This was written by Grant Wiggins and is a response to my response to Grant's open letter to Diane Ravitch. You can find Grant's open letter here and my response here.
by Grant Wiggins
The entire focus of my piece was the pressing need for school change and that it is in our control. To turn it around and say that I think poverty is not in our control is not really what I was driving at. Growing inequality is a terrible problem; poverty is a blight on society. But to say that educators should focus directly on it instead of what they can do to make schools better immediately is kicking the can down the road. It makes a nice excuse for keeping schools as they are.
The best thing we can do as educators to eliminate poverty is to improve education, as all the data show. That's where I think you are misrepresenting my ideas somewhat. I am a progressive democrat, having never voted republican in my life. But like President Obama and the New York Times - hardly conservatives - I am calling for serious reform of what is in our control: how teachers teach and how schools are run. What I greatly resent is having you or Diane or anyone else lump all of us reformers in one bunch as anti-teacher, anti-social welfare, anti-public-education. I am none of those things, and I think my record of 30 years of trying to improve public education shows it.
I think Diane is hurting, not helping, the process by such crude categorization and harsh polemics. I agree with her fears; I strongly disagree with her tactics. And I must say, I disagree with your last sentence. I don't see much of a clear, explicit, and comprehensive reform plan from Diane. Her focus is almost totally on how to save schools from greedy and mean-spirited privatizers. And if my email is any barometer a lot of people agree with me.
Thanks for the dialogue, as always.
You may print this if you wish.