“How Disturbing!”

Nothing Diane Ravitch says or does will adversely affect her image in the eyes of her acolytes, but for an academic historian she seems incurious about information that doesn’t fit with her worldview.

Case in point: Yesterday Ravitch trumpeted the opposition of the Massachusetts NAACP to Question 2, a ballot measure that would allow the expansion of charter schools in the state by 12 per year. She reprinted a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe from John L. Reed, chairman of the education committee of the NAACP’s New England Conference.

Commenter Stephen B. Ronan pointed out that before becoming the chairman of the education committee of the NAACP’s New England Conference, John L. Reed was once an officer of the Barnstable Teachers Association, a member of the Massachusetts Teachers Association board of directors, a member of the National Education Association board of directors, and chairman of NEA’s Black Caucus. He also was “instrumental” in promoting a partnership between the New England NAACP and MTA.

Ravitch’s response to Ronan was: “Stephen, you discovered that the president of the New England NAACP is or was a teacher! How disturbing! That discredits him in your eyes but not in the eyes of this readers of this blog. Surely, we should listen to billionaires and hedge fund managers. They must know better than teachers what children need. Of course, I am being sarcastic. Mr. Reed heads a membership organization, and he speaks on their behalf. Why do you trust DFER, which speaks for a small number of rich white hedge funders, rather than the NAACP? If Mr. Reed is or was a teacher, he is very well informed about the dangers of privatization.”

I suspect Ravitch was not only being sarcastic, but deliberately obtuse. There are a lot of teachers and former teachers in Massachusetts, but few with Reed’s connections to the teachers’ union, which is funding and manning the opposition to Question 2. Perhaps not many people would find this “disturbing,” but everyone should find it relevant.