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Heading the Wrong Way: Ravitch’s view of ed policy intersects with right wing group

By Mac LeBuhn, DFER Policy Analyst

If two people walk in opposite directions for long enough, they’ll eventually meet each other again.

While Diane Ravitch and the folks at the American Principles Project are probably as opposite politically as two groups can be, they ran into each other on Wednesday. A letter to Congress addressing student privacy rights was signed by both the Network for Public Education - Diane Ravitch’s education advocacy group - and the American Principles Project.

While many of us share concerns about the misuse of student data in education policy, there’s less consensus about everything else the American Principles Project stands for. On economic issues, the group advances a theory of the economy so retrograde you have to reach back to the nineteenth century to find mainstream thinkers who seriously considered such ideas. Papers like “The Gold Standard: The Foundation of Our Economy’s Greatness” provide a sense of their economic platform.

On social issues, they’re no better. The American Principles Project would strip women of the right to choose when they become pregnant. They would undo hard-fought progress on marriage equality. On issue after issue, the American Principles Project promotes a vision of America held by a quickly shrinking share of voters.

It says something about Diane Ravitch’s role in the education debate that this is the sort of group that she perceives as an ally. Just as the American Principles Project advances a fringe vision of the United States, so does Diane Ravitch promote an extremist’s understanding of education policy. Populated with visions of money-greedy businessmen with nefarious motives and secret plans laid out by an imagined Gates cabal, Ravitch’s view of education policy now intersects with the positions of groups like the American Principles Project.

While we disagree with Diane Ravitch on many issues, we certainly acknowledge that she is a leader to many in education. It is a shame to see where she has chosen to lead them.

Mac LeBuhn is a policy analyst at Democrats for Education Reform (DFER). Before joining DFER, Mac was a fourth grade teacher at Rocketship Si Se Puede, a charter school in San Jose, CA. He became interested in education policy through internships at the offices of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston. Read more about Mac here.




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