that public school test scores and graduation rates are increasing. At the same time, the achievement gap and dropout rates are declining. Therefore, according to the author, it is wrong to claim that public schools are in crisis, but it is critical to continue to advance them.

Second, Ravitch is convinced that most reforms introduced during the presidency of George W. Bush and Barack Obama aimed at privatizing schooling. For example, she mentions that the idea that test scores may be used to determine teachers’ effort and effectiveness is absurd. The reason for it is that in public schools, teachers deal with students with disabilities, problematic individuals, and those growing in poverty, who usually show lower academic performance. On the other hand, in private schools, teachers work with children with more opportunities and resources, who get higher scores. Hence, punishing educators for students’ standardized test performance is ineffective and encourages corporate reformers to earn more money.

Third, Ravitch’s arguments are powerful, and her suggestions for improving public education are worth full consideration. She uses much data from reputable sources to support her claims; thus, her ideas appear trustworthy. What is more, the author offers several solutions to improve public schools in the United States. For example, Ravitch (2013) states that every school should have a balanced curriculum, class sizes should be reduced, and high-stakes standardized testing should be eliminated. The author concludes that it is also essential to pay more attention to poverty and segregation, as these issues negatively affect students’ academic performance.

In conclusion, Ravitch offers numerous insights on public education’s challenges and prospects in her book Reign of Error. She argues that public schools are not in crisis but gradually progressing, and privatizing them serves only the financial interests of corporate reformers. The author believes that it is necessary to take action and explain how public schools can be improved. Without any doubt, the book helps to understand the issue better, as the author employs much research data and reveals that the supporters of the privatization of public education either follow some idealistic concepts or want to profit.


Ravitch, D. (2013). Reign of error: The hoax of the privatization movement and the danger to America’s public schools. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

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ChalkyPapers. "Reign of Error by Diane Ravitch." February 11, 2022.