This wasn’t what I set out to write today but this is where I have ended up. Today marked the day that Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error hits newsstands nationwide. I haven’t read it but I have read some reviews. This morning, while reading Ms. Ravitch’s own account of her stop in Pittsburgh, one of the commenters posted a link to a review of the new book. I wasn’t on full troll alert so I followed the link.
Turns out, after a few seconds of heart-stopping anguish, that it wasn’t a troll at all.The site is obviously satirical but not that far off of what some believe. The site is called Last Stand for Children First which at first blush sounds like another public education hate site. Read on my friends, critical reading and thinking are important 21st Century skills. From the billionaire CEO, Myron Miner, who taught in the tough inner city of Boca Raton to the Chief Education Director whose only apparent credential is that he played hoops with Arne Duncan in Australia to the notoriously fictitious Rep. Jack Kimble from the mythical California 54th, Honorary Director. We even have a Sigma Chi representative on the BoD.
It was a bit scary at first because I wasn’t quite sure whether it was real or not. Statements like these below aren’t all that far from some of the things we hear in public education:
On Ravitch’s new book: “While I didn’t actually read Ravitch’s book, I think I’ve gotten a pretty good feeling for what it’s about by reading the cover..” from the CEO of Last Stand for Children First
On improving teacher quality: “Our research has shown that the best teachers to motivate inner city youth are white, fresh out of college, and preferably from a privileged background.”
On improving the curriculum: “Too much of a child’s day is taken up with classes like music, art, and social studies, which are not even tested. These classes have been created by teachers unions trying to create jobs and give teachers prep periods.”
And their tribute to billionaires: “Billionaires have the clout to influence public policy in a way that few other people can. There is no better way to democratize education in this country than by bringing the voices of CEOs and hedge fund managers into the equation.”
As well as a common man’s understanding of statistics “Nearly 25% of all American high school students in 2008 scored in the bottom quartile of state standardized tests in reading and 10% scored in the bottom tenth in math.”
Not sure who is responsible for this but, “Well Played, Sirs, Well Played.” I’ll be back!