Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Diane Ravitch asks: do we live in an age of stupidity or insanity?

On Saturday, at an event sponsored by the Chicago's Teacher Union, Diane Ravitch asked, do we live in an age of insanity or stupidity? Vote to the right!

To a crowd of over 500, including mostly teachers and interim Schools CEO Terry Mazany, Diane criticized the multibillion-dollar testing industry, charters, Teach for America, and turnaround management organizations.

Catalyst magazine described it this way:

In a speech that painted a dismal picture of the intensifying attacks against teachers in many states around the country but was also a call for teachers to remain united and engaged, Ravitch relayed an alarming account of recent and proposed measures to downsize teaching staffs and increase class sizes.

“I’ve wondered, given all the talk of school reform and seeing how it’s playing out in the media and legislature, do we live in an age of national insanity or is it an age of national stupidity.....All across the country, we have governors and legislatures and philanthropists telling us we must reform our schools at the same time they’re cutting the education budget and refusing to raise taxes on the people who have money..”
Please vote on the sidebar to the right: insanity or stupidity? You can also answer undecided or don't know. You be the judge! And then leave a comment explaining your vote below.

15 comments:

caroline said...

Where's the "both" option?

reality-based educator said...

I'm with Caroline. I wanted to vote "both."

Leonie Haimson said...

I'm sorry guys, its too late to change the poll. I actually think its willful ignorance myself.

thanks,

Bob said...

I voted "stupidity" but would have voted for both.

zulma said...

I would have provided the spanish version: poco loco en el coco!

Mr. Luna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...

Definitely want to vote BOTH! :)

NYC Educator said...

I was going to write exactly what Caroline wrote. Too tough to choose.

CityPragmatist said...

Ignorance and greed.

Gary Babad said...

This is too hard. How come we didn't get test prep for this exam?

Jim Horn said...

These guys are neither stupid nor insane. This is a calculated plan that has been in the works since Reagan came to town.

The pending anti-teacher bills speeding through legislative committees in Nashville, Columbus, Trenton, and other state capitols have finally stripped away the fig leaf of “reform” that has previously tried to cover an otherwise naked attempt to achieve corporate control of K-12 education. The harsh measures against teachers, children, and their schools have never been about real achievement or real accountability or real choices or even real “economic competition in the global economy,” per the mantra of the Business Roundtable. The great majority of the increasingly-draconian reforms have deformed our schools, in fact, as they serve to mask takeover and control strategies that have placed a stranglehold on teachers and principals and school boards who work in pressure cookers as they strive to achieve the unachievable that gets even more so with each testing season.

When Gerald Bracey, David Berliner, and a handful of other researchers and educators began saying 10 years ago that NCLB was designed to created failed schools, most people wrote them off as nuts. Now that understanding of the impossible Adequate Yearly Progress targets is common wisdom among school board members, parents, and, yes, even some politicians who see that Adequate Yearly Progress has always meant progress toward dismantling public schools. Teachers of poor children have known this in their souls since 2002, but most of them have been so busy trying to perform the impossible that they have not had the time or energy to look inside the political realities that have driven these deforming reforms.

The NCLB chimera with its social justice and civil rights packaging has disguised for too long a monstrous assault on the most vulnerable that leaves achievement gaps gaping as more of the test and punish reforms turn urban teachers against their students, whose scores will determine if their teachers keeps their jobs. We are reminded, finally, at this late date that NCLB represents the vehicle for the realization of the Reagan education agenda for replacing public education with “free market solutions.” Not new, not a conspiracy, just an agenda forgotten in all the lovely rhetoric about not leaving children behind. A soft padding for a hard fist, which exactly describes the corporate KIPPs and the KIPP knock-offs that will replace the urban public schools unless citizens decide otherwise.

The problem now for the corporate reformers is that the takeover of public education is not happening fast enough, as Americans are sick and growing sicker of the years of strong-arm tactics that have left their children hating school, stressed out, and less prepared for the tests of living—or for competing in the global economy, which was, indeed, exported by the oligarchs some years back as they declared new education disasters. And thus the bare-knuckled actions of Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin and the radicals of the Tennessee Legislature, which finally make the naked realities impossible to ignore any longer.

Jim Horn said...

why did you remove my comment, may I ask?

Jim Horn

Anonymous said...

The politicians and their billionaire supporters are megalomaniac demagogues who skillfully manipulate and convince the public they are working in their best interests. It's the public that is STUPID for "going along" and not having the intelligence and courage to stand up to them.

Woe to the next generation of test takers who lack the critical thinking skills to understand how they are being manipulated and used.

Ms. Tsouris said...

I am with RBE, Caroline,and NYC Ed....both!!

new york city acting schools said...

I'm sorry guys, its too late to change the poll. I actually think its willful ignorance myself.