Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Speaking of Ravitch, one of my readers moderated a panel with her and is now "really angry, disappointed and disgusted" with her and has taken to calling her Rav-witch – LOL! 


I don't know if you remember but a few months ago I joked that you should come to [my university] to participate in a debate with Diane Ravitch, who was visiting to discuss/promote her new book. So here's what happened: Ravitch gave two public lectures, spoke at a welcome dinner (Debbie Meier was there too), and participated in a moderated discussion with Meier (which I moderated). The three main takeaways for me were: 1. Meier knows what she's talking about because she has real education experience. She was also really sweet. 2. Ravitch is a cantankerous old meanie-pants (nicest word I could find) who needs to hang up her cleats and get out of the game. 3. Ravitch had no constructive recommendations. I was really, really, put off by this last point.


For the moderated discussion we did, we selected 30 students from the schools of ed and public affairs, and we all read both the women's books. Students were SO EXCITED to meet Ravitch and to ask questions. Everyone in that room is so unbelievably committed to helping improve America's education system and they are literally the nicest group of grad students you will ever meet. Thus I was profoundly disappointed when Ravitch offered up only snarky replies to questions and gave absolutely no constructive recommendations for how these students could remedy some of the current debacles. It was just such an unbelievably wasted opportunity...if she really wants to improve America's school system she would have done more with the future generation of those who are trying to fix it.

She was equally unhelpful at the welcome dinner we had for her. She was discussing teacher contracts with one of our professors and I asked, as I've never gotten a really good answer, "Diane, I come from 13 years in the private world where I can get fired anytime the CEO feels like it, if I do something wrong. What affords teachers the extra review and time?" And she said, with spitting venom in her voice "Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get rid of older lawyers and doctors? SAME THING." Oh, wow, thanks Diane, very helpful.


Grrrrr, total wasted opportunity especially for someone like myself who is planning to dedicate his life to education!

I was really angry, disappointed and disgusted.


(After the event I took to calling her Rav-witch.)

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