UPDATE Nov. 1
See Leonie Haimson and NY Sun article below showing Wylde's NY Post article aided by Tweed - thanks to reporting by one of our favorite reporters, Elizabeth Green. Yo, Wyldewoman, who's the one without integrity now? And to David Cantor, Tweed head of public relations: want to see a good file? Check out Bloomberg's file on sexual harrassment. Finally! Holy crap - I'm on the same side as Randi Weingarten and Sol Stern on this one. Gotta get my head x-rayed.
Bloomberg hack & flack Kathryn Wylde, one of those dilettantes dabbling in educational policy as president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, went wild in a vicious attack on Ravitch’s integrity for her daring to say the union bested BloomKlein. The wild Wylde writes, “When it comes to public education in NYC [Ravitch is] no longer a source we can rely on for fair-minded commentary.” Wylde wrote this in the NY Post, that paragon of fair-minded commentary.
While I agree with Wylde that this was not a win for the union, her attack on Ravitch is a sign of how critics of Ravitch’s stature are getting under the BloomKlein skin. And while I often disagree with Ravitch, I have absolutely no doubt about her integrity and indeed, have increasing respect for her for her stand on BloomKlein.
UPDATE from Leonie Haimson and NY Sun below
- Yesterday, the NY Post published an oped by Kathy Wylde, head of the NYC Partnership, which claims to represent all the business interests in this city. The oped was a blistering, personal attack on Diane Ravitch.
Clearly, the administration has decided that they cannot stand any dissent but are now using Wylde and the NYC Partnership as their attack dogs. It’s becoming like the Nixon White House with their enemy lists -- and our taxpayer money is paying for this!
Please write a letter to the NY post in defense of Diane and her courage and integrity in speaking up for our kids, when so many others have been cowed into submission. letters@nypost.
- The administration’s dishonesty was also in evidence in their attempt to obscure the fact that on their own parent survey, class size came out as the number one concern of parents from throughout the city. As recounted in articles in the NY Times, Post, and on our blog, the Mayor actually claimed that “enrichment” came out over two to one over class size, whereas smaller classes were chosen by 24% of parents, compared to enrichment at 19%.
There’s a lot more fascinating detail in his analysis --check it out at
We need people like Diane, strong enough to stand up to the bullies in this administration, more than ever before.
Feud 'Twixt Wylde, Ravich Laid to City's Machinations
BY ELIZABETH GREEN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
October 31, 2007
A scathing opinion piece deriding a prominent critic of Mayor Bloomberg's education policies was generated with the help of city officials, sources said yesterday.
The article, written by the president of the Partnership for
Ms. Ravitch yesterday said the piece plainly originated from the city's Education Department, calling it a "paid hit job" meant to silence all critics of the Bloomberg administration. "They're trying to intimidate me, and they're trying to silence me, and I'm not going to be silenced," Ms. Ravitch said.
Ms. Wylde said the idea for the piece was her own, but that she wrote it with the help of a research file composed by the Education Department that chronicles Ms. Ravitch's policy positions over the years. The seven-page document, titled "Diane Ravitch: Then and Now," tallies quotations by Ms. Ravitch on nearly a dozen topics, comparing comments she made in the 1990s to statements in recent years.
A spokesman for the department, David Cantor, defended the decision to make a file on Ms. Ravitch. "She's the most influential educational commentator probably in the
A former education aide to President George H.W. Bush who has written numerous books on American education, including the definitive history of the
Ms. Wylde's article accuses her of abandoning former support for more than a handful of policies, including merit-based pay for teachers; increased autonomy for principals; standardized testing as a way to set high expectations for achievement, and even the belief that every child is capable of academic success — all points that appeared in "Diane Ravitch: Then and Now." The reversals, Ms. Wylde writes, "seem more tied to her unhappiness with the personalities in the Bloomberg administration than its policies."
Ms. Ravitch condemned the characterization of "an odd Ravitch turnaround," saying it is grounded in misunderstanding.
The moment her disagreements with Mr. Bloomberg and his schools chancellor, Joel Klein, emerged, she said, exemplifies the point. She had indeed long argued for setting a single standard curriculum in the schools, but when Mr. Klein implemented a new reading curriculum around the idea of "balanced literacy," Ms. Ravitch said she balked. Balanced literacy is a method of teaching that mixes phonics and other approaches, but Ms. Ravitch said she had never meant to advocate for a standardized pedagogy. What she wanted, she said, was a single curriculum mandating, for instance, when to teach American history.
Ms. Ravitch said her support for standardized testing has not wavered, either, though she has sniffed at Mr. Klein's emphasis on tests. She said that is because she has lost confidence in the ability of local and state governments to administer fair and reliable tests — the temptation to let political interests affect results is too strong. She said she still supports a national test.
Ms. Ravitch said her most serious concern with the Bloomberg administration is the way it responds to dissent. She said that many educators who are professionally reliant on support from the city, through grants or contracts, fear voicing any differing opinions.
"It's a very sad situation, when people don't feel free to speak their mind," she said.
"The Legislature eliminated the independent board; they eliminated the community boards, and now the mayor and the chancellor are trying to shut down all independent critics," she added. "That's dangerous to democracy."
Ms. Wylde disputed that characterization, citing the city's recent agreements with the teachers and principals unions over merit-based pay as evidence of its ability to cooperate with critics.
She said she and city officials have mulled their frustration with Ms. Ravitch for years, but she said the Bloomberg administration did not ask her to write the article. She said she decided to write it herself after Ms. Ravitch published an opinion piece criticizing a program to bring merit-based pay to public schools — a plan that Ms. Wylde's Partnership is partially financing. She said the attack was reminiscent of other critiques Ms. Ravitch has made against programs supported by the Partnership, which Ms. Wylde said she also felt were unfair.
"The largest fund-raising we have undertaken are in public education," she said. "It's damaging to those projects, to our fund-raising efforts."
The president of the teachers union, Randi Weingarten, said Ms. Wylde's article offended her. "Anybody worth his or her salt in education has been both criticized and praised by Diane Ravitch," Ms. Weingarten said. "That voice should not be silenced."