Best Education Advocate, People's Choice Awards

Who is the best education advocate? We asked our readers to answer this question in our Education Resource People's Choice Awards, and they answered. What makes the winner, Diane Ravitch, the best? We'll tell you!

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By Sarah Wright

Diane Ravitch education advocate

Diane Ravitch Voted Best Education Advocate

Our readers have selected Diane Ravitch as the winner in the Best Education Advocate category for the 2011 OCW Awards! After earning a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 1975, Ravitch has been active in education advocacy, including serving in governmental advisory positions. Her government work has spanned the globe, including a stint advising Teachers Solidarity and the Ministry of Education in Poland in 1989. In the U.S., she served as the Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, from 1991-1993.

Though she first served as an advocate for standardized testing as a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, she published The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education in 2010. As the title indicates, the book names standardized testing as a waste of valuable time and resources. Now, as a vocal critic of No Child Left Behind, Ravitch is one of the most prominent education advocates on the political landscape today. To stay more up-to-date with the issues and news that she finds most important, you can read her blogs at Education Week, Politico or Huffington Post.

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Our Outstanding Runners-Up

Michelle Rhee

A former Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public school system, Michelle Rhee knows firsthand what it takes to make education work. She helped turn around the nation's lowest-performing school district, with enrollment rates and test scores rising under her leadership. Currently, she serves as the CEO of StudentsFirst, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the education system in the U.S. the best in the world. Guided by beliefs like 'attending a great school should be a matter of fact, not luck,' Rhee and StudentsFirst are making great strides to improve public education in the U.S.

Nicole Allen

Textbook costs are a huge burden on college students, a fact that only serves to add to the perception that college education is only available to a privileged few. Working with the Make Textbooks Affordable initiative, Nicole Allen helps to promote the cause of textbook accessibility. The Make Textbooks Affordable initiative is an effort of the Student Public Interest Groups (PIRGs), and serves to raise awareness about the problem, not only in order to make sure the issue is addressed, but to ensure that students have the power to access resources that can help bring education costs down.

The Education Resource People's Choice Awards helped spread the word about the great educational resources available for students. These resources help students achieve their academic goals and wants to continue to highlight great initiatives. If you want to continue to support the Open Education Movement, find out more about the OpenCourseWare Consortium's Open Education Week. will donate $1 to Open Education Week for every 'like' our Facebook page gets now through November 30th. 'Like' our page now and find more great ways to support the Open Education Movement at!

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