Yeah, uh, no: that is definitely NOT what happened. Here's what really happened:Last week in this space, I wrote a rebuttal to Dr. Diane Ravitch's response to N.J. Education Commissioner Chris Cerf's charter school editorial. Dr. Ravitch, the leading conservative spokesperson in education today, contended that New Jersey is "beginning to revolt" against charters "because the state is trying to push them into suburbs that have great public schools and don't want them."I tried to temper that argument, reinforce Comm. Cerf's definition of charters as "public schools, with public school students and public school teachers, funded with public dollars," and inject a little sanity into a debate that seems to polarize many people who otherwise share a passion for public education.While I received some very supportive emails, the post ignited a host of negative comments, which leads to the next question: Why do charter schools in New Jersey generate so much heat?
That's when you, Laura, attempted to ride to Cerf's rescue:
It didn't help that you said about Diane's post:Here's a fact.If Albert Shanker was alive today he'd still be an education reformer and would support NJ's efforts to expand school choice for poor urban students. Here's another fact: he wouldn't have given this answer to a parent's query, which appears in the comment section of Dr. Ravitch's blog.
On Tuesday morning, NJ Spotlight published an editorial by Education Commissioner Chris Cerf's on charter schools. That afternoon, the renowned education historian, Dr. Diane Ravitch, posted anangry rebuttal (currently going viral). Why all the fuss? What could incite a famous international scholar to respond to a simple and factual description of a tiny subset of New Jersey's public school system?Diane's post was anything but angry; it also had the added benefit of being correct. And that was confirmed first by Darcie Cimarusti, who quoted Shanker's widow on his true beliefs, but also by Shanker's daughter in Waters's own comments section!
So let's be clear: it wasn't that charter schools were "generating so much heat" - it was Waters's mendacious use of Shanker's words to justify her own reformy positions.
You owed the Shanker family an apology, Laura (and Ravitch as well). Instead, you now pretend that you didn't misrepresent Shanker's views, and that the subsequent uproar was really about something else.
Heavens! When will these unseemly perturbations end?
* Time to retire that joke, I guess. Sigh...