Gates vs. seniority, Ravitch

Improving education is the most important thing we can do for our country’s economy, Bill Gates told Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter after a speech to the Council of Chief State School Officers.

How can we raise student achievement in a time of austerity? Stop paying teachers more for seniority alone, Gates says.

Like master’s degrees for teachers and smaller class sizes, seniority pay, Gates says, has “little correlation to student achievement.”

. . . Gates favors a system where pay and promotion are determined not just by improvement in student test scores (an idea savaged by teachers’ unions) but by peer surveys, student feedback (surprisingly predictive of success in the classroom), video reviews and evaluation by superiors. In this approach, seniority could be a factor, but not the only factor.

Gates’ biggest adversary now is Diane Ravitch, who distrusts rich businessmen trying to shape education policy, writes Alter.

When I asked Gates about Ravitch, you could see the Micro-hard hombre who once steamrolled software competitors: “Does she like the status quo? Is she sticking up for decline? Does she really like 400-page [union] contracts? Does she think all those ‘dropout factories’ are lovely? If there’s some other magic way to reduce the dropout rate, we’re all ears.”

Ravitch critiques Gates on Bridging Differences.

On Dropout Nation, Rishawn Biddle asks: When will Diane Ravitch get her brain back?

Jay P. Greene piles on too, accusing Ravitch of selective and misleading use of evidence and intellectual dishonesty.  He links to Rebutting Ravitch by Whitney Tilson.

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Comments

  1. CarolineSF says:

    It was exceptionally nasty even for Jonathan Alter to apply the adjective “jaundiced” to Diane Ravitch in his own words. ( “Affected with jaundice; yellow or yellowish; affected by or exhibiting envy, prejudice, or hostility.”) How baffling, too, that he likened her to Whittaker Chambers (who renounced Communism to embrace American patriotism).

    Alter is one of a cadre of Big Names in media who, without any background in education or education coverage, firmly made up their minds about their perspective on education policy, and have launched into a series of fervent declarations of what’s right — while pointedly avoiding interviewing or quoting anyone actually involved in schools and classrooms. Oprah Winfrey and Tom Friedman at the N.Y. Times are part of the club too. It’s strange and sad.

    I have certainly never been a proponent of canceling subscriptions because I’m offended — at the Mercury we used to joke in response to kvetchy readers, “One more complaint like that outta you and we’re canceling your subscription.” But after both subscribing to Newsweek our entire adult lives, my husband and I have canceled forever, directly because of Alter’s teacher-bashing and attacks on public education. It’s not so much because we disagree with him as that his writing demonstrates how badly Newsweek’s standards have dropped, and how little research, thoughtfulness or effort to understand all sides of issues the magazine expects of its staff — which calls into question the credibility of everything Newsweek publishes.

    Of course all the Newsweek and Washington Post gushing about education reform is ethically tainted anyway by the fact that their company’s cash cow, Kaplan, is now running virtual charter schools (I’m on their e-mail list and they’re positively stalking my 11th-grader).

    Read Newsweek free (the unkindest cut):

    http://www.newsweek.com/2010/11/28/alter-education-is-top-priority-for-gates.html

    Ravitch answers Gates’ questions (asked of her indirectly):

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/diane-ravitch/ravitch-answers-gates.html

    More Ravitch on Gates:

    http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2010/11/bill_gates_listens_to_the_wron_1.html

  2. In Ravitch’s piece, she states, “These are the people on whom our public schools depend. They care deeply about their children, their communities, and their public schools. They don’t get to speak to the Council of Chief State School Officers. They don’t control billions of dollars. ”

    The people she spoke of were teachers and school board members in Virginia. The trouble is, in the aggregate, they DO control billions of dollars. In 2008, public elementary and secondary education in Virginia spent billions of dollars. http://www2.census.gov/govs/school/elsec08_sttables.xls

    School board members may not draw a salary, but they control billions of dollars, as a group. Despite the emotional picture of the big, bad billionaire and the selfless school employees, annual public spending on education dwarfs even Bill Gates’ philanthropy.

