Education Reformers Face Off In Martha's Vineyard

Ann Kane

Obama pal and fellow class warfare crusader Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of Cambridge Massachusetts fame sponsored an education forum in Martha's Vineyard on Thursday on racial and ethnic achievement gaps. He invited reform advocates like Michelle Rhee and Diane Ravitch to the discussion panel. The president was a few miles away attending a political fund raiser while on his 10 day vacation.

Rhee, Obama's mouthpiece for his campaign to transform and nationalize the public school system, has been traveling at warp speed lately, from one speaking venue to another. Before spending the evening battling Ravitch in Massachusetts, Rhee attended a charter school rally with Florida governor Rick Scott in Orlando during the day.

Rhee and Ravitch have opposing views as to the best approach for education reform. Rhee says take power away from the teachers' unions, remove teacher tenure, tie teacher pay to student test scores and push charter schools. She's ingratiated herself with Republican governors and has even declared she's looking into Christianity because of the example of her fiancé Kevin Johnson, the controversial mayor of Sacramento who espouses evangelicalism.

On the other hand, education historian Ravitch, decries forcing teachers to teach to the test and thinks poverty has more to do with low achievement than "bad teachers" do. She has a progressive bent and a holistic view of pedagogy. She suggests:

"We are now as a nation investing billions in testing," Ravitch said. "If we took all the billions and put it into early childhood education, we would make a difference. We're using testing as punishment, and [as a result] we've got cheating in Baltimore, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Atlanta. [Teachers are told] if you don't meet an impossible goal, you're going to be fired and your school is going to be closed. Punishing people, threatening people never works...What people need is an appeal to a sense of purpose, they need autonomy."

Even though Ravitch defends traditional public education, she appears to have the children's wellbeing at heart. Rhee also says she cares about the children; after all she founded her political action committee StudentsFirst last January.

But the question I keep asking myself is how can Rhee who does Obama's bidding also be the darling of Republican education reformers?

Read more Ann Kane at Potter Williams Report

 

Obama pal and fellow class warfare crusader Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of Cambridge Massachusetts fame sponsored an education forum in Martha's Vineyard on Thursday on racial and ethnic achievement gaps. He invited reform advocates like Michelle Rhee and Diane Ravitch to the discussion panel. The president was a few miles away attending a political fund raiser while on his 10 day vacation.

Rhee, Obama's mouthpiece for his campaign to transform and nationalize the public school system, has been traveling at warp speed lately, from one speaking venue to another. Before spending the evening battling Ravitch in Massachusetts, Rhee attended a charter school rally with Florida governor Rick Scott in Orlando during the day.

Rhee and Ravitch have opposing views as to the best approach for education reform. Rhee says take power away from the teachers' unions, remove teacher tenure, tie teacher pay to student test scores and push charter schools. She's ingratiated herself with Republican governors and has even declared she's looking into Christianity because of the example of her fiancé Kevin Johnson, the controversial mayor of Sacramento who espouses evangelicalism.

On the other hand, education historian Ravitch, decries forcing teachers to teach to the test and thinks poverty has more to do with low achievement than "bad teachers" do. She has a progressive bent and a holistic view of pedagogy. She suggests:

"We are now as a nation investing billions in testing," Ravitch said. "If we took all the billions and put it into early childhood education, we would make a difference. We're using testing as punishment, and [as a result] we've got cheating in Baltimore, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Atlanta. [Teachers are told] if you don't meet an impossible goal, you're going to be fired and your school is going to be closed. Punishing people, threatening people never works...What people need is an appeal to a sense of purpose, they need autonomy."

Even though Ravitch defends traditional public education, she appears to have the children's wellbeing at heart. Rhee also says she cares about the children; after all she founded her political action committee StudentsFirst last January.

But the question I keep asking myself is how can Rhee who does Obama's bidding also be the darling of Republican education reformers?

Read more Ann Kane at Potter Williams Report