Reformers' Smear Campaign Could Backfire

How much do Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, and Geoff Canada get paid for their appearances at various conferences and events, by whom -- and where are these payments disclosed to those who are listening and to the public?  How much did Steve Brill get paid to write his book and who was it who first suggested to him that he should look into Diane Ravitch's speaking fees?  These are some of the questions that come to mind in light of the attacks on Diane Ravitch in Brill's book that are the focus of Whitney Tilson's emailings this morning (see below).  I have issues with Ravitch -- earlier this year she demanded to have her blurb removed from the back of my book over my my expressing these thoughts -- but I have no questions about her integrity.  It's no secret that she has spoken to teachers at union events around the country, and (to me, at least) no particular problem that she's taken speaking fees for sharing her views without declaring the income at every opportunity. I have, however, had several Ravitch critics mention to me that I should look into her being paid over the past year or so. That Brill has made Ravitch's fees part of his book -- and Tilson has made them the focus - reminds me of the smear campaign conducted by Tilson and others against Linda Darling Hammond two years ago when reformers were (ridiculously, unnecessarily) woried about her role in the Obama administration. Ravitch supporters (especially those who think there's a secret Ravitch Group operating inside the USDE to destroy her reputation) will only be fueled by having their champion attacked (again). Reform supporters should be dismayed to see fearful people on "their side" resorting to cheap, below-the-belt, "blow-up-in-our-faces" tactics in order to try and sway opinion that is not necessarily trending their way. [Cross posted from TWIE]

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  • Let’s all diffuse the fact that the so called reformers are failing and start a smear tactic on others. So what Ravitch got paid. Since when does a speaker have to disclose that he/she got paid? Is this a do as I say, not as I do syndrome? They are playing the game like the politicians.

  • Alex, Michelle Rhee, Klein and their kind are parasites and deformers. These folks play the game of "deformers" because there are big corporate dollars to be won without actually doing anything. Think about it, these education deformers have no record of success but since they are the big corporate stooges, they paid very very well.

    These clowns are DEFORMERS and not reformers. So Alex, call them what they are!

  • I thought Alexander's post was thoughtful and I am not in the least surprised that supporters of market based reforms, or at least reforms that contain teacher union power are checking up on Ravitch.

    Rod Estvan

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