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Monday, October 20, 2014

Lenny Isenberg on Diane Ravitch's Rhetoric

Will the Real Professor Diane Ravitch Please Stand Up?
Professor Diane Ravitch has become a G-d to her undiscerning and often cultish followers. What most of these people choose to see is her clearly unsurpassed knowledge of what is and has gone on in public education throughout the last 150 years. Without question she could be a revolutionary rallying point for countering the carefully planned and orchestrated program of public education privatization by charter schools run exclusively to increase the corporate bottom line and further dumb down the American public. However, the fact is that Ravitch has chosen to do nothing but talk and then only after the fact as can be seen in the recent Vergara case. This should have awakened her followers, but alas it hasn't. 

In lieu of really organizing and funding of a true opposition to the corporate agenda for public education, this self-silenced majority of Ravitch supporters still chooses to stand by and watch the decimation of a fairly compensated professional teacher corp and with it any chance of public education excellence. 

As long as Professor Ravitch's insights and alleged opposition to public education privatization continues in the same manner, while remaining undisseminated to the general public, this lack of a coordinated response will continue to redound to the unintended satisfaction of her supposed foes.

Alas, one might argue that Ravitch seems to have a pretty dark agenda, where she dodges the logical conclusions of her own ideas and the evidence that comes out of it on a daily basis as to the systematic deconstruction of public education by protesting, "I'm just a retired old gardener in Brooklyn with a bad knee, who doesn't have the energy to do more." But somehow, she puts in 8 hour plus days on her blog continuing to sap the energy potential of progressive educators who could alternatively really turn things around, if they understood the rat hole spending energy on the Ravitch Blog has come to be. 

Clearly, Diane will never do anything that actually challenges the status quo of her upper class origin in what it does not take a person of her intelligence to see is a purposefully failed public education system run for money.

Most enlightening- and where I got into it with her and her cult followers- was when she wrote an excellent analysis of the recent Vergara decision. Of course, only after Judge Treu had decided the case against teacher tenure. What Ravitch wrote after the fact pointed out and gave compelling evidence to show that the supposed experts, who had testified for the plaintiffs, were completely wrong. Ravitch showed that literally every supposed justification for depriving teachers of tenure were completely fabricated and made no sense, when put in historical context with the actual reasons for disparity loss of low seniority new teachers in the inner city schools. 

Why novice teachers were fired before seasoned and tenured veterans has more to do with no administrative support for minimal student behavior and the continued social promotion of students into grades where purposefully allowed deficient students could not possibly understand what a veteran single subject credentialed teacher was trying to teach. 

When tenured teachers were given and took the option of leaving, because of sufficient seniority, they logically took it by bidding for a higher functioning school as opposed to staying in a no-win inner city school with no administrative support and a program insured to fail and frustrate both the teacher and student. The resulting disproportionately number of novice teachers in inner city schools, who were the first to lose their jobs when cuts came, really had little to do with seniority, but rather an untenable school environment that seniority offered a rational escape from. 

The glaring omission that I asked Professor Ravitch about was, "If you know all this, why didn't you write an amicus brief or join with California Teachers Association (CTA) or other teachers unions in this case, before there was a court decision against teacher tenure?" One more time with the Ravitch litany, "Oh, I'm just a retired teacher- gardener who lives in Brooklyn with a bad knee." That bit of obfuscation was nothing compared to the brown storm of criticism I incurred for having the temerity of asking this question on Ravitch's own blog in the presence of her acolytes.

Alas, the corporate funded program to privatize public education in the United States remains alive and well and unchallenged. Not only for those at city, state, and the federal levels of government working to bring it about, but it is also supported by a rather sizable contingency of 5th columnists like Ravitch and those in UTLA, AFT, CTA, and other organizations who are doing quite well professionally and financially under this orchestrated war to privatize public education. Time to wake up and judge people by what they do and not their vacuous rhetoric?

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