  3. CarolineSF says:

    Well, one would hope so — it would be an even stranger imbalance if Gates were donating MORE to his own vision (whims, fancies, fads) of education reform than the public provides to fund schools.

    I don’t see how you can say that teachers control billions of dollars; they don’t control the money, period.

    For that matter, school boards are quite limited in their discretion over most of the funding they “control,” since the uses are pretty set in stone. The wiggle room is minimal. So Cranberry, it’s misinformed or misleading for you to portray things as though school board members have vast amounts of funds to move around at their discretion, and of course totally untrue about teachers.

    It’s the undue influence that Gates’ money gives him, combined with his severe, crippling lack of understanding of children and teens, schools, classrooms, education, teachers and pretty much everything else involved except for data, that make him “big” and “bad.” I still believe that his intentions are probably good deep down, but his fatal flaws are his outsized arrogance; his severe inability to comprehend nuance and complexity; his starry-eyed belief that there’s an oh-so-simple magical solution; his eagerness to experiment by inflicting his whims on the nation’s children; and his contempt for the people who actually spend time in classrooms.

  4. School boards set budgets. They have the power to issue bonds. They negotiate contracts. Far from being “set in stone,” they are responsible for billions of dollars. Those various financial contracts may have been arranged by previous board members, but it does come back to the school boards.

    Far as I know, most teachers are union members. Union members and school boards negotiate contracts. Payrolls are enormous parts of school budgets. Billions, again.

  5. Ravitch’s reply is hilarious, albeit unintentionally. She claims it’s a war of money vs. ideas. Well, here’s how her spat with Gates goes:

    Gates: “Tenure protects too many bad teachers from ever being fired as long as they don’t molest kids in the classroom.”

    Ravitch: “But Gates is rich, and I like singing the Star Spangled Banner!”

    Money vs. ideas indeed.

  6. The only reason anyone listens to Bill Gates on education issues is because he buys access with his money.

    EVERY program he spouts has been proven to be a failure.

    Just another “reform” expert, who actually knows little or nothing

  7. CarolineSF says:

    So Cranberry, how much is your employer’s payroll, and does that mean you “control” that amount of money? Based on your description, yes it does.

  8. School boards aren’t just employers of teachers. They’re political bodies that spend hundreds of billions of dollars every single year. And teachers are overwhelmingly the most powerful special interest group that affects school board elections. So yes, collectively, they do have influence over hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

  9. I get to control some money, a grand total of $200 a year classroom budget.

  10. Gates, like many ed deformers, is afflicted with hubris. He thinks he sees the solution, but he is fatally blind. Those of us who actually know something about education see his blind spots.

    Feckless teachers are a problem, but a small one in the grand scheme of things. Bigger problems include:

    1. Poor student behavior (one solution: make it easier to give stern consequences)
    2. Chaotic family life (partial solution: strengthen the social safety net).
    3. Curriculum narrowing (solution: scrap NCLB; perhaps replace with broader array of tests).
    4. False doctrine being peddled by ed schools (solution: Gates could fund a new ed school that offered an alternative to the PC cooperative education-lovin’ dogma that every ed school preaches these days. Wouldn’t it be healthy to have at least one US ed school that said nice things about lecturing and E.D. Hirsch?)
    5. Dumb, anti-intellectual administrators (solution: require that prospective administrators major in the liberal arts and pass rigorous general knowledge/intelligence tests?)
    6. Lack of teacher prep time –excellent lessons demand tons of prep time (solution: release students early, or hire homework club proctors, to give teachers time to craft quality lessons).

  11. If I were the CFO, I would control it. If I were the comptroller, I would control the money.

    Simply that people don’t understand the responsibilities of a school board, doesn’t mean that they aren’t responsible for the budget. Yes, they control the money. They decide the structure of any bonds they issue. They set the budget. When the district’s income is not enough to meet the budget they set, they decide how much to cut, even if the superintendent and his staff decide which postitions and programs must be cut.

