Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Deborah and Diane

Check out this wonderful piece by Diane Ravitch addressed to Deb Meier at their blog.

Did We Bridge Our Differences?

Deb was a hero of mine from my early days as a teacher as I experimented with an open classroom. I wanted to check out her work in the early 70's but never got to do it. I only got to meet her at a symposium at NYU on the Shanker bio in Sept. 2007. Diane was also on that panel (interesting that it was Shanker who introduced Diane and Deb in the 80's). I had been introduced to Diane by Leonie at the big St. Vartas church rally in Feb. 2007. I was taken aback since I had heard she was on the other side.

While I was not too aware of Diane as a controversial figure, my friends in the anti-testing community had viewed Diane Ravitch as being in the enemy camp. Indeed, when I posted that she was to receive the John Dewey Award at a UFT Spring conference I received an email from the late Jerry Bracey asking if we were going to picket.

Now, of course, Diane has become a major hero for so many teachers. But Deb as part of this remarkable blogging duo has also maintained her status as a major progressive educator. (Diane's post touches on many of the issues that divided them but I will comment in a follow-up to this post.)

Interesting that it took watching many of her ideas put into effect and distorted for Diane to see where things could lead, while people like Deb could see it coming from the classroom perspective years before.

I know so many teachers that Diane has reached out to and they have been thrilled to hear from her.
One thing I noticed as I read the introduction to Diane's book and how she saw the light: I knew that stuff 30 years ago from seeing the impact of high stakes testing on my school, my students and my colleagues. How does such a smart lady miss that? But she answers that as looking from an airplane can distort things. Diane deserves credit for seeing that research alone isn't enough but day-to-day teacher experience - the much maligned anecdotal - are never to be discounted.

Yes, I am from the "Don' need no stinkin' research school."


Also read Diane's great review of Waiting for Superman:

The Myth of Charter Schools


Don't forget to check out tonight's radio show (unfortunately I have rehearsals for The Odd Couple). I hope you heard last week's show with Leonie. Both Arthur Goldstein and Diane Ravitch called in. Congrats to South Bronx Teacher who has gone from totally snarky to a major force in the anti-ed deform blogging and now radio world, while maintaining his humor and snarkiness. His continued growth and influence has been a pleasure to watch.

Fidgety Teach will be guest on South Bronx teacher radiocast Tuesday night at 9pm

She is Rubber Room inmate and now in purgatory at Court St. due to the vindictiveness of Kristine Mustillio.

Fidgety is a menschette.

The story about what was done is here:


The link to the radio show is here:



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