From David Sirota at Open Left, insight into the battle between grassroots and corporate education advocates:
As TGeraghty noted, Education Week reports that New York University professor Diane Ravitch will receive the 2011 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize from the American Academy of Political and Social Science. She is being honored for her work on education - specifically, for her work debunking the increasingly shrill anti-public-education corporatism coming from elite media darlings like Michael Bloomberg, Michelle Rhee and Bill Gates.
I had the pleasure of talking to Ravitch recently on my AM760 radio show. You can listen to the interview here (it starts about a quarter of the way through). With Denver and its suburbs becoming ground-zero in the debate over whether to shut down public schools, charter-ize districts and ultimately move to vouchers, Ravitch has been a welcome national voice of sanity against an anti-public-school Limousine (Neo)liberal class and in defense of public education.
In a recent Washington Post interview, Ravitch made her case quite clearly:David Sirota :: Corporatists-Versus-Grassroots Divide Now Defines Public Education Debate
I certainly don't like the status quo. I don't like the attacks on teachers, I don't like the attacks on the educators who work in our schools day in and day out, I don't like the phony solutions that are now put forward that won't improve our schools at all. I am not at all content with the quality of American education in general, and I have expressed my criticisms over many years, long before Bill Gates decided to make education his project. I think American children need not only testing in basic skills, but an education that includes the arts, literature, the sciences, history, geography, civics, foreign languages, economics, and physical education.
I don't hear any of the corporate reformers expressing concern about the way standardized testing narrows the curriculum, the way it rewards convergent thinking and punishes divergent thinking, the way it stamps out creativity and originality. I don't hear any of them worried that a generation will grow up ignorant of history and the workings of government...All I hear from them is a demand for higher test scores and a demand to tie teachers' evaluations to those test scores. That is not going to improve education.
We've seen the corporatist-versus-grassroots divide in so many different policy fights - and now education is no different. Ravitch is one of the lonely voices for community public education.