More on Ravitch

Just now I read how Ravitch interviewed the former director of curriculum in San Diego under the reform administration. She told Ravitch how amazed she was that fourth graders did not know the difference between point of view and perspective.
Ravitch writes that she wrote the two words down b/c, she admitted, she herself did not know the difference. It was an example of how much this particular reform effort (Bersin/Alvarado) stressed jargon.

BTW, I got a little upset b/c Ravitch appeared, in a footnote, to link The Manufactured Crisis to efforts to paint the A Nation At Risk report as a precursor to privatization efforts and an attack from the right. I wrote her an e-mail and reminded her that while her work was being used to beat people like me about the head, Berliner and Biddle, the authors of Manufactured Crisis, gave me evidence to fight the attacks on American education. She wrote back and told me Berliner had written her a very nice letter on this issue and she ended by saying that current means of improvement will only demoralize teachers and destroy Am education.

So far, from reading her book, she appears to agree with the many studies which say that if you don’t get teacher buy-in and give respect to teachers, your reforms will not work. She herself went to San Diego after reading all the conflicting reports and studies and actually talked to everyone involved – parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, those in favor of the reforms and those resisting them…… quite an amazing effort for a famous scholar who could have just read reports. In anthropology, we call that field work.

I will continue to comment as I get further in the book.

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