Education is the new abortion:
Richard Whitmire on the ed wars:
For years, education politics were noteworthy mostly for their earnestness. Sure, there were flareups between "reformers" and teachers unions, but generally the tone of the discourse was civil and there was genuine curiosity in understanding opposing views. Today, that's mostly gone.
As an author writing about the polarizing Rhee, one might expect I would experience this vitriol. But I'm hardly alone. Time contributor Amanda Ripley is a relative newcomer to education issues. "I spent my career writing about everything from abortion to terrorism to prisons, but none of these things compared to education," Ripley told me. "The nastiest emails I've ever gotten have been about education."
…Mostly, however, the two sides no longer engage about their differences. They just glare and shout. Abortion has nothing on education, except bumper stickers. And I can only assume those are in production.
I don't buy the "both sides need to stop throwing mud" argument. Both sides are NOT equally to blame. I'm always shocked by the vicious tactics employed by those defending the status quo – but perhaps I shouldn't be, as they are (or at least feel like they are) defending their jobs, livelihoods and, in the case of the unions, existence. It's like the TV show, Survivor, which basically shows what people will do to win $1 million. The answer: just about anything.
I also totally disagree with Whitmire here: "the two sides no longer engage about their differences. They just glare and shout." Look at the endless hours I spend carefully reading what enemies of reform like Ravtich say and write, and then try to rebut their arguments, factually, line by line. This is what we reformers do. In contrast, I don't think Ravitch reads much if anything of what reformers write. And look at her reaction when Deb Gist pushed back politely – she concocted a crazy story that Gist had been exceptionally rude to her, etc… Given how many completely wrong things she says, she's either a pathological liar or she just doesn't do her homework. I'm going to be generous and assume the latter…
Education is the new abortion: The battle over school reform has turned dangerously vitriolic
Thursday, June 30th 2011, 4:00 AM