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Think Tanks: Brookings "Fires" Ravitch For Being "Inactive" *

Diane Ravitch has announced on her blog that she's been nonrenewed as a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institute, and in the process raised questions about the necessity of her removal from the unpaid position and the timing of the move (she recently posted a few entries critical of Romney, for whom Whitehurst is a campaign advisor).

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There's no word back yet from Whitehurst or from Brookings' PR person Christine Jacobs about the strange timing or what the tank's policy is on staff participation in political campaigns.  (As you may recall, John Chubb resigned from the Romney advisory team in part because of the Ed Sector policy on political activity.) But you can pass the time reading the email from Whitehurst to Ravitch below the fold, via Ravitch.  

At the very least, it's awkward timing for Brookings, and obviously hurtful to Ravitch (much as she seems to relish the pain). Worth noting that Brookings is not Ravitch's main institutional affiliation.  She' usually identified as  professor of research at NYU, which is an adjunct position that doesn't involve teaching or a full salary.   

*Update:  Brookings Responds Re Ravitch, Romney

Subject: nonresident appointment

Dear Diane, 


If you have already received a communication from Brookings I apologize for the redundancy, but I wanted to make sure you were aware that you will not be reappointed as a nonresident senior fellow in Governance Studies for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The background is that I, along with other center and program directors, was asked to review nonresident scholar appointments and make recommendations for reappointment based on past and planned activity.  It has been many years since you were involved in a Governance Studies event, report, or commentary and there are no plans of which I’m aware for any such activity.  Thus I had no basis for recommending your reappointment, and I did not.  I took the same position with respect to all nonresident scholars who are associated with the Brown Center but have been inactive. 

It is not my place to speak on behalf of Brookings or Governance Studies, so on a personal note let me thank you for your contributions to research and thinking on education policy during the time when you were active at Brookings.  One of the first things I did to try to get smarter about education when I was nominated to be assistant secretary for OERI was obtain and devour the Brookings Papers on Education Policy that you edited.  There was nothing more valuable.

Best wishes,


Grover (Russ) Whitehurst



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I love these kinds of emails, essentially a “best wishes, …. but you’re still fired”. Best of luck to her, at NYU and otherwise!

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