Archives for category: Ravitch, Diane

Thanks to John Ogozalek, a teacher in upstate New York, who alerted me to this peculiar (but not surprising) phenomenon.

 

John googled my name and the first thing to pop us was an ad for Teach for America.

 

I tried it, and this was the first listing under my name:

 

Dianeravitch – 7 Things You Should Know About Us‎
Adwww.teachforamerica.org/On-The-Record‎
Teach For America On The Record.

 

Don’t they have better things to do with their money?

I will be speaking this evening at 6:30 p.m. to Tennessee Mama Bears, Tennessee BATs, and TREES. If you want to come and talk education, check the press release, which will direct you to the Facebook page of the TREEs, which will divulge where I am speaking.

 

Tomorrow I will speak to the national convention of the Association for Career and Technical Education at 8:30 a.m. at the Gaylord Opryland Resort.

 

Hope I see you at one of these events.

Thank you to Linda Hall of Connecticut for spotting this wall-sized graffiti in Hartford, Connecticut, which apparently is directly across the street from Capitol Prep Magnet School, the school managed by Steve Perry, outspoken critic of public schools, teachers, and unions.

When I spoke at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, I met the artist who created this wonderful graffiti. His name is Kris Schmolze. He is not only an artist but was formerly an art instructor at Perry’s school in Hartford.

I worked for Lamar Alexander when he was Secretary of Education in the first Bush administration. There were so many things I liked about him. He is smart and funny. He plays the piano. He is my kind of conservative: he didn’t think he should shove his ideas down other people’s throats. As Secretary, he knew he had to obey the law and not intrude on the right of states and localities to make decisions. He had a gut sense that other people had good ideas.

I have a copy of Lamar’s Little Plaid Book, where he spells out his principles but I didn’t read it closely. So I didn’t know that Entry # 84 said this: “Read anything Diane Ravitch writes about education.”

Sadly, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander has forgotten #84. He is pushing vouchers in Tennessee, which will decimate the public schools in communities across the state.

This is not a conservative idea. It is a radical idea that will destabilize communities. Conservatives don’t destroy traditional institutions. They protect them.

Vouchers will be used to send children to little backwoods church schools with uncertified teachers. Instead of modern science, they will learn the science taught in the Bible. They won’t be prepared for college or life today. That’s what happened in Louisiana. Kids are getting a worse education.

Lamar! Don’t forget #84. You are too smart to fall for nonsense. Stand up for better education for all.

Your friend,

Diane

In case you missed, here is my interview with Tavis Smiley from September 8. It is about 12 minutes. Tavis asked about the Vergara decision and teacher tenure, about the attacks on teachers and public education, about the goals of the current “reform” movement, Common Core, and my judgment of Race to the Top.

All in 12 minutes!

By the way, if you wonder why I was holding my head in last minutes of show, I should explain that I didn’t have a toothache. My earpiece with the audio feed was falling out, and I was holding it in my ear.

In recent days, there has been an extended discussion online about an article by California whistle blower Kathleen Carroll, in which she blasts Randi Weingarten and the Teachers Union Reform Network for taking money from Gates, Broad, and other corporate reform groups, in some cases, more than a dozen years ago. Carroll also suggests that I am complicit in this “corruption” because I spoke to the 2013 national meeting of TURN and was probably paid with corporate reform money; she notes that Karen Lewis, Deborah Meier, and Linda Darling-Hammond also spoke to the TURN annual meeting in 2012 or 2013. I told Carroll that I was not paid to speak to TURN, also that I have spoken to rightwing think tanks, and that no matter where I speak and whether I am paid, my message is the same as what I write in my books and blogs. In the discussion, I mentioned that I spoke to the National Association of School Psychologists at its annual convention in 2012, one of whose sponsors was Pearson, and I thought it was funny that Pearson might have paid me to blast testing, my point being that I say what I want regardless of who puts up the money. At that point, Jim Horn used the discussion to lacerate me for various sins.

Mercedes Schneider decided to disentangle this mess of charges and countercharges. In the following post, Schneider uses her considerable research skills to dissect the issues, claims and counterclaims. All the links are included in this piece by Schneider. Schneider asked me for my speech to the National Association of School Psychologists as well as my remarks to the TURN meeting, which are included.

I will make two points here. First, Randi has been my friend for 20 years, and I don’t criticize my friends; we disagree on many points, for example, the Common Core, which I oppose and she supports. I don’t hide our disagreements but I won’t call her names or question her motives. Friends can disagree and remain friends.

