Brooklyn Heights

Diane Ravitch, ‘Reign of Error’ author, to speak at Brooklyn Heights Library benefit

Latest book takes stand against the movement to privatize schools

October 15, 2015 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Diane Ravitch, a staunch advocate for public education, will speak at a fundraiser for the Brooklyn Heights branch of Brooklyn Public Library on Monday night. She will autograph copies of her book "Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools." Photo courtesy of Diane Ravitch
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The Friends of Brooklyn Heights Branch Library’s 22nd annual benefit on Monday will be honoring Diane Ravitch, respected research professor and historian of education, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education and author of “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools.”

The Literary Brooklyn Benefit takes place at 6:15 p.m. at the Brooklyn Heights Library located at 280 Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights.

In her latest book, Ravitch takes a firm stand against the privatization movement and its billionaire backers.

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“Reign of Error” argues against those who claim the nation’s school system is broken beyond repair, and calls for a stop to the privatization (through charter schools) that she says is “draining students and funding” from public schools.

Ravitch, who has received numerous awards and honorary degrees, has also argued against the Common Core curriculum, funded by the Gates Foundation, saying it is “untested and will continue to disadvantage poor students.”

Her bestselling book, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” discusses the problems she sees with high-stakes testing and the use of tests to fire teachers and close schools.

In Brooklyn, that message has reverberated with almost 2,000 elementary and middle school families who chose to “opt out” of the annual assessments last year, according to the city Department of Education. Many of those who opted out attend District 15 schools, in neighborhoods like Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Red Hook and Sunset Park.

Ravitch is an authority on the topic of assessments. From 1997 to 2004, she was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal testing program.

Her no-holds-barred blog ( – where she tackles issues ranging from the Walton family’s billions backing charter schools and McDonald’s “McTeacher’s Nights” — received more than 17 million hits in 30 months.

Ravitch, who has authored 11 books and edited 14, will be speaking at Monday’s fundraiser, and a cocktail reception will follow where books will be available for purchase and autographing.

The evening will raise funds for children’s programming and services at the Brooklyn Heights Library. Admission is $95; students and seniors $55. More information can be found at

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