"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Diane Ravitch Asks, What Would Liberals Do?

Conservatives are fleeing the burning NCLB ship, preferring to drown in open waters or, as in some cases, attempt to crawl aboard a rescue vessel, even if it seems to be occupied by liberals. Yuck!

Yesterday's op-ed in the NYTimes by Diane Ravitch shows what can happen when an arch conservative decides, for political/survival reasons, to become her own misunderstood version of a liberal. In accomplishing such a feat, Ravitch would have been well-served to continue her making-nice conversations with Deborah Meier long enough to find out what a real liberal would do with the crumbling privatization plan of NCLB, rather than letting Chester Finn's people in Central Casting come up with their caricatured version of the Liberal Solution.

Ravitch seems to think the old Bush charade of local control in education accountability, which has so far meant that states make and administer their own tests while the Feds hand out the punishment, should now be reversed so that now Central Planning will make/administer the tests, while the states and localities will take on the policing and accountability/sentencing roles. If this is what the Cons believe liberalism is about, their socio-political calendar has, indeed, been turned back to the the early 1950s.

The only people likely to be excited by Ravitch's proposed nightmare are the national socialists who have already decided to willingly sacrifice the Republic to preserve, at any cost, American economic hegemony around the world to benefit an increasingly-paranoid group of white, protestant CEOs.

Ravitch's piece, then, serves as nice propaganda salve for the shamed privatizers, who would now seem to be in retreat from their engineered plan to sacrifice a generation of children as a means to cynnically produce a political end.

If she were really interested in reversing roles, why not make the Feds truly accountable, rather than the states and local school districts? Why not give Washington until, let's say, 2030 to bring down the poverty scores in America? If we were were to focus on ending poverty in America, all this wasted time and money on the orgy of tabulation could be saved, because when poverty ends and family incomes go up, achievement gaps will narrow and real achievement for all will be realized. There is a candidate who has a plan for this, Diane--his name is John Edwards.

Diane's op-ed, however, called "Get Congress Out of the Classroom." still pretends that moving around the deck chairs on the sinking education accountability ship will somehow help. And the title of her op-ed belies a continuing denial of the fact that it was the Executive Branch that crafted this current debacle, rather than an out-of-touch and out-maneuvered Congress. It's just too bad that Ravitch did not use her broad influence seven years ago to publish an op-ed that might have been called "Get the White House Out of the Schoolhouse." If she had, she might have been high and dry at this very moment, rather than swimming for her political life.

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