Note the treatment Diane Ravitch gets from both Bill Gates and Newsweek, for speaking out against the kind of education “reform” pushed by him and other billionaires. Gates’s “questions” are crude, loaded, bullying, meant not at all to prompt a reasonable give-and- take, but just to put her on the spot, and cast her as obstructive and reactionary, “sticking up for decline.” The man seems clearly to resent her expert opposition to his program, as what he wants is to monopolize the national debate on education (having made his billions
doing much the same in the computer market).
And Newsweek takes the side of that Goliath–takes the side of wealth, and its vast push to privatize the schools, against the uppity professor. It is rather inconvenient for them that she’s not a liberal or a leftist but conservative, and therefore hard to laugh off in the usual ways. That fact evidently strained the brain of Jonathan Alter, who calls her, preposterously, “the Whittaker Chambers of school reform.” (She skewers that comparison below.)
By contrast with Gates/Newsweek, Ravitch makes her case–that is, answers those inquisitorial “questions”–with unfailing clarity and specificity. In this clash, she has one great advantage: She knows what she’s talking about, while Gates et al. know only what they want.
P.S. I suppose I ought to add that Diane Ravitch is my colleague here at NYU (although we don’t hang out).
Ravitch answers Gates
By Valerie Strauss
In a paean to Bill Gates, Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter calls Diane Ravitch the Microsoft founder’s “chief adversary.”
It’s the world’s richest (or second richest) man vs. an education historian and New York University research professor.