Why serious people continue to care about what Diane Ravitch says is a mystery to me. I know why rabid union-members and their allies keep lauding her and citing her as an authority — they like whoever repeats their talking points. But why do journalists, like Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post, continue to act like Diane Ravitch matters? Why does the Wall Street Journal give her valuable real estate on their editorial page to repeat untrue distortions, like:
To qualify for Race to the Top money, states and districts were expected to evaluate their teachers by using student test scores, even though research consistently warns of the flaws of this method. [Not true, as a Brookings blue ribbon panel just concluded that the research shows value added testing can be a helpful tool for teacher evaluations.] Similarly, the Obama administration is pressing states and districts to replace low-performing regular public schools with privately managed charter schools, even though research demonstrates that charters don’t, on average, get better academic results than regular public schools. [Again, not true. Ravitch ignores the positive results of high quality random assignment charter evaluations in Boston and New York and instead focuses exclusively on a lower quality evaluation by Macke Raymond)]
Let’s say out loud what many people know but few have publicly said. Diane Ravitch has undergone a personal, not an intellectual, transformation. Because of that personal change she has acquired a new set of friends, including AFT boss Randi Weingarten. Ravitch is basking in the admiration of these new friends for her remarks, but they are not well-thought-out or intellectually honest positions.
We devoted an entire week on JPGB to feature Stuart Buck’s documentation of how Ravitch is not an intellectually serious person anymore. Now Whitney Tilson has organized an entire web site on his new blog that lists a host of critiques of the personally-transformed Diane Ravitch. It’s an extremely useful resource to which you can refer gullible journalists, like Strauss and the WSJ editors, whenever they start treating Ravitch as if she were a credible authority.