Diane Ravitch’s blog. A Mass teacher’s hopes for Lily.


Newly elected NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and this blogger.

– Diane Ravitch.

This just in from a member of NEA from Massachusetts who is at the Denver convention. She hopes that Lily Eskelsen, the new president, will be a champion and fighter for kids, teachers, and public schools. Is she THE ONE? Will she stand up to the phony “reformers”? Will she fight for democratic control of the schools? Will she tell the plutocrats to use their billions to alleviate poverty instead of taking control of the schools?

I think Lily has it in her. Until proven wrong, I am placing bets that she will stand up fearlessly for what is right, that she will tell Arne Duncan to scram, that she will tell the billionaires to get another hobby.

Here is the message from one of her members.

8 thoughts on “Diane Ravitch’s blog. A Mass teacher’s hopes for Lily.

    1. Yes. Yes. We all read her post. Keep in mind that four years ago the NEA RA warmly invited Arne Duncan to speak. This past weekend it voted for him to be fired. Things change. People change. The members must keep the pressure on.

  1. Fred,

    It doesn’t make sense to simply oppose corporate control of our schools without advocating a better agenda. You do advocate an alternate agenda, but as presented, your agenda is only better for teachers. Your alternative vision must sell itself to education’s principle stake holders. If you can do that, you will prevail.

    As a parent I can recall several occasions where I discussed issues relating to curriculum, instructional methodology, and my child’s educational goals. My views and concerns were ruled out-of-order. This approach, I can guarantee you, would not win the support of parents.

    I was also, when I was still working, a full time professional in education. I worked for a poverty program. My job was to remedy the educational system’s failures. I would sometimes be asked to talk to groups of high school teachers.

    Much of the time during such conferences would be devoted ro teacher complaints about students and their parents on one side, and a explanation of technological changes, and emerging patterns in global trade, on my part. The teachers believed their (largely non-white) students could not learn and that the parents did not value education. I spoke in detail about skills government, private sector employers, and post-secondary institutions would need to see in graduates of public high schools. I related things these stakeholders had been telling me, and explained why those stakeholders needed the skills.

    At the end of the session, one of the teachers objected. There was nothing in my presentation which would be relevant to students at her school. “Aren’t there jobs for kids who don’t read very well?”

    I could have said something about institutional racism, but did not. I simply told her that we did not see much on the horizon for high school grads who could not read. We were involved in basic skills remediation, I said. She and her fellow teachers should be involved in making such remediation unnecessary.


    1. Thank you Walter. I always try and take your criticisms of my work seriously and I will try to improve.

    2. “I worked for a poverty program. My job was to remedy the educational system’s failures.”

      Right, because bad education is the only thing standing between poor kids and a poverty free future. Maybe you should have listened to those teachers a bit more rather than speechifying about technological changes and global trade.

  2. Walt it kind of sounds like you were more involved with tweaking the education assembly line for the “stakeholders” (I hate that f…ing slang) then you were in fostering a learning environment.

    1. Siglisowski,

      My background was somewhat divergent. My undergraduate work was in liberal arts, but I also had an MS Ed in vocational and technical education. The first degree enriched my life. The second made it possible for me to earn a living.

      My clients were deprived of both life enrichment and marketable skills. It was my job to do something about the latter. I could, however, help someone to go to college and do what I had done, to emerge with a degree in one of the liberal arts and sciences. I thought I had a ethical responsibility to help the client develop marketable skills in the process. My funding stream insisted I do that at a minimum. If I could do more, no one objected. I believed that an educated man or woman can contribute much to society, but not if he or she remains on the sidelines, unemployed. It is through work that most of us participate in society. My clients were also stakeholders, I thought, and I knew that they needed to be able to work.

      As to the universities, trade schools, and also the employers both government and private sector, these too were stakeholders. They had a right and a duty to make their needs known. If we are professionals, we should recognize that our work must benefit someone. For those of us who were and are professionals in education, our work, if done well, benefits all of society. We have and obligation to meet the needs of both individuals and society.

      I don’t like the term “stakeholders” either. We live in an age, unfortunately, in which few have any regard for values. I can’t speak of broader rights and obligations, nor of higher values. Our age is unwilling to recognize that such things exist, and in consequence we find ourselves deeply polarized.

      I speak of stakeholders instead. I does have one advantage. The language of stakeholding can help point the way to a functional resolution of some of the issues which polarize us. It won’t be necessary to recognize that others have right. It is enough to know that their “issues” must be dealt with.


  3. Walt,as I stated I dislike the term “Stakeholders.” No matter the source of the definition it involves: corporations, investments, property, money, cost analysis, profits, etc., etc. All terms that belong in business and NOT in education/learning. Learning, when done right, IS NOT A BUSINESS, it’s a natural process. It’s a process that we all are engage in from the moment we are born till we exit. Imposing the jargon and concepts of business/capitalism into the learning process serves no positive purpose. As we have seen injecting business/capitalism into learning only debases it and allows for the most predatory elements of business to abuse all involved. We err when we view education/learning only in terms of work and money.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s