Just ‘another liberal hack’

Hoping for a thoughtful discussion, Darren went to hear Diane Ravitch speak in Sacramento. Ravitch fed red meat to her fans, he writes on Right on the Left Coast.

. . . she said that the only crisis in American education is that it’s under attack . . .  by “right wingers”  . . . whose hidden purpose is to privatize public schools.

In an interview with an alternative newspaper Ravitch talked about why she opposes No Child Left Behind. But her speech was pure zealotry, writes Darren. “Bottom line, she’s just another liberal hack.”

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  1. Grazie for the link!

  2. Darren has posted a pretty extensive summation of her presentation, albeit one presented through his own lens.

    Ultimately, Ravitch has far too much ethos to be dismissed as a “liberal hack.” This woman’s scholarship and history could fill books … and of course has. And her point of view should not be dismissed as hackery.

    • ethos:The characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as seen in its beliefs and aspirations.

      She certainly represents the community of people who believe the public education system should be run for the benefit of unionized employees but that’s probably not the “ethos” you were going for. Unfortunately, she obviously doesn’t represent a culture or an era so there’s no help there.

      You sure you didn’t mean “gravitas”?

      I think if you’re trying to hang onto the credibility Ravitch established by not fawning over the current system, and thus put it to use in her new role as defender of the current system, that’d be the better word. But I don’t think she’ll do you much good though. The debt of ill-feelings the current system’s earned is clearly coming due and Diane Ravitch isn’t going to do be able to do anything to prevent the inevitable result.

  3. except that it’s hackery

  4. “crisis” means something. It does not mean “better than it has ever been.” It does not mean “suffering the same sorts of problems it always has.”

    “Crisis” implies urgency because of new problem or new looming threat.

    Ravitch is right. The issues facing our schools are the old issues. And, whether you choose to believe it or not, the schools are better than ever. We keep more kids in school longer. Scores for subgroups are going. We are doing better. We are reaching more.

    The challenge is huge. Too many on the right are just starting to check in, but the problems are not new, and there is no new looming threat.

  5. Then how is she right that there’s a crisis? I don’t understand your comment.

    And Mazenko, while I grant that Ravitch’s scholarship is extensive, her commentary on the night in question is precisely, solely, exactly that of a partisan hack. Perhaps you didn’t read my exact quotes of hers–if you did, I defy you to explain how they weren’t that of an uncritical partisan.

  6. I finished Diane Ravitch’s __Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reform__ with a mix of three emotions: (1) outrage at the presumption of education planners who used other people’s children as their raw material, (2) admiration for Ravitch’s capacity to plough through volumes of tedious educationese, and (3) regret that Ravitch did not draw the obvious lesson (humility), but instead would substitute her curricular preferences for the curricular preferences of social planners.
    Her support for a return to a classical curriculum earned her the description “conservative”, and perhaps that description fits, in the same way that “social conservatives” like William Jennings Bryan and today’s drug waarriors qualify as “conservative”. Ravitch does not trust parents. She is no free marketeer. She is no lover of freedom.