Ravitch rallies teachers vs. 'astroturf'
Below is a Politico article about Ravitch, in which she denies (sort of) what Brill writes:
Ravitch's public speaking schedule over the last year included more than a dozen speeches across the country to local AFT and NEA affiliates. Brill suggested that some of those appearances carried a price tag of between $15,000 and $20,000. But Ravitch, for her part, said she has never received speaking fees approaching the sums that Brill claims.
"That is a flat out untruth," Ravitch told POLITICO. "Most of my speaking appearances to union groups have been for free."
"Most of the time that I speak to unions it has been for free."
This is just more Ravitch disingenuousness – she really is the master. She doesn't deny taking speaking fees – she just says that "most" of the time she doesn't. What does that mean? 51%? If Brill's estimate of $200,000 over the past year is too high, then what is the right number? $100,000? Why doesn't Ravitch put this question to rest and answer it??? Assuming it's a material amount – more than $10,000 (and I'm SURE it's a LOT more than that; if it weren't, Ravitch would come right out and say it) – then she had a duty to disclose, and of course she didn't. And then she has the gall to accuse people like me of profiteering… Ya just can't make this stuff up!
4) In summary, it's hard for me to think of anyone in this fight who doesn't have a strong point of view and/or agenda. That's OK – I sure do! The key is to disclose board memberships, paid jobs or speaking fees, etc. so each person's agenda and conflicts are clear.
What drives me nuts about Ravitch is that she – and she ALONE among major players in this debate – represents herself falsely, and this latest revelation is yet more evidence of it. She is most assuredly NOT an unbiased researcher/academic/author who fairly analyzes and presents information and opinions in this debate. Instead, she is 100% partisan and biased. For a number of years now, including her latest book, Ravitch hasn't said a single word that deviates one iota from the union line. She is close personal friends with Randi Weingarten and now we know that she takes meaningful amounts of money (plus awards) from the unions. And let's not even talk about her well-known personal vendetta against Joel Klein…
As I said, Ravitch being partisan and biased is OK – AS LONG AS EVERYONE KNOWS IT. For example, when Randi opposes all non-union schools (and, of course, vouchers), any form of accountability and measures to streamline removal of bad teachers, calls for more spending to lower class size (read: hire more teachers), everyone takes it with a grain of salt because she's just (to use a phrase from my industry) "talking her book." But when Ravitch says the EXACT same things, people don't filter it with the same skeptical lens – but they should!