Teaching Resources

Diane Ravitch, the education historian who  served in the first Bush administration’s Education Department, is now changing her positions on relation to the  educational reform philosophy of  school reform in US, while criticizing the  privatization in the public system and assessment measure trends that relegate the teaching of social contents in the curriculum.

From New York Times, March 2,  2010 by Sam Dillon:

Once outspoken about the power of standardized testing, charter schools and free markets to improve schools, Dr. Ravitch is now caustically critical. She underwent an intellectual crisis, she says, discovering that these strategies, which she now calls faddish trends, were undermining public education. She resigned last year from the boards of two conservative research groups.

It makes sense, after all  there is mounting evidence that seems to point out that those strategies of reform undermine public education.

“School reform today is like a freight train, and I’m out on the tracks saying, ‘You’re going the wrong way!’ ” Dr. Ravitch said in an interview.

Dr. Ravitch is one of the most influential education scholars of recent decades, and her turnaround has become the buzz of school policy circles.

“What’s Diane up to? That’s what people are asking.” said Grover J. Whitehurst, who was the director of the Department of Education’s research arm in the second Bush administration and is now Dr. Ravitch’s colleague at the Brookings Institution.

Among the topics on which Dr. Ravitch has reversed her views is the main federal law on public schools, No Child Left Behind, which is up for a rewrite in coming weeks in Congress. She once supported it, but now says its requirements for testing in math and reading have squeezed vital subjects like history and art out of classrooms.

It is also very interesting to observe on  the type of international exemplars that she uses to justify her change of positions.

“Nations like Finland and Japan seek out the best college graduates for teaching positions, prepare them well, pay them well and treat them with respect,” she said. “They make sure that all their students study the arts, history, literature, geography, civics, foreign languages, the sciences and other subjects. They do this because this is the way to ensure good education. We’re on the wrong track.”

read full article here


This is a potentially useful research resource, the CIA library. I recommend searches at  Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room , especially those related to education initiatives during the cold war.   The careful reading of declassified documents provide a source of some useful data related to the CIA involvement in human rights abuses during the period, and on some illustrative examples of foreign policy initiatives involving education.

From CIA library:

The CIA releases millions of pages of documents each year and frequently releases items of public interest on this Web site.

The Library contains a wealth of information, from unclassified current publications to basic references, reports and maps. The Library features our most popular publication, The World Factbook, and our online directory of Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments. It also features numerous documents and articles of historical significance, including those found in Studies in Intelligence.

  • Center for the Study of Intelligence
  • Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room
  • Kent Center Occasional Papers
  • Intelligence Literature: Suggested Reading List
  • Reports
  • Related Links

  • Since 1981, the Unit has been at the forefront of scholarly discussion and debate about topics such as poststructuralism, cultural studies, Marxism, feminism, postcolonial theory, and the politics of disciplinarity and knowledge production. Drawing upon the expertise and resources of twenty-six humanities, social sciences, and performing arts departments, the Unit for Criticism promotes a broad range of teaching, research, and related scholarly activities. Through a variety of programs—including regular criticism seminars, colloquia and roundtables; visits to campus by distinguished scholars from other universities; agenda-setting conferences; designated courses; writing groups; and our weblog Kritik—the Unit provides students and faculty with interdisciplinary vantage points for their teaching and research. Books derived from Unit conferences, such as Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture and Cultural Studies, have become landmarks of critical discourse in the academy. (Unit for Criticism Website)


    Unit for Criticism blog, Kritik: http://unitcrit.blogspot.com/

    Brief list of World Wide Web scholarly  websites with resources and news  on International Organizations:

    Amnesty International (Human rights promotion INGO)  http://www.amnesty.org/

    Arab League (Official) http://www.arableagueonline.org/arableague/index_en.jsp

    Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC—Official) http://www.apecsec.org.sg

    Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN—Official) http://www.asean.or.id

    Atlantic Online (Contemporary affairs publication) http://www.theatlantic.com/foreign/

