Photo courtesy pf the National Archives and Records Administration

Diane Ravitch, a scholar and advocate of improving education in America, has been finding herself on the opposite side of big issues from some longtime allies.

Early in 2010, The New York Times reported on the change of mind she's had on such topics as No Child Left Behind, standardized testing, and charter schools. Ravitch had once supported all of those efforts, but she told the Times that her mind was changed when she examined the data about, for example, how charter schools performed versus public schools, or how other countries' education systems performed.

In each case, she began to be concerned that, instead of improving public education, the reform effort in the United States was dismantling public education.

Ravitch served as assistant secretary of education in President George H.W. Bush's administration, and she is currently a research professor of education at New York University. She is the author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education.

Ravitch will make her case about "The Paradox of Education Reform Today" during a February 24 event at The Commonwealth Club of California in Silicon Valley. This is a free program. For details, visit the Club's web site.