Sunday, August 18, 2013

Diane Ravitch--Sound-byte, Red-meat Politics Without Logic

A year and a half ago I wrote about my evening listening to keynote speaker Diane Ravitch here in Sacramento.  Joanne has a new post up about Ravitch, whose modus operandi hasn't changed at all:
Ravitch presents her new book, Reign of Error, as “an overture to dialogue with opponents, but her subtitle suggests otherwise: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools,” writes Mosle...

Her tour of the research is littered with bumper-sticker slogans—she indicts, for example, the “Walmartization of American education”—likely to put off the unconverted. The book reads like a campaign manual against “corporate reformers.”
Read my post, then Joanne's, and you'll note that Ravitch can only play one chord, and that chord is anger.  You want logic?  You want reason?  You want common ground?  You won't find any of those with Ravitch.

1 comment:

allen (in Michigan) said...

Unfortunately, the Atlantic piece is as much about Sarah Mosle as it is about Diane Ravitch. Between the two Ravitch's got some 'splainin' to do. Sarah Mosle's just dealing herself into the game because the Atlantic's, along with many other media outlets, editorial policy encourages narcissism.

Still, even in this spat between two lefties the fault line on the left over education shows up. Most gratifying.

With regard to Ravitch, the only explanation I can come up with is that she's an academic in the mold of John Maynard Keynes and Micheal Mann - less interested in scholarship then in self-promotion.

With an overwhelming, and largely unquestioned, status quo the pose of iconoclast got her the notoriety she needed to stand out. Never mind that her insights were trivial and useless to the formation of policy. She was very able at criticizing the arrangement of the deck chairs on the S. S. Public Education, thus entertaining and really, what else was there? The public education system in its then current form was beyond questioning except by the likes of Milton Friedman and Diane Ravitch is no Milton Friedman.

But times have changed and the likes of Diane Ravitch, having no interest in public education other then what it can do for her, has to change with it. Where the pose of iconoclast was once profitable, now with the changing of the political winds, it's adherent that looks more promising. After all, the public education lobby still has very substantial resources and the threat to its hegemony becomes realer every day. Survival does uncork even tightly sealed wallets so Diane has her epipheny and is welcomed with open arms by those she previously belabored. Ain't politics grand?