Thursday, March 3, 2011

Goin' to a Party

What could be a better birthday gift for a Real Reformer than going to a viewing party later tonight for Diane Ravitch's appearance on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show?" Well, it wasn't all too easy to make this happen and required more delicate negotiations than a Bloomberg/UFT contract. Or a settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

You see, birthdays are a big thing for my wife and tonight she is taking me out to "One if by Land, Two if by Sea" on Barrow St. where I get to nibble on my yearly dose of Beef Wellington.

So, when Leonie announced Class Size Matters was hosting a viewing party tonight from 9:30-11:30 [NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE BELOW] with Diane as the guest at the Hotel Benjamin and since we'll be in the city anyway and since dinner will be over by 9 - hmmmmm.

I opened up negotiations with a woman who I am about to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary with - a woman who has had it up to here over my ed obsession even 9 years after I retired.

I was forceful: "It's my birthday," I whined.

I tried bribery: "You don't even have to get my birthday eclair this year." (I got 4 of them - yum.)

I was persuasive. "Leonie needs me to tape it."

I was suave. "Think how much more romantic I will be on our upcoming anniversary trip to Paris."

Finally, I used charm: "I'm spending 2 hours each way driving to Philly to visit your brother's daughter and granddaughter on Saturday. Don't I get something for doing it?"

See you tonight.

Ahhhh, the art of negotiation.

The Club Room, Affinia Hotel
155 East 50th Street
New York, NY 10022
50th and 3rd

Alexander Russo tries to take down Ravitch - over changing her mind- but doesn't address the content of what she is saying.

Sharon left a comment:
At least Ravitch is willing to talk about the exceedingly high U.S. child poverty rate and its effects, and understands that urban public schools are dealing with an even higher proportion of suffering children from that group -- more now than ever before.
For some reason, Duncan, Obama, and the others don't seem to be willing to utter one meaningful word about the topic. Talk about having one's head in the sand!
Just under the warped, manipulative, and undemocratic approach of the big education "venture philanthropists" (Ravitch's Billionaire Boys Club framing is perfect), the biggest problem I have with the reformers is how they seem to live in a fantasy world where the effects of poverty don't matter. They seem to think public schools and their teachers are somehow powerful enough ("if they only tried!" - stomp feet, stomp feet, stomp feet) to overcome those effects. They come off as silly romantics who believe, in their heart of hearts, that EVERY single American child who suffers from the nightmare consequences of lifelong and generational poverty could become upper-middle class -- if only the teacher unions were all dead and charter schools reined the world. And if isn't happening fast enough, too many of these are people perfectly willing to resort to expressions of contempt.
I am so sick of Gates, Bloomberg, Rhee, Canada, Duncan, Oprah, Kopp, John Legend, etc. being given so much primetime airtime to spout off their side. At long last, tonight the world will get to hear a different point of view.
Maybe TDS should get started on lining up Richard Rothstein next.
I left this comment:
Content, content, content Alexander. I saw you at Ravitch's appearance at the Parents Across America event where she spoke for 38 minutes. She laid out a blueprint on the failures of the ed deform movement - boom, boom, boom. one after another. Now in this post you have not one word about the content but it's all about her changing her mind and how certain she is. Where do you stand on what she was saying? Why not address those points - What if I said the same things Diane does - which I do and I was a critic of hers before her conversion. I have always been certain. But so what if Ravitch saw the light? I put up a video of her at PAA - maybe watch it again and address what she was saying, not her certainty in saying it.
And by the way, maybe I missed it but I didn't notice anything posted by you about that event. How about the Seattle, Chicago (which you should know) or the New Orleans story where parent "choice" has come down to KIPP or KIPP? Which by the way, many of we critics of charters have been predicting with much certainty is what the charter game is all about.


  1. Your last negotiation with your wife was great.

  2. Not only does Russo ignore the substance of Ravitch's critique, he criticizes her certainty of opinion, while minimizing the overbearing arrogance of the small group of people underwriting the takeover of the schools.

    If possession is nine-tenths of the law, then it is also nine-tenths of mental and ideological market share: Gates, Broad and the rest purchase their credibility and buy up policy-making real estate. Their premises become the default narrative (failing public schools, venal unions, lazy, overpaid teachers), while contending opinions try to pitch a tent on the less- policed outskirts of the media. And, like in Russo's analysis, the shortcomings of those in power are projected onto their opponents.

  3. The link to the PAA speech is broken. Could you please fix the link?


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