Saturday, July 28, 2012


I included Randi's intro which is pretty good but you can move the slider if you want to skip it. I didn't even have to bother as I saw Randi tweeted the official speech which is better video since mine is from the screen.

Diane Ravitch at the AFT from Grassroots Education Movement on Vimeo.

Here are my tweets for some of her great quotes - in reverse order:

Stop Walmartization of pub education. U will persist, your cause is just and u will win. Thank u. Standing O. 
bad things don't go on forever and when it collapses u will be there to celebrate the end of reign of error.
Louisiana props, Texans school bds oppose high stakes testing. Deform in Tex and will end there.
Florida - parents/tchrs beat parent trigger law - calls it parent tricker law. Props to Fla.
Stay strong UTLA
props to Chicago TU for beating Rahm - 98% yes strike. Way to go CTU. HOPE
Carrots and sticks for donkeys not professionals. Props to UFT for beating Bloomberg on 24 schools. Best - took judge 7 minutes
tchr need to be eval by prof principals not by those who took one yr course. Loudest cheers.
ravitch -do most to fix schools: open health clinic in every school
Merit pay- as it you aren't trying. Never worked, doesn't work. Raise scores if threaten to cut off tchr fingers
There is much irony that so many classroom teachers see Diane as their hero and defender, more than Randi. Lots of speculation on whether Diane will go full-blown or hold back something that might offend Randi. Word is she won't hold back. I included below NYC Educator's post "If Diane Ravitch Were UFT, She Wouldn't Be at AFT Convention" 
so we can keep a checklist on the following areas of contention:
  • Mayoral control
  • VAM
  • Common Core
  • Obama endorsement
2:11: Slideshow, Motown --- Temptations - Revolution, Randi: we should debate our fave Motown song. People calling out names. Randi: How about RESPECT?

2:25 Randi introducing Diane -- really good intro. Diane always supported public education even when she appeared to be advocating for other side. They don't always agree but Diane always about the truth.

Standing ovation.

Diane intros her partner Mary Butts, a former NYC teacher, principal and member of AFT. Thanks Randi for her work. AFT in forefront of struggle to protect pubed and middle class. Attack intense on tching profession, want to take away your professionalism and turn you into testing machines. If they take away collective barg rts they can cut funding to pubed and push charter chains. You face polit jugger that calls itself ed reform. Want to pursuade pub to abandon pub schls.

Firing teachers is not a school improvement strategy. Don't understand that pub schls fabric of comm. Cut out heart. Pub schls are not like shoe stores -- open and close.
Turnaround -- like happy dance around maypoll. staff fired,
AFT has stood tall agast HST. Tests should be used to eval.

Merit pay raise scores -- as it you aren't trying. Never worked, doesn't work.

Loss aversion insults dig of thchrs. Scores will go up if u cut off teacher fingers. Doctors - better care if cut pay?
VAM never used to fire teachers or award bonuses. Inaccurate, unreliable, ineffective.
Test scores infl more by families than tchrs.
 VAM=junk science

Single biggest predictor of test scores is family income. US highest poverty in west world - 25% - shame of nation. Reform say don't talk about pov, hlth - excuses. We must talk about poverty. why richest nation looks away from its children.

If Diane Ravitch Were UFT, She Wouldn't Be at AFT Convention

This week we've been examining precisely what it takes to represent the UFT at a national or state convention. The prime requirement, of course, is to be an invited member of the elite Unity Caucus, and to do that you must agree to support all union positions in public. Ravitch, though I like her very much, fails to meet the standard. Here's why.

1. She publicly opposes mayoral control. UFT supports it, and this alone would disqualify her. It's a long tradition to expel Unity members for failure to conform. In fact, Albert Shanker used to expel people for opposing the Vietnam War. Mayoral control is what brought us the rubber-stamp PEP, and I've seen high-ranking UFT officials get just as frustrated with them as most of us are. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and placing all that power in the hands of an elitist billionaire, let alone anyone at all, was a huge error. We ought to stop pretending otherwise.

