Quote of the moment: Diane Ravitch, history won’t be kind to those who attacked teachers

Attacking Teachers Attacks My Future

"Attacking Teachers Attacks My Future" sign carried by students supporting teachers at the Wisconsin Capitol Building, February 16, 2011. Photo by BlueRobot, Ron Chandenais

Of one thing I feel sure—history will not be kind to those who gleefully attacked teachers, sought to fire them based on inaccurate measures, and worked zealously to reduce their status and compensation. It will not admire the effort to insert business values into the work of educating children and shaping their minds, dreams, and character. It will not forgive those who forgot the civic, democratic purposes of our schools nor those who chipped away at the public square. Nor will it speak well of those who put the quest for gain over the needs of children. Nor will it lionize those who worshipped data and believed passionately in carrots and sticks. Those who will live forever in the minds of future generations are the ones who stood up against the powerful on behalf of children, who demanded that every child receive the best possible education, the education that the most fortunate parents would want for their own children.

Now is a time to speak and act. Now is a time to think about how we will one day be judged. Not by test scores, not by data, but by the consequences of our actions.

Diane Ravitch, writing at Bridging Differences, a blog of EdWeek, June 28, 2011

See more photos from Ron Chandenais, here.

10 Responses to Quote of the moment: Diane Ravitch, history won’t be kind to those who attacked teachers

  1. And another example of where right wing thinking has people ending up:


    A 24-year-old Cincinnati father died from a tooth infection this week because he couldn’t afford his medication, offering a sobering reminder of the importance of oral health and the number of people without access to dental or health care.

    According to NBC affiliate WLWT, Kyle Willis’ wisdom tooth started hurting two weeks ago. When dentists told him it needed to be pulled, he decided to forgo the procedure, because he was unemployed and had no health insurance.

    When his face started swelling and his head began to ache, Willis went to the emergency room, where he received prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medications. Willis couldn’t afford both, so he chose the pain medications.

    The tooth infection spread, causing his brain to swell. He died Tuesday.

    Calls to Willis’ family were not immediately returned. University Hospital in Cincinnati, where Willis was admitted, did not comment, citing federal privacy laws.

    “People don’t realize that dental disease can cause serious illness,” said Dr. Irvin Silverstein, a dentist at the University of California at San Diego. “The problems are not just cosmetic. Many people die from dental disease.”

    Willis’ story is not unique. In 2007, 12-year-old Deamonte Driver also died when a tooth infection spread to his brain. The Maryland boy underwent two operations and six weeks of hospital care, totaling $250,000. Doctors said a routine $80 tooth extraction could have saved his life. His family was uninsured and had recently lost its Medicaid benefits, keeping Deamonte from having dental surgery.

    “When people are unemployed or don’t have insurance, where do they go? What do they do?” Silverstein said. “People end up dying, and these are the most treatable, preventable diseases in the world.”

    Getting access to dental care is particularly tough for low-income adults and children, and it’s getting tougher as the economy worsens. In April, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 33 percent of people surveyed skipped dental care or dental checkups because they couldn’t afford them. A 2003 report by the U.S. Surgeon General found that 108 million Americans had no dental insurance, nearly 2.5 times the number who had no health insurance.

    Trips to the dentist aren’t the only expenses hard-up Americans are skipping. An August report by the Commonwealth Fund found that 72 percent of people who lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs said they skipped needed health care or did not fill prescriptions because of cost.

    “People want to believe there’s a safety net that catches all of these people, and there isn’t,” said Dr. Glenn Stream, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He noted that it is often young men who are the most likely to lack health coverage.

    Dr. Jim Jirjis, director of general internal medicine at Vanderbilt University, said people, like Willis, without access to care often die of conditions that were much more common decades ago.

    “He [Willis] might as well have been living in 1927,” Jirjis said. “All of the advances we’ve made in medicine today and are proud of, for people who don’t have coverage, you might as well never have developed those.”

    There are a number of free dental clinics in operation around the country, where dentists volunteer to provide care to those without health insurance. But even if Willis had access to a free dental clinic, Stream said he still may not have been able to get the care he needed for his infection. “The wait is often months at these clinics, and this young man died within two weeks of his problem,” Stream said.