    Commonwealth (Official) http://www.thecommonwealth.org/

    EU Observer (News about the EU) http://www.euobserver.com/

    Euroguide (Guide to the European Union, United Kingdom) http://www.euroguide.org/

    European Governments Online (from the EU) http://europa.eu.int/abc/governments/index_en.html

    European Union Online (Official) http://europa.eu.int/index_en.htm

    Francophonie (Organization of French-speaking countries—Official) http://www.francophonie.org/oif.cfm

    Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA—Official) http://www.ftaa-alca.org/Alca_e.asp

    Freedom House (NGO) http://www.freedomhouse.org/

    G-8 Information Center from the University of Toronto (Unofficial) http://www.g7.utoronto.ca/

    G-77 (Group of 77 developing countries—Official) http://www.g77.org/

    Global Policy Forum (NGO working on UN affairs) http://www.globalpolicy.org/

    Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC, Persian Gulf states—Official) http://www.gcc-sg.org/index_e.html

    International Labor Organization (ILO—Official) http://www.ilo.org/

    Missions to the UN (with links to missions’ websites) http://www.un.int/index-en/webs.html

    Non-Aligned Movement (Official) http://www.nam.gov.za/

    New York Times http://www.nytimes.com (site requires registration, but it’s free)

    North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO—Official) http://www.nato.int

    Organization of American States (OAS—Official) http://www.oas.org/

    Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC—Official) http://www.oic-oci.org

    Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC—Official) http://www.opec.org/homepage/frame.htm

    South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC—Official) http://www.saarc-sec.org/

    South Center (IO of developing countries) http://www.southcentre.org/

    Transparency International (INGO working against corruption) http://www.transparency.org/

    United Nations (Official) http://www.un.org/english/

    United Nations Documentation Center  http://www.un.org/documents/

    United Nations News (Official)  http://www.un.org/News/

    United Nations News (Yahoo!)  http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/World/United_Nations/

    US Mission to the United Nations http://www.un.int/usa/

    US Department of State, International Organization Affairs (Official) http://www.state.gov/p/io/

    World Bank (Official) http://www.worldbank.org/

    World Trade Organization (WTO—Official) http://www.wto.org

    World Wide Web Virtual Library (WWWVL) International Affairs Resources http://www.etown.edu/vl/

    The Virtual Library of Bibliographic Heritage is an ongoing project of cooperative digitisation by the Spanish Ministry of Culture, county libraries and other memory institutions. It includes more than 250.000 pages from about 1000 titles from manuscripts, old prints and rare books.

    Link here

    Reporting poverty is a new website created under the auspices of the  Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF),  assisted by the Society of Editors . The website provides a number of useful resources to understand issues related to poverty, and examples on the ways that poverty has been previously covered in the mass media. Posts at the Roy Greenslade’s blog and the AJE (Association for Journalism Education) provide brief descriptions on the website resources.  I highly recommend to check the Practical guidance resources for reporting on poverty at this website.

    From Reporting poverty Website:

    “The British are remarkably effective in disguising their poverty. Here are a couple of examples given to me by journalists from stories they covered:

    – mother who lived on virtually nothing but bread so her children could eat well and have a few little luxuries.
    – A children’s bedroom with the latest electronic games, so the kids didn’t feel ashamed at school, but with a mattress on the floor being the only piece of furniture”.

    (David Seymour in his introduction to Reporting poverty in the UK).

    This website brings together a range of resources to help journalism tutors, trainers and students to understand the issues and sensitivities involved in reporting poverty in the UK. It offers practical guidance and examples of how journalists have covered this complex subject in a variety of media.

    Link: Reporting poverty Website

    From UNESCO in the Spotlight: Science and Communications:

    This book was published by UNESCO’s India Office with comprehensive guidelines on how to create a website. 2005. (PDF, 244 pages)

    This is a power point presentation with guidance on how to post on a website or blog. It is provided by UNESCO’s Bangkok office. (PPT, 4.7MB)

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