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Diane Ravitch is My Idol

June 4, 2013

Diane Ravitch is my idol. My hero. I think she’s just great. & it saddens me that the leaders in the Boston Teachers Union (& presumably unions across the nation) aren’t touting her as such.

More than that, it confuses me. It confuses me because here exists a woman who in every way possesses the capacity to bring down the Billionaires, & get Public Ed up out of the rubble. Not only that, but she wants to do that for us!!! She is dedicating her entire life to saving our schools, our very LIVELIHOODS, yet how many of us are even aware of her efforts? How many of us even know she exists? This is where I find myself troubled, because every educator – never mind taxpaying citizen – should be as familiar with Diane Ravitch as they are Arnie Duncan, or Michelle Rhee!

Shame on the Media, for publicizing and glorifying the “other” side – the “Bad Side” of Ed Reform as they have, so heavily pro-high stakes, pro-bubbles, pro-artifacts, pro-Common Core, anti-Teachers. Shame on the Media, for not making “Diane Ravitch” as much a household name as they did the others, or for not giving her a full-page cover spread on Time Magazine. Instead, they have done such a good job at spreading the message the Billionaires are wanting to spread that they’ve even succeeded at brainwashing me into believing some of the crap that they’ve spewed!!! If not for doing my own research into some opinion I’d formed bc of the Media at times, I can’t speak about the number of things i’d have bought in to. It’s disgraceful. Disgusting.

The Media’s misrepresentation of reality with all things Ed Reform makes sense when you think of where their funding is coming from, although it’s a disheartening reality all the same. & between that and the Union’s continued curious compliance, vigilance, & lack of any real mobilization efforts (which does not make sense to me whatsoever, but nor does it matter at this point) against those Billionaire funders, it’s no surprise we continue to be cogs in their wheels, as the wheels move backward, as Ellie Rubenstein so eloquently said here.

Diane Ravitch is my idol for many reasons. Especially because there seems to exist among teachers an unwillingness to stand up for what is right, for what we believe is in the best interests of those we were put on this earth to educate. Instead of being vociferous in our opposition to the mandates and sanctions being hurled upon us as they are, we oblige. Instead of saying “You’re WRONG!” to those telling us what’s best; we bow our heads and say, “okay”, like meek little nothings with no qualification or expertise or basic rights as professionals, even. We accept “punishments” for things we know we’re doing wrong, or things we have ZERO control over. Worse, we try to justify our own continued compliance with the insanity!!

I’m hoping the reason for that continued compliance is because we are, for the most part, misinformed or under informed about the reality of things, relying most heavily if not entirely on the Media and the word of the Union. I believe that informing the public – starting with the teachers – about Diane Ravitch’s work and efforts would effectively create a whole new norm. Here is why:

Diane Ravitch is the former US Assistant Secretary of Education, who worked under George W Bush with NCLB as it was signed into legislation in 2002. In 2005, Ravitch wrote, “We should thank President George W. Bush and Congress for passing the No Child Left Behind Act … All this attention and focus is paying off for younger students, who are reading and solving mathematics problems better than their parents’ generation.”

Four years later, she changed her mind.

“I was known as a conservative advocate of many of these policies,” Ravitch says. “But I’ve looked at the evidence and I’ve concluded they’re wrong. They’ve put us on the wrong track. I feel passionately about the improvement of public education and I don’t think any of this is going to improve public education.”

(you can more about her here)

What kind of ethics & strength does this woman possess, to come out in such staunch opposition, & most especially opposition to something she herself once so passionately embraced & supported!? To something that she herself had a hand in instituting in the first place? How many of us are humble enough to admit when we’re wrong? Never mind to do it so publicly, & then to throw our support behind fixing our mistake like that? We should all take a page out of her book; she epitomizes the idea of citizenship in terms of the Common Good. She is a true testament to humanity.

Beyond that though, Diane Ravitch is my hero for what she does for teachers like me. Every one of us must follow her work & support her efforts. To stand in solidarity as educators & experts in our own rights, looking to her for guidance in our efforts, We Will Succeed. Diane Ravitch is The Voice every educator needs to be hearing. She has what it takes to lead us into certain victory; it’s time we let her. Not only that, but this woman has literally dedicated her life to making ours better, don’t we owe it to recognize such a humanitarian, esp in regards to the teachers and students in the country? I almost feel like i owe her an apology for NOT really knowing who she was or what exactly she was doing.

Here’s what i encourage (expect, for those of you who consider yourselves “good teachers”) every teacher to do, so that they’re no longer ignorant about this iconic woman.

*suscribe to
Every day she’ll email you her new posts on her blog. It’s arguably the best website to keep up to date on all the goings-on, as they occur. What i like best is how she summarizes the key points in different articles/media outlets, providing links to the original if you want to read it in it’s entirety. She typically posts about 5-10 times a day, providing information like that, or insight or opinion, or often sharing stories from other teachers across the nation. I was lucky enough to have been featured in of of her posts myself, as she published a comment i’d made regarding another post on her blog. you can read it here

*join The Network for Public Education.
Membership is like $10, & it’s a great place to become informed about the issues, learn how to create grassroots campaigns, perform investigations into corruption (which the need for is unbelievable & very much warranted, btw), etc. I would imagine that if every teacher across the country’s name was included in the NPE Membership list, there’d be NO WAY public education couldn’t be turned upside down.

As long as “Diane Ravitch” isn’t someone who every teacher across the nation starts paying attention to, the wheel will continue to move backward, as more & more cogs like Ellie & myself fall out. Until finally one day, the wheel falls off, & everything collapses around it. At least she’ll be able to say she fought the good fight.

I wish there was a way every teacher in America could receive this message I’m sending here today…


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