The Reformer Vilification Industry

I am happy to report that Diane Ravitch does not spend much time talking about herself in the updated paperback version of her book, which came out a few weeks ago.  The temptation to discuss her (mis)treatment over the past two years must have been strong, but the world doesn't need another "it's-all-about-me" Michael Moore.  (Or perhaps the most recent flare-ups with Brill and others took place after her deadline.)  Ravitch also admits to having been fooled about what was going on in Atlanta under Beverly Hall, which is good of her.  And she traces some of the recent setbacks and rigidity within the reform movement that I and others have been writing about over the weeks and months.  (I keep going back and forth on whether to think of it as the popping of the reform bubble or simply "Reformageddon.") That being said, there are a few key things that I think Ravitch could have but didn't address or correct. Ravitch's description of NCLB's impact and destructiveness (closings, firings, charter conversions, etc.) remains exaggerated and unsupported by the data. She also vastly overestimates the power, coordination, and reach of all the reform groups, which suits her purposes in terms of creating a straw man but does little to inform readers about what's really going on.  Vilifying reformers is ultimately just as unwarranted and ineffective as vilifying teachers.


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    Your post makes a worse mistake than you are describing--assuming that reformers and teachers are different groups.

    There are privatizers, but most real reformers are educators, community members and people who stand to benefit far more from improved schools than a profit for themselves or their cronies.

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