Thursday, August 9, 2012

Diane Ravitch's and Michelle Rhee's Backlash

We have followed with enthusiasm the work of Diane Ravitch since appointed by George W. Bush as Assistant Secretary of Education she supported the ‘No child left behind’ policy instituted by Bush’s administration.   Ravitch became a sharp critique of holding non-performing schools punitively accountable after she’s left her public post. After reading the following comment a reader sent to me about in Response to ‘Digest on Michelle Rhee’, I felt compelled to post about Diane Ravitch’s changed views on Education Reform.  Here’s the reader’s response:

”Things are difficult, in an inner city school, and the reformers are just making it totally unbearable. It’s like being in an army at war - you're under fire, your buddies are becoming casualties, you're undermanned, you're outgunned, yet, you are still holding your position.  But the people back home say it’s entirely your fault.  You’re not on the offensive and over running the enemy country; the soldiers are lazy, incompetent, etc.  The solution is to fire everybody who hasn't gotten enough kill stats; cut salaries.  And especially, you must get rid of the most experienced soldiers.

Teachers are undermanned (giant class sizes), having inferior weapons (textbooks falling apart, AND, no kids can take textbooks home because the dropouts never bring the $125 books back, PLUS I have to buy my own laptop-projector, the 600$ projector dies every 3 years).

Like a teacher, Each soldiers kill statistics depend on situations outside of their control. Did you give me a machine gun with 5000 rounds and place me in a foxhole with miles of visibility, where there's nowhere for the enemy to hide? Did you put me in a tank? Or did you throw me from a boat like D-Day onto a heavily defended beach with no tanks and just said 'go get ‘em'?

And sure, there probably are incompetent soldiers.  They become casualties.  Teachers who get axed by admins not related to them, or quit within two of the worst years of their lives with classes they don’t know how to control and can't teach.  Think of all the middle class college graduates in an inner city classroom where neither side understands each other....and soon grows to loathe each other, and suddenly midyear, they have a sub or another rookie for the rest of the year. THAT happens ALL THE TIME. The incompetents weed themselves out.  Only the effective can survive.  A lot of crying twenty four year old women are involved in this process, miserable.”

The above comment makes the need for education reform even more forceful.  Again, that reinforces the need for a Michelle Rhee.  Diane Ravitch’s position on tolerating incompetent teachers especially hurts the future of those in inner city schools.  We are competing globally. Students and Teachers first please.

Jacques Moise Thimothee {Virginia and Maryland Commercial - Residential Real Estate}

Millionaire Match Verified

Maryland - Virginia Real Estate listing agent.



  1. I like her way better than Rhea.

  2. I can understand both viewpoints. Michelle Rhea was just draconian like in her approach.

  3. How do I search for your post on Margaret spellings? Also, when I try to comment I cannot log in under my user name. It forces me to select posting as anonymous. Maybe my computer has a virus. I, unlike those people above think that Ravitch is so out of touch.

  4. I am glad because they make me so angry. It is Rhee. Not that I care. She is a boil on the butt of education. She has done more harm than any administrator I can name. Ravitch is correct in her assessment that we will have dual schools in 10 years. Washington State will eventually get charter schools although we have voted them down 3 times before (as Bob Valiant writes "follow the money"). That means that public schools will become the alternative schools and charter schools will have siphoned off the white, rich, motivated students for what? Note the word white in the previous sentence! Research states that the gifted students are not served by segregation but the slow students are served by integration. Michelle Rhee represents everything that is wrong with our system. She is so happy to be the poster child for school deform that she does not realize that she is a puppet for corporate greed. Maybe she expects Gates or Koch bros etc to make her rich. Has she sold our society out for money? Thanks for bringing this up.

  5. So, Michelle's thesis is that American teachers are holding back their best efforts until they are more highly compensated? That's pretty cynical. 2012-08-14 09:30:33

  6. When is the next article?

  7. BS 2012-08-17 18:07:00

    It is time for citizens to ask what tests? What do they measure? Who made them? Who grades them? What effect do they have on reality? The tests and their misinterpretation are the problem. Corporate has turned education into a sport and if your team doesn't win the competition than you are bad. To follow this analogy all losing coaches should be fired and replaced by newbys. But the skillset to win a particular contests is a narrow skillset and only serves a small range of real skills. Test taking is a small skillset that measures only a small range of skills. This is insane. Swedish students do better on the tests than we do but Sweden has 2.3% poverty. It is similar in Finland. I just read a report on a school in NY that has 93 poverty. Poverty is the single most prevelent indicator of learner's success or failure. That's a fact! It is time to stop the BS!

  8. Do we have a Michelle Rhee Vs; Ravitch?