The NY Sun columnist, Andrew Wolf, has posted a long and angry comment, taking exception to Matt Ladner’s post, Little Ramona’s Gone Hillbilly Nuts. In that post Matt challenged Diane Ravitch’s assertion that Joel Klein, Cory Booker, Michelle Rhee, and Adrian Fenty were seeking to “dismantle public education, piece by piece” by supporting merit pay, reductions in teacher tenure, and charter schools. Matt observed that these were extra-ordinary charges to make “without presenting a scintilla of supporting evidence.”
But Wolf responds: “I am astounded by the puerile ad hominem attack on Dr. Diane Ravitch that appeared in Jay Greene’s blog. Like all of us, Dr. Ravitch has a right for her opinion to be respected and discussed without opponents resorting to such a childish (and inaccurate) attack. Apparently, Prof. Greene and his band of acolytes can’t muster the intellectual arguments to counter those of Dr. Ravitch, so must resort to this denigration of her scholarship and beliefs.”
I see. And accusing Klein, Booker, Rhee, and Fenty of seeking to dismantle public education without any supporting evidence is not ad hominem?
It is not ad hominem to say, as I did in my post on this, that “it is shocking to see these new claims made without any evidence that merit pay, weaker tenure, and charter schools harm public education, let alone destroy it. Other than the fact that Bloomberg and Klein support these policies, it is not clear why Diane Ravitch opposes them.” The fact is that Diane Ravitch did not provide evidence to support her claim and it is perfectly within reasonable discourse to point that out.
If Andrew Wolf wants a substantive discussion rather than ad hominem, how about if he starts by providing the evidence that merit pay, reduced tenure rights, and charter schools “dismantle public education” that Ravitch neglected to provide?
In his own defense, Matt added, ”A long and distinguished career does not entitle one to make such reckless and unsupported claims.”