Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend Quotables

Chicago school reformer Don Moore on Mayor Daley's picks for new school board president, Michael Scott and schools CEO, Ron Huberman:
“It’s only on the margins (that it matters) who is in these positions, the CEO and the president of the board, because they basically do what they’re told by the mayor, for the mayor’s inner circle.” (Chi-Town Daily News)

Diane Ravitch
, who has recently shown glimmers of sanity on local N.Y. issues, but who has spent most of her career in the Bushes and still hangs out at the far-right Fordham and Hoover Institute, has the chutzpah to attack Obama for being Bush-like:
"It looks like Obama's education policy will be a third term for President George W. Bush. This is not change I can believe in." (Politico)
What a joke! Obama has done more to save public education in one month than the entire Bush regime did in 12 years. Even worse, Ravitch uses Linda Darling-Hammond's return from the White House to Stanford to cover her attack, claiming to support Linda but oppose Obama. LDH, who has been a leader in the development of Obama's ed policy, offers nothing but high praise for it and for the Prez.


  1. After listening to Obama's speech, and reading about Duncan's speech in New York, I think you owe Diane Ravitch an apology. More money for data systems, merit pay, charter schools. No word on any of the issues I read your blog because I love your focus on the kids....Linda Darling Hammond left just in time...I believe she was either left in disappointment about what was to come.
    To quote Diane:
    "I am sorely disappointed in Arne Duncan. I don't see any change from the mean, punitive version of accountability that the Bush administration foisted on the nation's schools."
    And it doesn't sound to me like George Miller is going to do much to stop it.
    But I'd love to be proved wrong.

  2. Roger and Margo,

    Thanks for your comments.

    You obviously agree with Diane Ravitch that Obama is "an extension" of Bush on education. I feel silly even arguing the case with you although I've heard the same line of reasoning from several progressive educators. But the idea is so far removed from my own experience and from the people in the community and teachers and parents that I know, that I can't believe progressive people could actually say it right now.

    I do think the education part of Obama's speech was the weakest part. He has obviously drunk the kool-aid on charters. He left most other important issues like NCLB re-authorization up in the air. Of course, as you might imagine I disagree with making global competition our starting point.

    But I wonder why you only mention the points you obviously don't like. You make it clear that you oppose any stimulus money going to charter schools, data systems or performance pay. But what about new school construction, early childhood support, increases in Headstart and massive investment in heath care for children? What about saving hundreds of schools from closing and thousands of teachers jobs?

    As for your points about the reasons Linda Darling-Hammond went back to Stanford, I would prefer to hear those from her. So far, she has said just the opposite and certainly hasn't made the Obama/Bush connection. So let's leave her out of this debate.

    You haven't convinced me that Obama is the same as Bush on public education. When and if you ever do, I will apologize to Diane. But you sure didn't make that case here.

  3. Wow-I don't post comments often, but this is first time I got such a rapid response.
    Thank you for your thoughts.
    I thought of many things to say to you in response. I was going to quote Deborah Meier, who I thought you might find more credible than me.
    But in the end, I don't think the comments section of your blog is a great place to carry on this conversation.
    So let me just say that if you are proven to be right, and I'm wrong;if LDH continues to support all of Obama's educational policies; if he changes the punitive nature of NCLB;I'll take you out to dinner the next time you're in San Francisco.
    Notice I didn't even mention changing the role of high stakes testing, data systems, or charter schools.

  4. Roger doesn't think the comments section of your blog is a good place to carry on the debate. I wonder why not? I was hoping he would make his case in support of Diane Ravitch's attack on Obama and Duncan so I could learn why he wants you to apologize.

  5. Roger and Margo,

    I look forward to our dinner together. Can we eat at the Wharf?


  6. The Wharf is fine. Sure. Alioto's is good; we might see Michael Savage. Any chance Jon Schnur and LDH can join us? It would be an interesting evening for me.

  7. The ideological framework expressed by Obama so far, with emphasis on charter schools, performance pay, and data systems, has been very disappointing. the only good part of his proposals is more overall funding.

    But some of that funding is scary; ie the $5 billion slush fund that Duncan will control. This financial leverage is potentially even more dangerous - and damaging -- to school districts nationwide than the Gates and Broad foundations put together.

  8. Wow Leonie! First Obama is an "extension of Bush" on education. Now the leverage from his stimulus is "more dangerous--and damaging" than Gates and Broad combined. What's next, the old Hitler card?


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