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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Attacking Diane Ravitch? Or Questions Too Uncomfortable for the Comfortable?

"When Horn read Carroll’s post and realized it provided an opening for him to attack Diane Ravitch, I wonder if he wet himself from glee." --Mercedes Schneider


No, Ms. Schneider, I did not wet myself from glee when I read Kathleen Carroll's commentary, but I am pretty pissed right now after reading your uncharacteristically bitter attack on anyone who raises questions about what Diane Ravitch says in public.  First, let me say that I thought Ms. Scheider was a lot smarter than to put together a rushed pastiche of wrongheaded attributions and conjectures into a breathless blog post and then label them as evidence.  In case there is any mistaking, I'm not talking about Ms. Schneider's book but about her blog post.  And even though Ms. Schneider has plenty of links in her acrid post, I wish that links, alone, could signify something, something, um, significant.  They don't.  

Ms. Schneider's conflation of my remarks with Kathleen Carroll's commentary doesn't serve her well.  Anyone who reads my post on Ravitch's snarling defensiveness can see, if she wants to see, that my interest was and is in Ravitch's strident response to Carroll, rather than in Carroll's allegations.  It is what Ravitch says in her defense that I find most revealing and most interesting.  By the way, the only factual error that Ravitch noted in Carroll's remarks was her mistaken assumption that Ravitch was paid for her TURN speech in late 2013.  It wasn't TURN where Ravitch was paid but, rather at NASP, where Pearson picked up the tab.

From what I can interpret from the lava pouring up from Ms. Schneider's keyboard in response to my post about Saint Diane is that she believes that Kathleen Carroll and I are in league to destroy the queens of the milquetoast resistance movement that have served to divert attention away from any significant action for ending high stakes testing, corporate control of public schools, and segregation. 

Let me say clearly that I don't know Kathleen Carroll and have never communicated with her, even though I hope she will reach out and email me if she reads this post (ontogenyx@gmail.com).  I think she has a lot of important information to share, even more than what got her canned in California for speaking out against corruption, both inside and outside the California Commission on Teacher Credentials. 

So to keep from getting in the middle of a spraying contest over Kathleen Carroll's commentary, I will stick to what Ms. Schneider finds that I got factually wrong in my post.  Since I can find nothing of the kind in Ms. Schneider's burrowing, beyond an hysterical attribution of my motives, I think I will finish my game of cribbage and go to bed.  Goodnight, Ms. Schneider.

12 comments:

  1. A. Blogger12:32 AM

    Schneider is filled with a particular type of vitriol that it is sure to tear any grassroots effort against corporate education reform apart if left unchecked. My experiences from reading her has been that she cares not who she attacks, nor over what reason she attacks. Holding the line' with anything Diane (who has become less and less involved with discussion and more and more involved with professing as DR.net has become ubiquitous) says and against anyone who disagrees with DR seems to be *the* priority for her. Not relationships. Not building more voices within the movement to end for-profit education reform. Certainly not allowing for engaging, open minded discussion, which she has time and again demonstrated she has no wish to be part of.

    That said, I certainly do not envy you in publicly disagreeing with her or with DR. While I would not have raised the original questions you raised (I feel DR should be paid by any entity who has money and the will to pay her), it is true that anyone (anyone) who disagrees with anything DR has said or done will probably have Schneider's vitriol -which is really all her blog has become- to deal with. That vitriol is made more difficult to deal with when DR links to the vitriolic attacks that Schneider writes. (and she does this often). That's no fun (nor is it fair) and I wish you luck in dealing with it.

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    1. See comment below by Sean Crowley. Helps explain some things.

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  2. Ah the invaluable understrapper…the "moderators" among us.

