On Thursday night, Diane Ravitch with her usual incisiveness pointed out the importance of poverty and the unfairness of teacher-bashing on Jon Stewart’s the Daily Show.
According to Valerie Strauss’ Answer Sheet, Ravitch’s book shot up from #758 on Amazon’s list to #35 by the next afternoon.
Jon Stewart showed a short clip of the segment on Fox News debate, to ridicule the commentators’ attack on the “greed” of teachers, while defending the huge bonuses and salaries of Wall Street financiers and bankers whose irresponsible behavior caused the economic collapse in the first place.
On CNN, Matt Damon criticized President Obama’s education policies:
“He misinterpreted his mandate…This idea that we’re tying teachers’ salaries to how their kids are performing do on tests. That kind of mechanistic thinking has nothing to do with higher order thinking; we’re training them, were not teaching them.”
Julie Cavanagh, NYC public school teacher and one of the leaders of the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM), was brilliant on NY1’s Inside City Hall, pointing out the importance of teacher experience (and class size), in opposition to the push by Mayor Bloomberg and Michelle Rhee to eliminate seniority protections for teachers.
The New York Times, the home of conventional wisdom, featured an extended article about how the scapegoating of teachers has gotten out of hand. (See also FAIR’s critique of the article’s claim that teachers are actually scorned by the majority of Americans, rather than simply by those in power.)
Thursday’s To the Point, a national NPR radio show, also featured Diane, Kay McSpadden, a teacher from South Carolina, and me. Ms. McSpadden said that many people in her state regularly blame the teachers union for the poor performance of their schools, yet there is no teachers union in South Carolina!
A perfect example of how with the collusion of the media, the corporate CEOs and the elected officials whom they control have conveniently created a fictional bogeyman, as a distraction from the real problem that afflict our schools: rampant budget cuts, inequitable funding, large classes, lack of parental input into decision-making, and an overemphasis on testing and privatization.
Let’s hope this is just the beginning of a reversal in which the real educational reformers will finally get a chance to present their perspective in the major media, and the privateers are no longer able to monopolize the airwaves through their wealth and influence – though they have no research and no common sense to back them up.
The clip of Matt Damon on CNN is below: