Ah, Hillary. I confess that when you ran in 2008 I voted for Obama, but I’ve always admired your intelligence, energy, independence, and leadership. I’ve never quite felt the Bern and the front seat of the GOP clown car appears to be coalescing around a platform of xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, war-mongering, and outright stupidity.
So, vote for Hillary, right?
But here’s where I get stuck: you seem to be taking lessons from Diane Ravitch on school reform and this scares me.
Let me explain. Diane Ravitch, once a bold education historian unbowed by special interests,committed to elevating teaching and learning through higher standards and accountability, now earns a hefty wage bashing all that she once espoused. Us here in the education reform coterie, after mourning her abrupt u-turn into evangelical unionism, had a bit of fun with her repudiations of her former self. Someone even started a twitter feed with the handle @OldDianeRavitch, which juxtaposed her erstwhile scholarship with her current anti-accountability crusade.
Ravitch’s integrity shriveled from upright scholar to unfettered propaganda machine. She who once wrote, “without testing, there is no consistent way to measure success or failure” and “every school should have the power to select its own teachers, remove the incompetents” now blathers daily about the sins of teacher evaluations, testing, and the iniquities of young aspiring teachers who dare to bypass America’s broken education schools.
And now here you are, Hillary, engaging in a similar u-ey around the value of charter schools.
Once you wrote,
“Charter schools are public schools created and operated under a charter. They may be organized by parents, teachers, or others. The idea is that they should be freed from regulations that stifle innovation, so they can focus on getting results.”
“I favor promoting choice among public schools, much as (President Clinton’s) Charter Schools Initiative encourages. Federal funding is needed to break through bureaucratic attitudes that block change and frustrate students and parents, driving some to leave public schools.”
But suddenly (and perhaps not so coincidentally, just as you received early endorsements from AFT and NEA) you’re telling Roland Martin something that you must know is false: that “most charter schools — I don’t want to say every one — but most charter schools, they don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don’t keep them.”
“I have for many years now, about 30 years, supported the idea of charter schools, but not as a substitute for the public schools, but as a supplement for the public schools.”
Many people have corrected you, including Charlie Barone, Nina Rees, Cynthia Tucker Haynes, Robert Pondiscio, Erik Telford (and me). Yet you refuse to correct the record, despite, as others have pointed out, the overwhelming numbers of families of color — your base, right? (sure not Trump’s) — who support school choice and charter schools.
Please, Hillary, don’t tempt us to start an @OldHillaryClinton twitter handle! We need you! Come back into the light!