Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gary Rubinstein Rolls Steve Brill

We will look back at the remedies proposed by the reformers the way we now look back at the use of leeches to cure diseases. --- Gary Rubinstein
Two common critiques of high-achieving charter schools are that they get their results though “cherry picking” and attrition. --- GR

I admire Gary Rubinstein, who teaches at Stuyvesant HS in NYC because unlike my rants he goes after the ed deformers in a reasoned and analytical manner, taking apart the platform of the ed deform (which he terms anti-reform) one plank at a time. As Gary pulls out nail after nail, the entire structure begins to topple. As a 20 year alum of Teach for America who is still in the classroom, Gary has enormous credibility.

Here he takes on the almost farcical Steve Brill, who I believe should publish data reports on his performance as a lawyer. Gary takes apart Brill's book of distortion, "Class Warfare" point by point. Really brilliant work.

Those of us organizing the GEM/Class Size/Parents Across America April 17 are proud to have Gary join Carol Burris, Arthur Goldstein and Leonie Haimson on the panel.

Gary concludes his devastating review with this hopeful analysis:
I feel certain that the reformers will lose this battle but in doing so might have actually caused something good to happen.  With propaganda like ‘Waiting For Superman’ and ‘Class Warfare’ they have awakened the proverbial sleeping giant.  Anti-reformers are now operating with a new sense of urgency as they band together to fight these well meaning, but hopelessly ignorant, interlopers.  Giving a sense of urgency to the anti-reformers who can pursue authentic research-based reform might be the silver lining here.

Fifty years from now it will be interesting to reread this book with the hindsight of what happened.  I believe that soon the ed reform ‘bubble’ will burst.  All the invented gains will be exposed and those who participated in the cover up will be banished to obscurity.  We all will finally realize that early childhood education is a much worthier investment of money than test prep and accountability.  We will give up on ‘value-added’ measures when we realize that they will be too costly to ever be accurate enough to tell us anything better than principal observations already do. We will look back at the remedies proposed by the reformers the way we now look back at the use of leeches to cure diseases.
Excerpts from Gary Rubinstein's

My review of ‘Class Warfare’ in the Journal of School Choice

This is a preprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the Journal of School Choice © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC; the Journal of School Choice is available online at:

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