"I appreciate your comments about my various blog posts. We take our role as “Education Gadfly” very seriously at Fordham. We are fortunate—thanks to our mission, our fantastic board, and our endowment, which gives us a measure of independence—that we can feel uninhibited to raise the red flag when we see reforms going awry. I would be bored to death if I had to stick to talking points.
Thankfully, we’re not the only ones willing to speak honestly about problems as they arise. I think a fair-minded observer would see that the vast majority of “reformers”—especially those of us in think-tank land—engage in regular, open debate about the right way forward. It’s hard for folks in elected or appointed positions to do so, but that’s true regardless of which side of the issue you’re on. Frankly, I see reformers conceding ground and acknowledging different viewpoints much more frequently than I do the reform critics. When was the last time Diane Ravitch or Karen Lewis said something like, “You know, the reformers have a point that it’s too hard to fire bad teachers.” Or, “Clearly they want to provide opportunity to low-income children; we just disagree about how to do that.” I don’t think they’ve ever said such things. Ever. Why don’t responsible people on “your side” give them grief about that?"