“The best and wisest parent”

“What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all its children. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon, it destroys our democracy.”

John Dewey, The School and Social Progress

That’s how PAA opened our position paper on ESEA.

It’s also an apt description of our co-founder Leonie Haimson, who became the target of attack this week for having enrolled one of her children in a private school after many years as a public school parent.

The misreading of Leonie’s advocacy position is that it’s hypocritical for her to criticize people who send their children to private school, when she is now doing the same.

The truth is that Leonie has consistently advocated for every child to have what President Obama’s children and the children of other education leaders whose children attend private schools have – a high-quality education that includes small class sizes and is not focused on standardized tests. Her criticism is not about where they send their children, but about the fact that they force unsound policies and practices onto other people’s children that they avoid for their own children.

Support for Leonie has been strong. Jersey Jazzman called her “an American hero,” and Diane Ravitch wrote,

She is a fearless critic of high-stakes testing and of the Bloomberg administration. She has been the most articulate and persistent supporter of class size reduction. She currently is waging war against the titans who are invading student privacy. She works out of her home with no pay and a shoestring budget. You can see why powerful people would want to discredit her. She is a force, she has a large following, and she threatens them.

The criticism just seems narrow and unlovely, doesn’t it?

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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