Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Comment on Ravitch Defense of Randi

I support your choice in defending Randi (Why I Defend Randi). When you changed your mind the turnaround has had an immense impact. But you as an academic affected policy. Randi's positions had a direct impact on the working conditions of teachers. As a union leader her pushing of positions that turned out to be wrong emasculated the union membership's ability to fight back against the forces attacking public education. She bears some major responsibility in helping enable NCLB and especially RTTT.

As members of the local union she led for a decade and the national union she now leads we have an obligation to question the kind of decision making that led to so many turn-arounds on poor decisions that not just affect us theoretically but the very nature of what public education has come to mean. I can speak as one who as far back as the late 90s and early oughts urged the Randi to take a position on high stakes testing with resolutions I put up at the Delegate Assembly only to get the most adamant defense of those practices that have so harmed us. I should point out that I raised the story of Chicago where the process began in 1995 and by 2002 around the time Arne Duncan replaced Paul Valas we had enough info to make an informed decision. Yet Randi continued to make deformer decisions and crippled the one organization with the resources that had the capability to lead the fight. With this latest turnaround my sense is she should hold a Chris Christie like press conference and apologize to every AFT union member for the entire enchilada of errors. I would forgive her but never trust any of her decisions in the future to be correct, given her past.

One of my teacher friends just posted this:
"Good that she's changed her mind. But she needs to use her position to ACT. She needs to speak to Obama and Duncan. She needs to sit down with Cuomo and Tisch and King. She needs to pull our districts out. She needs to apologize for the horrible contracts she helped negotiate. We in the trenches have this CCLS yolk around our necks. Our children are being crippled academically and teachers are being rated under them. Those, like Randi, who can should get to those powers and get education...public, private and otherwise back on track and demand the funding and changes in economics that will make education the best it can be across this country. Sitting on a panel defending herself is not going to bring about change!"


  1. Randi is full of shit. Diane can defend her as much as she wants. I am a Newark teacher and I eat the results of her ineptitude and unwillingness to listen every day. I also pay her money.

  2. I have confronted Dr. Ravitch on her site on several occasions about her support for Weingarten.

    There have been few figures over the past 14 years who have had as much of a detrimental impact on public education was Weingarten has. Her posturings as coming from the trenches when her teaching at Barton was almost non-existant is insulting enough, her villifying of people who rightly condemned here for her anti-teacher stance is an absolute abomination.

  3. You wanted to know how to detect a person that is full of themselves? They (or he) uses a word like oughts.

  4. Well done, Norm. Thank you.

  5. I think Ravitch opens a full can of worms every time she writes a defense of Randi which she seems to do every few months. And this post put me on edge because it was from a former post months ago. Why not just comment on the original thread? I saw no need to repost any of this.
    And while I agree with you that Diane has no clue as to what she has done to teachers although she does know how she has weakened public ed, I am always surprised by how people will defend Randi when in fact they know nothing about her. I may like Ravitch, but I certainly am not afraid to disagree with her.

    I am so glad you wrote something given the fact that she cheered VAM from day one. I understand from my sources she is not happy with the early childhood Common Core curriculum either. Well maybe she should have gone over the curriculum with a fine-tooth comb before endorsing it!

  6. I just read a great editorial in The Civil-Service Chief-Leader (Jan. 10th). Richard Steiner rightly points out that "strong" unions like the UFT have not supported New or "weaker" unions like the daycare workers union-or do I also dare say, the school bus drivers/matrons union. I think I even remember the UFT crossing a picked line at a hotel to hold a conference/convention. All unions have to stand together! We've seen the effect of divisiveness. If the leaders are not representing us, then we must elect new ones.


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