Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ravitching and moaning

You would think I'd had enough of education historian Diane Ravitch in my social studies education classes (she usually plays the role of villain). But no! Ravitch opines today on religious freedom in the NY Post and on NY State tests/NAEP discrepancies in the NY Daily News.


NYC Educator said...

What has Ravitch ever doen to make you see her as a villain? Apart from a few questionable employers, perhaps.

I adore her.

julie said...

Hi NYC Educator,

It's not that I necessarily see her as a villain (although I don't agree with everything she writes). But in my education classes her writings are often paired up with more "progressive" social studies articles, and the implication is that "we don't agree with her here."

NYC Educator said...

That's unfortunate, IMHO. I've read Ravitch rail against the hyposcrisy of Klein and his predecessors in the war against NY teachers. I've seen her breathe fire when merit pay was suggested in place of paying teachers fairly.

And, while I am very much to the left politically, I'm very much at odds with those who insist every new trendy approach to education supplants absolutely everything that precedes it.

I like new approaches, when they make sense to me, but I can't for the life of me figure why they need to be the only possible way, and they seem to invariably be presented as such.

I've been teaching twenty years, and I've been to countless staff training days where I was told this is the only way to do things, only to see whatever it was replaced by the next year's model.

"You must have portfolios."

"Portfolios are out."

Klein's prescription of teaching for ten minutes, and then letting adolescent children "discover" the rest may work sometimes, but it's absolutely fatal to do it all the time without exception.

This is what happens when you put non-teachers in charge of education. Chancellor Joel would not last long in a real city school.

Ravitch knows that. It's sad that many education professors, apparently, do not.

Mine didn't either.