    They control the money. It’s their responsibility. Google “school boards and bond issues.”

    It would be a good thing to train school board members in the intricacies of bond issues and credit swaps. There’s no guarantee that voters elect fiscally competent board members, when there are burning issues like evolution to decide.

  12. Tenure is due process. Gates is opposed to it because he doesn’t understand it or have to worry about it.

    And school boards only issue bonds if the voters approve the referenda proposing those bonds.

  13. Man, Bill Gates, Jon Alter, Jay Greene, Whitney Tilson, Rishawn Biddle . . . am I missing anyone else who participated in Attack Diane Ravitch Week?

  14. palisadesk says:

    5. Dumb, anti-intellectual administrators (solution: require that prospective administrators major in the liberal arts and pass rigorous general knowledge/intelligence tests?)

    I like that one. It would immediately cut the pool of prospective administrators by about 75%. Data from Educational Testing Service strongly suggests that as a group, educational administrators are significantly stupider than the teachers who work for them.

  15. Cranberry says:

    To members of the Denver Board of Education, it sounded ideal. It was complex, involving several different financial institutions and transactions. But Michael F. Bennet, now a United States senator from Colorado who was superintendent of the school system at the time, and Thomas Boasberg, then the system’s chief operating officer, persuaded the seven-person board of the deal’s advantages, according to interviews with its members.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/06/business/06denver.html

    A board’s approval of such deals is not pro-forma. They have the right (and duty) to object. They have fiduciary responsibility, even if they choose not to exercise it.

    Mike, for voters, it’s up or down, approve or disapprove a deal the school board has approved. That doesn’t remove the responsibility from the board.

    Ravitch’s argument, again, would have led one to think that the superintendents and board members do not control billions of dollars. That’s nonsense. They do. They may not control it well, but they are responsible for enormous budgets.

    It’s a pity that voters do not elect school board members who have any financial training or experience at all. They are more likely to elect retired teachers and education professors, probably under the influence of the same sort of teary-eyed romantic idealism which seems to motivate Ravitch’s recent work.

    That weakness in the system allowed banking salespeople to talk very large school systems into really bad deals, such as the credit swaps which backfired in Denver. They are responsible for very large budgets. That some school boards handle their money very badly indeed does not mean that they don’t control it.

  16. CarolineSF says:

    Your effort to link ill-judged financial decisions to Diane Ravitch falls apart in this case, Cranberry. Michael Bennet (prior to running for Senate) was a non-educator brought in to lead the Denver schools (something Ravitch decries) and who is a fervent proponent of charter schools and the rest of the faddish “education reform” package, which obviously Ravitch also decries.

    As noted, I acknowledge that school boards are responsible for large budgets — with little flexibility. That simply doesn’t compare to people like Bill Gates with billions of dollars as their plaything, to use in any way they see fit — whatever dilettantish dabbling they choose.

    One of Ravitch’s primary points is that she changed her view about the free market/choice/competition/test-and-punish fads after hard data proved that those fads do not have a positive effect on student achievement. She says repeatedly that the proponents of those fads, and other fads such as basing teacher pay on test scores, disdain any notion that they should ensure that reforms are backed up by solid data rather than magical thinking. So in other words, Ravitch is calling for research-based solutions. She is the one calling for pragmatism, research and data. The “reformers” spurn those principles in favor of blind fath.

    So to link foolish, magical-thinking investments with the sharp-eyed and pragmatic Ravitch is seriously unclear on the concept.

  17. “One of Ravitch’s primary points is that she changed her view about the free market/choice/competition/test-and-punish fads after hard data proved that those fads do not have a positive effect on student achievement”

    No, Ravitch changed her mind after Joel Klein didn’t give a job to Ravitch’s life partner. As soon as that happened, Klein/Bloomberg became enemy number one, and Ravitch suddenly started opposing anything they stood for.

  18. cranberry says:

    Your effort to link ill-judged financial decisions to Diane Ravitch falls apart in this case, Cranberry.

