Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Monitor wizards

Crocodile Monitor Lizard, San Diego Zoo.
Peter Cunningham, former apple-cheeked something or other in the Department of Education under Arne Duncan, writes on the subject of Diane Ravitch:
Over the years, her criticism of the administration became more and more strident. It was increasingly clear that she was not interested in a genuine conversation with us but rather was interested in driving her anti-administration message, even if it meant resorting to tactics that are beneath someone of her stature: ad hominem attacks on [jump] the secretary, cherry-picking data, setting up straw man arguments, taking language out of context and distorting its meaning, and ignoring sound evidence that conflicts with her point of view. At a certain point, I made the decision that, rather than engage with her, we would ignore her and, for the most part, we did.
But maybe "ignore" is not quite the mot juste, as we high-class folks put it, because
one of my jobs was to monitor criticism of our policies and develop our responses. One of the people I monitored pretty closely was Diane Ravitch.
And he's still monitoring her on his own time:
For example, I read the other day that Dr. Ravitch's blog has just received its six millionth page view. I extend my congratulations to her.
But only with one hand, as with the other he carries on trying pretty hopelessly to discredit her and her forthcoming book, Reign of Error.

For further background, read blogger RagingHorse and Ravitch herself.

I'd just like to say that in a nicer world, maybe Secretary Duncan and his minions would just pause to wonder whether somebody as distinguished as Dr. Ravitch, and loved, and especially notable for her ability to recognize when she has made mistakes, as in the rigorous and surely painful reexamination she has given in recent years to all of her previous beliefs in her chosen field—whether somebody like that might have some reason for disagreeing with Secretary Duncan other than sheer malice or not being a team player or being strident or whatever the fuck they think is wrong with her. What makes Arne Duncan, who can't even pronounce his own name successfully (he makes it like a nickname for Arnold) so certain he is right and Ravitch is wrong?

Indeed maybe they could try "monitoring critics" to get an idea of where they themselves are falling short and could be doing better, which is just about all over the place.

And hey, Mr. President, you too, by the way. You too.
Panay monitor lizard, threatened with extinction. NatureAndKind.


No comments:

Post a Comment