Second, I recall learning how the left made itself impotent in American politics by fighting among themselves instead of uniting against the common adversary. I recall my first job at the New Leader magazine in 1960, where I learned about the enmity among the Cannonites, the Lovestonites, the Trotskyites, the Mensheviks, the Schactmanites, and other passionate groups in the 1930s. That’s when I became convinced that any successful movement must minimize infighting and strive for unity and common goals.

Even earlier, Benjamin Franklin was supposed to have said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

In the past two days, there has been speculation in the media that I might be a candidate for governor on behalf of the Working Families Party.

I have not sought this designation nor am I running for any political office. There are many well-qualified candidates, and I expect that WFP will choose one of them.

Regular readers of this blog know that I had major surgery on May 9 to replace a knee that I injured when I fell in April. For the balance of this summer, I look forward to walking, not running!

I hope that WFP mounts a vigorous campaign, especially on the issue of education, pointing out that the Cuomo administration has tolerated highly inequitable funding, limited the ability of districts to tax themselves to meet their needs, and shown preference for charter schools–which enroll 3% of the state’s children–over public schools. Our children are our future.

The bloggers at valueaddedmeasureit.com have proposed what they call “the fight of the century” to replace “the fight of the century that wasn’t.”

They refer to the debate that never happened between Michelle Rhee and me.

They refer to efforts by Lehigh University to set up a debate between us on February 6, which did not happen because Rhee kept raising new demands and eventually backed out when she said she could not find a third debate partner.

They offer a few conditions that might make this debate actually happen.

See if you think they suggest a workable format.

Yesterday, the blog recorded 69,817 page views.

This was a record for the blog.

The single most-read blog was the breaking news from Indiana, alerting readers that Governor Pence was trying again to strip the powers of Glenda Ritz. Over 30,000 people read that entry.

Information is power. Stay informed.

John Merrow, who doggedly pursued the cheating scandal in D.C. here takes issue with someone named John Buntin who wrote of a fictional match-up between Michelle Rhee and me.

Merrow chides Buntin for ignorance of the facts that Merrow covered. He sent this letter, but got no reply:

“I have a couple of observations about your Rhee/Ravitch piece that I hope you don’t mind my sharing. The first is a minor quibble about the firing scene. We filmed that as part of my NewsHour coverage–we followed the young Chancellor for her entire three years in DC (12 NewsHour reports). Only later did we include it in our film for Frontline. I allowed Oprah to use the footage, and Davis Guggenheim appropriated it without our permission for “Waiting for ‘Superman,’” although he did eventually pay us for using it.
My second objection is substantial and has to do with Rhee’s record as Chancellor. Not long after she departed, USA Today broke the story of widespread erasures on the DC-CAS, the city’s standardized test, during Rhee’s first and second years. We covered that in our Frontline film.

“However, AFTER the film I obtained a copy of a confidential memo that made it clear just how much she knew of the erasures and how she failed to act. That is summarized here: http://takingnote.learningmatters.tv/?p=6232

“While “Rhee vs. Ravitch” is a compelling headline and a sexy feature, it’s a roadblock to understanding American education. Ravitch is a passionate advocate who argues from facts. In contrast, Rhee’s policies were tried, and they failed. By almost every conceivable measure, the DC schools are no better than before her tenure. In key areas of student attendance, graduation rates, and principal and teacher turnover, they are worse. Central offices in abutting districts have shrunk, but DCPS’ has grown considerably. Even DC’s most recent gains on NAEP, which began 12-15 years BEFORE Rhee’s tenure, seem to have been fueled by an influx of better-educated families (gentrification) and quality pre-school. Here’s a summary: http://takingnote.learningmatters.tv/?p=6490

“I urge you to revisit this story. There is a titanic struggle going on in public education, one that is complex and deserving of coverage. Using Michelle Rhee as symbolic of ‘one side’ is misleading, unfortunately. Wendy Kopp and Teach for America might better represent one side and Ravitch another, although the issue has more than two sides.”

A good response from John Merrow. Read the whole thing as it is quite interesting.

Mr. Buntin, not known to me, should have covered–or pretended to cover–the debate I was supposed to have with Michelle Rhee on February 6 at Lehigh University. She agreed to the debate, agreed to the date but then began making demands about the format. First, she demanded that we needed seconds. She chose Rod Paige, who had been Secretary of Education in the George W. Bush administration. After a long silence and no signed contract, she required that we have two partners. My choices: Pasi Sahlberg of Finland and Helen Gym, parent leader from Philadelphia. Again a long silence. Rhee then cancelled, saying she could not find a second partner. All very puzzling.

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