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[Susan notes: Gary Ravani makes a point well worth repeating--teachers can out-teach billionaires. They can and they do.]

Published in Press Democrat

To the editor

Michael J. Petrilli ("What we learned about school reform," Monday) obviously misunderstands what is going on in education nationally. The real story is what the voters learned about anti-teacher school "reform." Teachers went door-to-door to do what teachers do best -- that is, explain to voters that the anti-teacher agendas were simply efforts funded by billionaires to side-step paying their fair share in taxes and harvest public funds for private coffers.

This paralleled what occurred here in the Proposition 30 and Proposition 32 campaigns. Billionaires can outspend teachers, but teachers can out-teach billionaires.

Petrilli mentions U.S. performance on international assessments where our country scores in the middle of the pack. What he doesn't mention is that U.S. schools with fewer than 10 percent of students living in poverty score the best in the world. Even the schools with up to 25 percent of kids in poverty tie the best in the world.

And those countries, such as Finland and Singapore, that are the high performers? They all have powerful teachers' unions. The same goes for the highest achieving states in this country. It is the lowest-achieving states, in the deep South, where teacher unions are not allowed by law.

Gary Ravani is President, Early Childhood/K-12 Council, California Federation of Teachers

Gary Ravani

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