Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One on One With Diane Ravitch and Deb Meier

Diane Ravitch and Deb Meier knock it out of the park in an interview with GEM for the upcoming film, The Inconvenient Truth Behind High Stakes Testing.

Diane Ravitch will be on Brian Lehrer today to counter the infomercial interview he did with Michelle Rhee last week. I'm a fan of Lehrer and though he did toss in a few tough comments, there was no real challenge to Rhee, though a parent and principal did get in a few shots. At one point Brian called her Dr. Rhee, maybe confusing her with Dr. MengeRhee, the German butcher of WW II.

Well anyway, when I heard she was going to be on, I rushed to edit the interview I did last week with Diane for our new movie (The Inconvenient Truth Behind High Stakes Testing).

What a treat! building Bridges one-on-one with Diane Ravitch and Debbie Meier, the two rock stars of the real reform movement within a few days of each other. (One dream is to get them next to each other and just turn on the camera.) Both interviews cover a lot of ground with Deb talking about the impact on kids and Diane on policy, really the essence of what they both do so well.

Diane was between trips for a day or two and was so gracious in giving us time last Monday morning. Our meeting was scheduled at Brooklyn Borough Hall for 10AM so I got there 20 minutes early. It was a beautiful day and there were little green tables in front of the steps so it made sense to not waste her time searching for an indoor location (when Debbie and tried it at Starbucks the noise was impossible). Besides, the setting with a park in the background looked so good.

It didn't take me long to notice it was a bit windy. And not much longer before a 40 mile an hour gust practically blew me away. OMG! The film crew will kill me if I mess this up. I pulled a table over to the side of the steps to give us some shelter and I also had a remote mic - luckily since I often use a mic mounted on the camera. You can hear the wind, but most of the interview is clear except for a few spots where the wind gusted.

Diane arrived promptly at 10 wearing a cool leather jacket and jeans. She truly did look like a rock star. She said we should have done the interview in front of 110 Livingston St., the old DOE HQ and a major topic of one of her books but we figured we would have to buy a condo first.

With the wind tousling her hair she shakes, rattles and rolls through 20 minutes of comments on high stakes testing. (I tried to edit out my whiny voice where possible.) See below for the Deb Meier interview. where she nails what education should be about. I also had the treat of talking to her off camera about open classrooms as Deb was a hero of mine when I was teaching and struggling with that concept in the 70's.


And in case you missed it, here is my 10 minutes with Deb Meier a few days before which I wrote about previously here.


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