Educational Reform Wars


    The recent online debate between Diane Ravitch and her old buddy Chester Finn has drawn attention to the Klein/Rhee/Sharpton/Ed in 08 narrow vision of ed reform (get rid of tenure and all will be well) and the broader, bolder approach of Rothstein/ et al. Ravitch has joined in with the latter.

    Check out these posts on the 2 visions of ed reform from Fred Klonsky at Prea Prez here and here.

    Klonsky ends with:

    To me there is great value of the emergence of these two clearly defined and clearly different visions. Some, even in our own union movement want to straddle the fence. But this will be hard to do. People will be asking,

    Which side are you on?

    Readers of Ed Notes will note that in our view, the UFT/AFT has not only tried to straddle the fence but has one foot in the Klein camp. How else to judge their actions in Chicago, New York, and now Washington in signing on to many of the narrow vision schemes like merit pay, extended days, signing on to "we'll help get rid of bad teachers" without strengthening protections for the rest?

    After I posted this, I came across this particularly unfair piece from Alexander Russo on the contract negotiations in Washington, where you can take anything out of context. I guess we know which side Russo is on. My comment:

    Of course Nightline focused on vending machines instead of negotiating sessions on things like class size. Not to say that if things like basic conditions for teachers weren't negotiated, Rhee would have them using outhouses for bathrooms. Also note who funds Nightline and JohnMerrow: Broad and Gates and all the othe players on the Rhee/Joel Klein team.

    With DC's union chief George Parker about to set a dangerous precedent by giving away the store to Rhee, watch the actions of new AFT president Weingarten: silence, fence-straddling or outright support. But don't look for broader, bolder leadership.

    Note: Commenting on the Prea Prez blog seems to require one to log on with a word press account, which I don't have. So if you can't comment there, leave one here.

    And on a personal note, I recently realized that I met Klonsky's daughter at NYCORE meetings a few years ago. Sometimes it seems there's 2 degrees of separation between educational activists.

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Educational Reform Wars

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