    Hunh? Superintendents and others involved in finance decisions recommend actions to the school boards, but the school boards have the power to say “No.” It would have been much better for Denver if their elected school board had not chosen to approve the credit swap. Boards have much more flexibility than they choose to exercise. In many cases, the voters elect people who should not be handling millions of dollars.

    I rather think the education world’s fondness for fads predates Mr. Gates. He also has a staff, so I don’t think he’s an eccentric gadfly. He may be in a position to influence school policy for much longer than the average school board member or superintendent.

  19. Roger Sweeny says:

    CarolineSF,

    You are absolutely right that “market/choice/competition/test-and-punish” has not had a consistent “positive effect on student achievement.”

    However, they have had positive effects in various situations in various places. Are those successes “replicable” and “scalable”? No one knows. Ravitch seems to be saying that we should stop trying to find out.

    More basically, there are absolutely no other changes that have had a consistent positive effect on student achievement.

    If Ravitch would admit this, I would have respect for her. But instead, she seems to be saying, “Stop trying these new fads. We need to return to the old time religion.” Alas, OTR doesn’t have a good track record either.

  20. CarolineSF says:

    What Ravitch says is that the data from the widespread and longstanding EXISTING experiment with market/choice/competition/test-and-punish “reform” shows that this package of fads is not succeeding. And that those who are promoting them as the solution are choosing to ignore the actual results. She’s not saying we should “stop trying to find out,” but that we should stop ignoring the actual results.

    She absolutely does not say that we shouldn’t be trying anything new; that’s a complete distortion of her views.

    JD, how is it down there in the gutter?

  21. CarolineSF says:

    Cranberry, this is what you yourself posted:

    “Michael F. Bennet, now a United States senator from Colorado who was superintendent of the school system at the time, and Thomas Boasberg, then the system’s chief operating officer, persuaded the seven-person board of the deal’s advantages…”

    True, the board could have and should have said no, but you can’t let the primary guilty party off the hook for aggressively selling them on the scam.

    This is, unfortunately, probably true about Bill Gates — be afraid; be very afraid: “He may be in a position to influence school policy for much longer than the average school board member or superintendent.”

    Sure, he has a staff. I wonder how many of them are likely to do anything to challenge or correct his flights of fancy.

  22. Cranberry says:

    CarolineSF, the point is, they are “primary guilty parties.” NO exemption. In point of fact, the superintendent and COO were their employees. The buck stops at the top of the chain, not below. Responsibility rests with them.

    Why would you think he has flights of fancy? The Ravitch piece also bothers me when she goes into serial unfounded suppositions:

    Since Gates is a multibillionaire, he can’t possibly understand what it means to work in an environment where you might be fired for disagreeing with your boss. Nor can he possibly understand that schools are collaborative cultures that need senior teachers who are ready and willing to help newcomers. He can’t imagine that school is different from Microsoft or other big corporations.

    The only thing this section illustrates is Ravitch’s lack of knowledge of the business world.

  23. CarolineSF says:

    Why? Because Gates has a history of seizing on a project that he apparently views as a fix-all and pouring vast sums into it, then dropping it when it doesn’t achieve sufficient results — when anyone actually experienced with education could have told him that straight out. It seems relatively likelyI’m admittedly speculating) that SOMEone in his organization was informed and experienced enough to realize that his faith was naive, but didn’t have the courage to point that out — or, to be fair, perhaps that person was not listened to.

    The particular project I’m referring to was small schools, of course.

    Ravitch’s observations may have been suppositions, but the situation I’m describing is not — that’s what happened.

  24. It’s not the gutter, it’s the truth. Her posturing as someone who used to be in favor of choice and testing but then became convinced by the evidence is bogus. It fools a lot of her readers, but not insiders who know what really happened.

  25. “n anyone actually experienced with education could have told him that straight out. ”

    Anyone actually experienced with education would have known that small schools wouldn’t make a difference? What stupid hogwash. Lots of people liked small schools, and there certainly was never any obvious reason that small schools were a bad idea.

