Uh, wait a minute - the writer doesn't say: "Ravitch wrote this about charter schools." He uses the passive voice: "This was written about charter schools:". Why would he do that... unless he knew Ravitch didn't actually write the words he quotes.Diane Ravitch has hit a new low in the hyperbole she allows on her blog site.
This was written about charter schools:“But the privatizers declared war on our schools, our kids, our teachers, our parents and our taxpayers.“We didn’t start this war, any more than Poland in 1939. But we must fight back. And ultimately, emerge victorious.“And when you’re in a war, and you’re defending the lives of your community, unfortunately, nuance or thoughtful qualifications become luxuries we can no longer afford.” (Diane’s post here)Seriously, Diane?Comparing school choice for parents with the Nazi invasion of Poland? [emphasis mine]
Which, of course, she didn't: Ravitch was quoting a reader who sent in a comment. Check out the original post here, which Ravitch starts with this prelude:
This parent takes issue with Mark Naison and Bruce Bernstein, who wrote a post about how to tell whether your local charter school is avaricious. The few “good charters” are used by the corporate charter chains to clear the path:It's awfully hard to miss that it isn't Ravitch who wrote the words, don't you think? Which is obviously why the author of the post criticizing Ravitch used the passive voice: he must have known that Ravitch was not the author of those words.
Ravitch has become the voice of the opposition to the undemocratic, anti-teacher, science-adverse, billionaire-funded, anti-union, and just generally awful education "reform" movement. Consequently, she's become a target: toadies of the wealthy love to suck up to their paymasters by unloading on this distinguished scholar and grandmother whenever and however they can.
But this particular attack reeks of a special odor of slime. Who penned this carefully crafted mudball? Well, the post is hosted by Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education (honestly, the names - have these people no shame?). And the author - well, he goes way back with the former Florida governor:
Mike Thomas serves in the communications department, writing editorials and speeches. Prior to joining the Foundation, Mike worked for more than 30 years as a journalist with Florida Today and the Orlando Sentinel. He has written investigative projects, magazine feature stories, humor pieces, editorials and local columns. He won several state and national awards, and was named a finalist in the American Society of New Editors’ Distinguished Writing Award for Commentary/Column Writing in 2010. As a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, he wrote extensively about education reform, becoming one of its chief advocates in the Florida media. Mike graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in political science and journalism. His wife is a teacher and he has two children in public schools. [emphasis mine]Yes, it's certainly true that Thomas promoted "reform." But more than that: as a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, Thomas was a shameless cheerleader for Jeb Bush.
Let's go to the tape (all emphases mine). 9/20/11:
This one's great: even when ostensibly criticizing Jeb Bush, Thomas just can't help but show his love for the awesome man. 1/28/10:
No, really, that's the headline. Just read it. Oy.
Oh my lord, Thomas is now singing his praises of Jeb! I could do this all night, but I'd better stop before I go into a diabetic coma from reading all of his sweet, sweet praise of the great Governor Bush...
Mike Thomas was such a shameless brown-noser of Jeb Bush that even his colleagues joked about how often Thomas wrote about the Florida pol. Susan Ohanian has more about Thomas's barely restrained love for Bush while at the Sentinel. He unexpectedly left the paper in 2011, knocked around Orange County politics for a bit, and then landed his current gig - working for Jeb Bush - this past fall.
Golly, do you think maybe Bush appreciated all those years of kind words when he hired Thomas to be a shill for Bush's foundation?
Back in 2007, Thomas wrote a post about two of the many scandals swirling around Bush's time in Tallahassee:
Aside from the typically cloying sycophancy, notice that Thomas dismisses as "bizarre" the notion that someone might pay you off in the future for doing them a favor in the present.
I mean, where would anyone get that crazy idea?
Keep this little tale in mind the next time you read some "journalist" gushing about how awesome corporate reform is, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. They know how the money flows. They know which side the Billionaire Boys Club has backed. They know who will look at their resumes when they leave their current jobs - if they have a record of saying the right thing.
Hey, fella! When you get tired of writing for a conglomerate struggling out of bankruptcy, give us a call!
* I really, really hope Thomas responds specifically to this quote. It would be like Christmas in February. Come on, Mike, you know you want to...