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People: Diane Ravitch, The "Engaged" Writer

The recent discussion about David Brooks' column on "engaged" vs. "detached" writers reminded me that, little more than two years ago, I posted this respectful but critical entry about NYU education historian Diane Ravitch's views about school reform efforts, which were somethat new at the time:

Later on today, education historian Diane Ravitch is going to head out from her Brooklyn Heights home and make her way into the city to be a guest on tonight's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" for the first time since May 2003.


The Comedy Central appearance will be a tremendous victory for Ravitch, who has been pushing to get on one of the two shows in the 11 p.m. time slot for almost a year now.  It will be a happy moment, too, for all of the educators and parents who have welcomed Ravitch into their arms.  

For me, however, Ravitch's appearance will be another moment to reflect on the nagging unease I have with what she's saying -- and in particular the absolute certainty with which she is saying it.

Full post:  Diane Ravitch's Stunning Certainty

Clearly, Ravitch is the category of the engaged writer, and I'm probably more in the detached camp. Ravitch's response to my column was to call Jossey-Bass, the folks who were then publishing my book about Locke High School, and demand to have her blurb removed from the back cover of the book.


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No, Alexander, you aren't a "detached writer". You claim impartiality while you advocate for the side that pays you, and snidely insult honest writers.

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