  26. CarolineSF says:

    So is this the line about Ravitch from the education reformers now? Wow, that’s a mean one. I guess it’s no surprise that they’d get that vicious.

    Re small schools, I disagree that my view is stupid hogwash. I agree that lots of people DO like small schools (including me — my kids’ high school is small), and that there was never any obvious reason that small schools were an overall, out-and-out bad idea.

    However, the notion that they were a magical cure-all is what could reasonably be termed “stupid hogwash,” and that’s the premise on which Bill Gates proceeded.

    In addition, breaking large school communities up into small schools did damage in ways that anyone who had ever set foot inside a school could foresee. A large school can offer a number of foreign languages, electives, arts, AP classes and so forth. A small school can offer only a smaller number. Students in large schools that broke into small schools suddenly found that they had far fewer options in all those areas, and the model that Gates was funding did not allow them to access other options in the different small schools on the same site.

    So it’s not inherently that small schools were a BAD idea, but there WAS an inherent reason that they could be problematic — and that anyone with knowledge about and/or experience in real-life schools would know they were not a miracle solution. Gates, having neither knowledge nor experience, was clueless, and if his staff knew better, they chose not to challenge the richest guy in the world, since they presumably served at his pleasure.

  27. Are you suggesting that there’s something wrong with having a life partner?

    I mean, it was in the New York Times, for crying out loud, although people who didn’t know to read between the lines probably weren’t clued in. Here’s what the Times said:

    “Some said she was nursing a grudge because close friends had lost jobs in the mayor’s shake-up of the schools’ bureaucracy.”

    “Close friends” here is a euphemism, although it’s not clear why it was necessary, given that the Times publishes wedding announcements for gay couples.

  28. CarolineSF says:

    Ooh, you guys play dirty. Those advocates of this particular school reform fad who are respectable, albeit wrongheaded, have to own this sleaze.

  29. Don’t be homophobic — there’s nothing sleazy about Ravitch having a life partner and being upset at Klein on her behalf.

  30. CarolineSF says:

    You “education reformers” are a piece of work! I need to go take a shower now.

  31. Come on, Ravitch has already outed herself — in the acknowledgments to her book, she thanks her “partner Mary.”

    If it’s fair for you to point out that certain commentators may have funding from Broad, Gates, Walton (which is accusing them of selling out for money), then it’s totally fair for people to point out that Ravitch’s real motivations may also be different from what she likes to pretend.

    Whitney Tilson: “I’ve heard from multiple people a slightly different version of the story: that she wanted Klein to hire her long-time partner, and when Klein didn’t Ravitch began a nonstop personal vendetta against him, regardless of how inaccurate or misleading her attacks are.”

  32. CarolineSF says:

    I am not referring to Ravitch’s sexual orientation but to Tilson’s accusation, which has nothing to do with the gender of the longtime partner. That’s despicable.

    The indisputable facts about where some entity’s funding is coming from are on an entirely different level than this toxic ooze.

  33. Alleging that various scholars are merely selling their positions and opinions for money is every bit as toxic as pointing out that someone has a personal grudge.

  34. CarolineSF says:

    No, you’re wrong. It’s a standard topic of public discussion whether an individual has a financial interest in areas of advocacy — normal, accepted, routine. In 10 minutes online I could find you many such discussions, completely aboveboard.

    By contrast, spreading around a whispering story that an individual’s entire field of advocacy is based on a personal grudge — and a story that slyly manages to emphasize that individual’s sexual orientation whenever it’s repeated — is slimy. It’s also too stupid to have any impact, by the way, except that it does reveal what sleaze permeates the education-reform operators.

  35. It’s inconceivable that Ravitch would abandon her intellectual integrity –demonstrated by a long career of painstaking, truth-seeking scholarship –out of spite. The woman has integrity.

    Her skepticism of trendy reformers predates Klein. Read Left Back.