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  3. I think to take on St. Diane one must truly be uninvested in the business of advancing one's career outside of the classroom as a blogger, union hanger on, teacher book writer or any of the various forms of Celebucators we now see in this desperate scramble to cash in on the time spent as a classroom teacher. We have Teachers Speaking, we have Diontes Infernoing, we have BATS flapping and Schneider Schneidering her own with the best of them. It has come to me that none of our high profile Edufrontrunners are willing to call Ravitch out because they fear she or her minions could torpedo their book deal, union gig or spot on The Daily Show. After the putrid showings of NEA and AFT, electing another President who can't get over her Gatescrush and wagging a lawyerly finger at Arne Duncan -- I know people think Weingarten was a teacher but she's never been anything but a lawyer -- these self serving, Gates adoring Vichy Quisling union "leaders" have spit in the faces of their constituency yet again. If you listen to the only surviving union leader in captivity, that rare flower blooming in the manure fields of Rahm Emanuel's Chicago, she will tell you what makes CTU work. It's member driven. It's member driven. It's member driven. Period. NEA and AFT are contemptuous of their members. At AFT's convention it was noted by another eyes wide open member of CTU that teachers spoke against Common Core while Union insiders and "leadership" spoke in favor of it. What exactly is Diane Ravitch waiting for before she will acknowledge the turncoat elephant in the room and admit that our two biggest unions have abandoned us and are under the sheets with Gates, Murdoch, Koch, Blooomberg and anyone else with a checkbook who can fatten it by putting the wood to rank and file teachers? Why does she insist that we support these "leaders" who have done nothing but sell teachers out and shove us under the bus at every single turn? I aspire to last until retirement. I have no hopes for a book deal and aside from my mother I think I have about 4 readers of my blog. My local union is infested with slugs looking to worm their way into any gig that will cut down on their teaching time, my President did not even know what TFA was when the local paper asked his thoughts on welcoming them to our district. I am purely disinterested as it gets and I say it's time for Diane to do something courageous and call our union leadership out for the disreputable and disgraceful collaborations they've engaged in at teacher expense. As I plan to live til retirement however I am not holding my breath. Thanks for hitting some notes nobody wants to go near.

    This is my own piece from a while ago: http://b-loedscene.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-three-top-reasons-for-being-mean-to.html

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    1. Do you want to blog at Schools Matter?

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  4. Anonymous7:56 PM

    Thank you for saying what needed to be said. We need to work together. Ms. Schneider's post was unnecessarily vicious. This type of thing will hurt our cause, which means we are not able to help our children when this ridiculousness is the focus. Unacceptable.

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    1. Thanks for your note.

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  5. Anonymous2:09 PM

    I thought the Carroll/Horn attack piece was uncharacteristic of Mercedes Schneider - it's the first time I have seen her be so savage on such flimsy evidence; the savagery was breath-taking - I haven't seen her be so cutting even about ed reformers. My gut - which has been infallible in my six years of digging into ed reform - says there's something else going on, tho what that is I haven't the foggiest; time will tell...

    I wish Diane would have the courage to take that last step into the real world.... she has come a long way over the past three-four years but is dragging her heels crossing that final boundary. I understand how hard that is for her, and maybe, at her age, with her history, her position in the world and with her health challenges etc, it's not appropriate to expect it of her. Tho I won't stop calling her out on her blog, maybe we should just be grateful for what she does do...

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I, too, was once "grateful for what she does do," but that was before she became preoccupied with 1) making excuses for NEA and AFT misleadership, and 2) doing the soft shoe around the fetid Common Core, which she now claims can be fixed by teachers if given the chance. Despite Ravitch's assurances, there is no evidence that teachers would be better off without the union prostisuits who have sold them down the river with their support of the CorpEd agenda. Teachers would be better off if the scum at the top of the unions was scraped off so that new leadership may have a chance to save the profession before Rhonda and Lily sell it off.

      In terms of the thought disorder that teachers may "fix" the rotted Core, this presumes that there is a single curriculum that all children should learn, from coastal Maine to Death Valley, CA. Diane has always been a supporter of the social control function of public schools, and that hasn't changed. She has simply adopted a populist rhetoric to achieve that end.

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  6. Anonymous29:35 PM

    I agree with Anonymous @ 2:09 pm.

    I've been following Mercedes Schneider's blog for a while. In fact, Schools Matter and Deutsch29 were both instrumental in my understanding of what's been happening to our education system over the last 40 years. I began that journey when I found videos on privatization from both Kathleen Carroll and ex-pat investigator Danny Weil, the latter first. This was in January, and when I googled prvatization + education back then, it was really hard to find infomration. I had to read articles from Europe and the writings of American bloggers, mostly K-12, for higher ed hadn't yet caught on. Not that higher ed has caught on yet, really, but a couple handfuls of us are working on it.

    As I say, I was surprised as well. In fact, I had to double check that I was reading her blog and hadn't confused her for someone else.

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    1. According to Ms. Schneider's preface in her book, she owes Diane Ravitch for helping get her book published. I guess I didn't realize how much indebtedness could be worth. I think, too, that sitting at the right hand of an aging saint may be seen by some to be advantageous to one's own future salvation.

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