(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Diane Ravitch did an interview with the St. Pete Times last week in which reporters raised the subject of the Rhode Island tape. This came up after Ravitch made a series of falsifiable claims about trends in Florida education, the most egregious of which is to either assert that we have state level longitudinal NAEP data for 12th graders (we don’t) or to ignore all the 12th grade data we do have (FCAT, AP, graduation rates, college attendance rates) which are positive.
Here’s the RI part of the conversation:
You probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the education commissioner in Rhode Island is someone that the education powers-that-be in Florida would have liked to have seen as our new education commissioner. She’s on the same page with them and she has roots in Tampa, I think. You and her were recently embroiled in a back-and-forth where after meeting with her, you said she was pretty condescending and kind of nasty. Apparently, there is a video of that meeting. And I was wondering, can you go ahead and agree to a release of that video so we can see it?
It’s not my video; I can’t release it.
From what I understand, if you gave the okay, it could be released.
No, that’s not true. Every person in the room had to give their permission and three of the people did not. It wasn’t me.
So you’re okay with it being released?
Yeah, it’s not a problem for me. The filmmaker said she wasn’t going to release it anyway because she’s going to make a movie and she’s not in a habit of releasing her raw footage. The context of that meeting was that I came with the promise of a one hour private, a one on one meeting with the Governor and 20 minutes before the meeting that Debra would be part of the meeting. And we spend the meeting vying to get a word in. And I had the feeling, what is she doing in my one on one meeting and she must of thought, you’re here to hear what I’m doing, I’m not here to hear what you are doing. I felt very dissed, I got an apology from her. And then her PR guy saw the tape and he put it out to all the right wing bloggers that I was rude to her and I began to get all of this National Review, Jay Greene stuff, release the tape. I don’t have the tape, I don’t have permission to release the tape, it’s not mine and what it would show is we are both vying for time and it was supposed to be my meeting.
Translated into English: Gee shucks, I’d be fine with releasing the tape but my union goons won’t agree to it. Three of them are from a primitive culture that has an aversion to photography. They believe that it steals a piece of their soul upon viewing, that sort of thing. You would be surprised at how many people hold these beliefs in Rhode Island!
I must respect their customs and beliefs, regardless of how quaint they may seem to us. I’ll let you know if all three of them adopt more modern attitudes at some point…