2. Ravitch vehemently opposes VAM, and has publicly labeled it for the junk science it is. She does not support using it for teacher evaluations, not at any percentage. Standard union argument is that principal's judgment can be flawed, and therefore other measures are needed. I cannot really argue that point, nor the one that there are plenty of crazy principals out there, but adding random nonsense to the mix hardly helps. In fact, if you have a small-minded principal, it's likely this person could work to see your value-added scores scour the depths of whatever underworld whatever remains of the soul of Joel Klein has been relegated to.

3. Ravitch fails to support Common Core, contending it should be tested before it's put into effect. This makes perfect sense to me. In fact, with the AFT circulating a petition against excessive testing, before supporting it, wouldn't it be a good idea for us to find out precisely how much testing it will entail? The spectre of nine tests a year, to me, hardly bodes well. I'm upset by Common Core in that it does not differentiate between ELA for American-born kids and ESL for my students. To me, that's patently idiotic. Issues like these ought to be addressed before we throw our support to any program.

4. Ravitch is highly critical of union-endorsed President Barack Obama, going so far as to say he's given GW Bush a third term in education. UFT members won't be talking any of that when Vice President Joe Biden addresses the crowd in Detroit. When Obama's people applaud entire teaching staffs being fired, when Arne Duncan states Katrina was the best thing to happen to NOLA education, Obama says nothing, but Ravitch is not impressed.

I could go on, but you get the point. I commend the AFT for selecting Ravitch this year. She's a much better choice than Bill Gates.

On the other hand, it's not particularly admirable that UFT leadership has excluded absolutely every New York City teacher who publicly supports her ideas.

The opinions expressed on EdNotesOnline are solely those of Norm Scott and are not to be taken as official positions (though Unity Caucus/New Action slugs will try to paint them that way) of any of the groups or organizations Norm works with: ICE, GEM, MORE, Change the Stakes, NYCORE, FIRST Lego League NYC, Rockaway Theatre Co., Active Aging, The Wave, Aliens on Earth, etc.


  1. Randi's wrong - "Respect" isn't a Motown song - Otis Redding wrote it in 1965. Redding was a Stax recording artist. Stax Records was located in Memphis, Tennessee and had a much more freewheeling and authentic soul style than Motown. Supposedly the title and refrain for "Respect" came from a comment made by Booker T. and the MG's drummer Al Jackson when Redding complained about all the touring they were doing: "What are you griping about? You're on the road all the time. All you can look for is a little respect when you come home."

    Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records brought the song to Aretha Franklin in 1967. Franklin recorded it in NYC with the "famed" Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, adding the "Sock it to me..." part to the original for Atlantic.

    Neither Otis Redding nor Aretha Franklin recorded for Motown, though Franklin was from Detroit.

    And thank god for that - Motown Records, as run by Berry Gordy, was an authoritarian corporatist nightmare - musicians were exploited, art was sublimated to commercial crossover appeal (with a "white" audience in mind always), and individuals were dehumanized into machine cogs. Motown was quite successful, of course, but few people shared in that financial success. Berry Gordy, ruthless, ambitious and greedy, made sure of that.

    Frankly, Motown is a terrific analogue for the corporatist time we live in now, where individuals are dehumanized into machine cogs (or data points) and the work all comes from the people at the bottom but the money all goes to the guys at the top.

    I prefer Stax Records to Motown any day.

  2. I don't trust Randi. When she hosted a book party for Brill, it was because he was nice to her in the book. It made no difference to Randi that he horribly criticized Ravitch (Randi's friend).

    People at the AFT convention are really hiding their heads in the sand on this one. Did they forget about Gates so quickly? Did they forget how Randi embraced Ron Paige, Arnie Duncan, Bloomberg, Joel Klien, and Eli Broad??? This woman has blood on her hands.


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