Speaking of doozies, this is AWESOME! Ravitch was up to her usual tricks last week – but this time, ran into a buzz saw named Deb Gist, the ed commissioner of RI and a true reform warrior, who is very familiar with Ravitch's constant lies and distortions, and Ravitch is now whining and demanding an apology (which she'll never get). Here's the story: the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers, apparently at the urging of Gov. Lincoln Chafee (a gutless weasel who's selling out RI kids because the union helped elect him), invited Ravitch to visit Rhode Island on May 3. Here's what happened, according to Ravitch's blog post (below):
Before my arrival, I was invited by Gov. Lincoln Chafee to meet privately with him. Thirty minutes before my hour with Gov. Chafee, I learned that state Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah Gist would join our meeting. As it turned out, I had 10 minutes of private time with the governor, then 50 minutes with Gist and leaders of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers.
I mention all this because of what happened during the 50 minutes. Gist is clearly a very smart, articulate woman. But she dominated the conversation, interrupted me whenever I spoke, and filibustered to use up the limited time. Whenever I raised an issue, she would interrupt to say, "That isn't happening here." She came to talk, not to listen. It became so difficult for me to complete a sentence that at one point, I said, "Hey, guys, you live here all the time, I'm only here for a few hours. Please let me speak." But Gist continued to cut me off. In many years of meeting with public officials, I have never encountered such rudeness and incivility. I am waiting for an apology.
Now, if Deb Gist really wouldn't allow Ravitch to speak at all, then that would be wrong. But I know Deb Gist and am certain that she wouldn't deny Ravitch (or anyone else) the right to speak. What really happened, I have no doubt, was that, as Ravitch began to spew her usual litany of lies and distortions, Gist spoke up and challenged her. Ravitch isn't used to being challenged – certainly not forcefully, and certainly not by someone who knows far more than she does about what's really going on in RI's schools (recall, for example, my recent email with the letter from KIPP TEAM teacher Ali Nagle to Ravitch, which Ravitch ignored, and my email a month or two ago about the Princeton student, a member of Students for Education Reform, who Ravitch blocked on Twitter after he challenged her).
Ravitch is an empress without any clothes, who travels around the country speaking only to fawning audiences, who tell her how beautiful her clothes are – and when she encounters someone who tells her she's really naked, she freaks out, starts whining and complaining, and saying ridiculous things like this (from an article in the Providence Journal):
"Over the past half-century, I have met with many governors, state superintendents, Congressmen, Senators, Cabinet members, and every President since Lyndon B. Johnson (I met John F. Kennedy in 1958, when he was Senator from Massachusetts)," Ravitch wrote in an e-mail to The Journal Tuesday afternoon. "I have never encountered such behavior."
I especially love the second comment below the Prov. Journal article:
"As it turned out, I had 10 minutes of private time with the governor, then 50 minutes with Gist"
Here's my guess as to how that ten minutes between Chafee and Ravitch went:
LC: "Hey, this is great. I want to get rid of Gist, but she has massive support from my constituency, far more support than even I have."
DR: "How horrible! Corporate blahblahblah, feel-good mumbo-jumbo, everyoneelseiswrong. How can I help?"
LC: "Well, if you say some stuff about bad compensation and destroying unions, neither of which are true here, she'll get testy, then you can feign disgust publicly which will give me pretext to can her."
DR: "Sounds great!"LC: "Here she comes..."
Diane Ravitch wants Commissioner Gist to apologize
5:06 PM Tue, May 10, 2011 | Permalink
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