  36. It’s not inconceivable at all. We’re all human. People aren’t robots who objectively process data and spit out a result with complete indifference. Everyone is affected by their personal lives, like it or not.

    Ravitch is no exception. This story that she was gung-ho in favor of choice and testing until the evidence turned against it is ludicrous. The evidence in favor of choice and testing, even if imperfect, is still far STRONGER now than in the 1990s, when Ravitch held the opposite views to what she says now. Whatever caused her to change her mind, it wasn’t the evidence. No one familiar with the evidence thinks so.

  37. JD,

    Have you actually read Diane’s recent book? Or any of her work?

  38. Tilson and his anoymous gossip buddies are playing a bunch of see-through rhetorical tricks:

    1. What “insiders” say must be the truth.
    2. The views and reports of a few anonymous “insiders” constitute the whole of the “insider” view.
    3. There was a personal incident, which occurred just as the “insiders” describe it. (The insiders say so.)
    4. Everything in Ravitch’s outlook can therefore be REDUCED to personal resentment.

    Whether Tilson, JD, and crew don’t see their poor logic, or whether they expect others to fall for it, this doesn’t speak well for them.

  39. Yes, I have read her book. She makes some good points about testing, but her feeble analysis of school choice makes it pretty clear that her supposed reason for changing her mind can’t be true.

  40. CarolineSF says:

    If Ravitch’s analysis of school choice is “feeble,” why are the education-reform types reacting by spreading sleazy lies to discredit it? Why take the trouble?

  41. It’s not a lie, it’s the truth. And it’s not as if Ravitch’s anti-choice posture hasn’t been widely discredited on the merits.

  42. CarolineSF says:

    I’ll parse your garbage one more time, JD.

    If Ravitch’s life partner attempted to get a job with the Klein administration and was denied, and this is provably true, that’s still just one piece of your sleazy story. And that’s a big red “IF.”

    But even if it was provably true, the rest of the slimy story accusing her of basing her entire position on education policy on that one alleged incident is speculation and opinion. You cannot declare that speculation and opinion are “the truth.”

    My opinion and that of many others is that Ravitch’s anti-choice position carries a lot of weight and credibility and is doing serious harm to the success of the snake-oil-peddling education reform operators. The fact that you and Whitney Tilson (is you aren’t Tilson) and presumbly others are putting quite a bit of effort into promoting these accusations gives my opinion (that she is doing serious harm to your con job) a huge amount of weight. if her opinion had been discredited at all you wouldn’t be bothering.

    For example, here’s what blogger Alexander Russo just posted about her:

    “There’s no doubt that education activists, especially the reformy kind, [are] …being destroyed by bloggers like Valerie Strauss and critics like Diane Ravitch…” — and Russo is no fan of Ravitch’s, as demonstrated by his further inexplicable comment that she has “become the Sarah Palin / Glenn Beck / Julian Assange of the left.”

    To restate and clarify, Alexander Russo, who clearly dislikes Ravitch, still claims that education-reform pushers are being “destroyed” by her advocacy. So in response, the education reformers are pushing slimy lies about her personal life, impugning her motivations. What a class act you guys are.

    Presumably you couldn’t make any charges about doing it for the money stick, given that she resigned lucrative positions in two conservative think tanks, so you had to make it about sex — which is an unusual tack when you’re talking about a 72-year-old woman.

  43. Personal loyalty, not sex. Good grief.

    Ravitch is doing harm to education reform precisely because she’s a propagandist who can rouse an audience — but that doesn’t mean what she says about choice is true.

    And I’m supposed to be impressed that she resigned “lucrative” (how do you know this?) positions when she had a huge bestseller and is getting lecture fees all over the place (her speakers’ bureau says that her fee is $15,000 to $20,000 per speech)? She’s making way more money now, or so would be the logical bet.

  44. CarolineSF says:

    I didn’t ask you to be impressed; just saying. She was on the side of the megabucks — the billionaires, the mighty and ultra-wealthy right-wing think tanks and the political leadership too — and is now challenging them. It’s ridiculous on its face to claim that she did that for the money.

