Update: Diane Ravitch's Reform Vilification Industry
I am happy to report that Diane Ravitch does not spend much time talking about herself in the updated paperback version of her book, which came out a few weeks ago. The temptation to discuss her (mis)treatment over the past two years must have been strong, but the world doesn't need another "it's-all-about-me" Michael Moore. (Or perhaps the most recent flare-ups with Brill and others took place after her deadline.) Ravitch also admits to having been fooled about what was going on in Atlanta under Beverly Hall, which is good of her. And she describes some of the recent setbacks and rigidity within the reform movement that I and others have been writing about over the past weeks and months. (I keep going back and forth on whether to think of it as the popping of the reform bubble or simply "Reformageddon.") That being said, there are a few key things that I think Ravitch could have but didn't address or correct. Ravitch's description of NCLB's impact and destructiveness (closings, firings, charter conversions, etc.) is exaggerated and unsupported by data. She also vastly overestimates the power, coordination, and reach of all the reform groups, which suits her purposes in terms of creating a straw man but is also unsupported by the facts and does little to inform readers about what's really going on.