    Silverstein operates three free dental clinics in the San Diego area. “We’re overwhelmed right now,” he said. “We can’t take any new patients.”


  2. I have a challenge for Robert, Morgan and Lower. Lets see them give a thoughtful intelligent retort to this:



  3. Jim says:

    Hi Robert!

    Thanks ever so much for whipping out the “teat”.

    Anarchists and Libertards and Republicans sure have teats on the brain. Constantly. They drone on endlessly about “the gub’mint teat” and “the public teat”.

    But who are the suckling piggies, really? You say public schoolteachers. Firefighters. Police Officers. Elderly black women on welfare, maybe?

    I don’t see it.

    I see billionaires and millionaires lined up at the sow’s pen taking turns for another toot on the public teat. Why just today, Michelle Bachmann said we might want to think about dramatically changing the tax code to give corporations complete and total tax relief. No taxes whatsoever for them.

    But more, perhaps, for families and individuals earning LESS than 250-k. Someone has to pay for endless, war. Might as well be the hoi polloi, eh?

    The real oinkers in our culture are not nurses and janitors and school bus drivers. Remember Ken Lay? Duke Cunningham? Ted Stevens? And you bet — I’ll add Greenspan and Summers and Geithner to the list of crooks. Cronies looking after cronies.

    They’re the ones in the sowpen, my friend. Not teachers.


  4. Robert writes:
    History will show that in the USA and especially Wisconsin, teachers morphed from being true educators to a collection of public trough feeding union thugs, like our clueless but well fed friend Mr. Darrell.

    No history will show that in the USA and especially Wisconsin Republicans overstepped their bounds and power and proved themselves dangerous to the wellbeing of the United States when they created a budget deficit and then attempted to blame working people for it.

    History will also show that Robert and his depraved right wing fellow thugs hate the United States with a passion and wish to destroy it.


  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Education is the foundation of our American republic, Robert. Regret you regard our freedom so cavalierly.


  6. Robert says:

    History will show that in the USA and especially Wisconsin, teachers morphed from being true educators to a collection of public trough feeding union thugs, like our clueless but well fed friend Mr. Darrell.

    They deserve a swift kick in the pants to get them off the public teat.


  7. Jim says:

    Hi Angie!

    I think it flows out of an overall culture of “blame the other guy; blame the little guy”. When schools fail, we blame teachers. We never blame the sweet, innocent little moppets for not paying attention and for spending more time watching “Glee” than doing homework. We seldom blame the parents for not turning off the TV and insisting that their spawn pick up a book.

    We blame the teachers. Because they are the easiest, quickest target. Because there are, sometimes — though seldom — bad eggs among them. And because, perhaps most of all, there is a 24-7-365 media war being ginned up against them.

    The constant drone of the “lying liars” continues. More and more Americans are either despairing of being able to fight the beast…or are actually believing the pablum the radical right spews forth.

    Maybe one day my turn will come. Maybe one day I, too, will live in Fiddler’s Green with the beautiful people. If only I just keep my mouth shut, vote conservative and hold out my little tin cup to catch just a bit of the trickle-down bounty. In the meantime, I’ll be a good soldier and the only fighting I will do shall be on behalf of the current residents of “The Green”…and they want me to piss on teachers and others like them.

    We Americans are a compliant lot, if nothing else…


  8. Angie~Lah says:

    I find this war on teachers bizarre. Elsewhere in the world, teachers are well-thought of and well-paid. They’re respected individuals.


  9. Ed Darrell says:

    It would be a wonderfully fitting story end to learn that his transplant surgeon had been one of his better students.

    Thanks for the story.


  10. Pangolin says:

    The best teacher I’ve ever had was a community college anatomy teacher. He taught the course to the rhythm of his oxygen tank as he had early congestive heart failure and was on a transplant list.

    He told us that he KNEW with utter certainty that in a few years he would look up from a hospital bed and see one of his former students. What frightened him was the possibility of seeing a face he gave a B grade to when s(h)e deserved a C.

    I missed six questions in that course; for the whole semester. He still had a better student in another section; she missed only two.

    THAT is why quality education is important.

    b.t.w._ He got his heart transplant a few months after I took his class.


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