    You’re contradicting yourself, JD — you said that Ravitch’s view has been “widely discredited on the merits” and is “feeble,” and then admitted that she’s “doing harm to education reform.”

    And, by the way, many,many, many people “familiar with the evidence,” including me, fully believe that Ravitch changed her mind based on the evidence.

  45. Nonsense, I’m not contradicting myself. Ravitch is both 1) a good propagandist for her point of view, even though 2) her point of view isn’t honest and consistent with the actual evidence. It’s perfectly consistent to say that Ravitch’s position on choice is both silly and yet effective in persuading a bunch of people who don’t know any better.

    I imagine you didn’t like Bush’s views on Iraq. Can you comprehend how someone might say that Bush’s view of Iraq was wrong on the merits yet was very effective as propaganda? That’s not even remotely a contradiction.

    No, Ravitch did not change her mind on choice based on the evidence. In the 1990s, she was in favor of choice. In the 2000s, we’ve seen several studies showing that vouchers force public schools to improve, studies showing that charter schools (KIPP, New York charters, Boston charters) are producing better outcomes, studies showing that charters (Florida and Chicago) and vouchers (DC) have MUCH higher graduation rates, and studies showing that charters nationwide are helping low-income black kids in the cities (Mathematica middle school study).

    If you’re starting out as a choice supporter, all of that evidence wouldn’t make you flip sides.

  46. She was on the side of the megabucks — the billionaires, the mighty and ultra-wealthy right-wing think tanks

    It is to laugh. Right wing think tanks are “ultra wealthy”? All of the right wing think tanks in the country taken together can’t even remotely compete with the hundreds of millions of dollars that Ravitch’s new best friends (at the unions) have.

  47. “Ravitch is harming choice because she’s an effective propagandist for an evil and wrong position.”

    That’s not a self-contradictory thing to say.

  48. JD Monroe says:

    Fact: Mary Butz is thanked in Ravitch’s “Language Police” for her “partnership.”

    Fact: Mary Butz has worked for the AFT, which is headed by Weingartner (Ravitch’s new best friend).

    Fact: Joel Klein set up a Principals Leadership Academy in 2003. According to a scholarly book on mayoral control, “Opposition to the academy included . . . Mary Butz, who headed a principals’ training program that had won federal grants for its effectiveness and that Klein passed over in setting up the academy.” David Rogers, Mayoral Control of the New York City Schools (Springer: 2009), p. 47.

    Fact: Ravitch’s 180-degree switch in position on mayoral control came immediately thereafter.

  49. CarolineSF says:

    Yes, right-wing think tanks are ultra-wealthy — far more so than the supposedly powerful teachers’ unions. God, you people are shameless.

  50. CarolineSF says:

    And if you have a solid argument in response to Ravitch’s case, why are you resorting to sleaze about her personal life? That totally discredits you people. Even Joanne Jacobs is distancing herself from your loathsome slime.

  51. Oh, so that’s what this is about? The Principals Leadership Academy? Why all that inuendo up to now? I have no “insider knowledge” of these events, but I see nothing strange or dishonest in Ravitch’s actions here.

    In my outsider view, Klein’s action revealed much that was wrong with mayoral control. Had I been in Ravitch’s shoes, I probably would have been upset with Klein AND genuinely disillusioned with mayoral control. One does not render the other phony. Nor does it prove she didn’t have additional concerns and doubts about mayoral control and its attendant policies.

    Were I a judge weighing the “evidence” presented here against Ravitch, I would have dismissed the case long ago. First, JD doesn’t reveal his name; thus he evades responsibility for his words and the gossip on which they are based. Second, he may be using more than one name (JD reminds me of a certain “John Doe”). Third, bringing up Ravitch’s personal life is not to his credit. Fourth, his claim to truth in doing so is shoddy; it takes far, far more than that to see into another person’s motives and thoughts.

  52. Typo: it should have been “innuendo.”