Her support for our film (The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman) criticizing charters and the testing and the anti-teacher moves of the deformers, was critical in its success.
I was reminiscing with Leonie Haimson the other day on our trip to Albany (Class Size Lawsuit: A Trip to Albany WIth Leonie) about the big anti-BloomKlein rally at St. Vartan church on February 28, 2007, I believe an early turning point of sorts when Diane Ravitch with her presence at that event made it clear she was joining the education wars -- and quickly rose to lead the battle. Diane's rep had been as a long time supporter for the pre-ed deform agenda. She has commented that as a policy person she was looking at system from the sky and once she touched based with people on the ground she saw things from a different perspective.
The UFT played a major role in organizing the rally, pulling out the Unity Caucus machine and filling an overflow crowd of over a thousand people ---- but it became clear that this was just a tactic to bring Klein to the table for a compromise deal not to go after ed deform.
If the UFT had built on the Feb. 28 event and held the May 1 massive rally, the story of the Bloomberg years in education may have been different. I believe UFT complicity and weakness in the face of the charter school movement played a major role.
If we are turning the tide on ed deformers, the role Ravitch (and Leonie) have played have been major and more important than our tepid union.
Here was a report of I posted not long after the rally:
.....the famous anti BloomKlein rally at St. Vartan's church on Feb. 28, 2007 (see videos here and here) where every anti-BloomKlein activist in the city gathered, including some leaders of the CPACs.
It was the first time I met Patrick Sullivan and Diane Ravitch. Leonie Haimson and her listserve played an extremely active role in getting people out. After pressing Leonie to start a blog for quite some time, she informed me that night the NYC Parent blog was a "go"- see Leonie's report in one of her first blog posts: Rally to Put the Public Back into Public Education. The idea that came out of that event was to organize a massive rally on May 1, 2007 to show the world, which had been praising BloomKlein, there was serious opposition.
But the UFT organized the Feb 28 event, which could have turned into a major springboard to oppose the mayor. The threat the May 1 rally threat brought Tweed to the table. But both Tweed and the UFT are never to be trusted and the rally was cancelled in exchange for crumbs and even these agreements were violated.
I took footage of City Councilman Robert Jackson's speech at the rally organized by the UFT at St. Vartan Church on Feb. 28. He lays a whole bunch of truth on BloomKlein.
(I had to do a lot of ducking around the crowds so excuse the shaky video.)