Thursday, June 23, 2011

Diane Ravitch: Bold crusader or self-promoter?

At meetings of parents and teachers opposed to CMS' testing and performance pay efforts this spring,  Diane Ravitch's name came up often.  The researcher,  writer and former U.S. assistant secretary of education has emerged as the country's most vocal opponent of the reform course being charted by the likes of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan,  former Washington, D.C.,  schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and philanthropists Bill Gates and Eli Broad.  She's viewed by many as the strongest voice standing up to an anti-teacher agenda.

Lots of local folks -- me included -- have been intrigued by her recent book "The Death and Life of the Great American School System."  For those who want to know more about the person, Washington City Paper has an in-depth profile looking at her rise to fame, her lifelong tension between conservatism and liberalism,  and the charges that she's pushing a "philosophy of resentment" that bolsters the status quo.

As reporter Dana Goldstein notes,  it's an interesting time when a 72-year-old education wonk not only appears on Jon Stewart's Daily Show but tweets so much she has inspired a parody Twitter feed.

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