I was very disappointed in the logical fallacies, and the boogeymen, that [Diane Ravitch] kept bringing up. “We must improve them (schools), not lose them.” She seems absolutely convinced that there is a movement afoot to destroy public schools and to privatize them. If you believe that’s so, then her statements make sense. If you don’t, and she offered no evidence that it’s so, then she’s insane. She piled on: There are two goals of the “corporate reform movement”, privatization and deprofessionalism…

Her bad statistics and bad logic could have been picked out by my first-year statistics students. At one point, when talking about how charter schools in Milwaukee haven’t improved education, she said that African-American charter students in Milwaukee score no better than African-American students in Mississippi. Uh, to determine if the schools are an improvement over Milwaukee’s public schools, shouldn’t those kids be compared to African-American students in Milwaukee public schools? She makes several of these types of errors. In another attack on Michelle Rhee she mentioned something, I didn’t write down what, that good teachers do, and then said that “Michelle Rhee certainly didn’t do that in DC.” Great applause line, but Michelle Rhee never taught in DC, she was the chancellor (superintendent) of the public schools there…

I didn’t expect a red meat feeding frenzy. From someone of Ravitch’s stature I expected much more intelligence, decency, and evidence. It’s not that I disagreed with her–I knew going in that that was the case–it’s just that I expected better. I was truly disappointed at the intellectual shallowness of her talk. This was the great Diane Ravitch? Really?

California teacher Darren Miller, surmising what Dropout Nation and others have been saying about the once-respectable education historian.

Imagine, for a moment, what could happen if teachers unions came to the negotiating table with an open mind and a realization that parental choice is about educating children, not protecting the few teachers who are failing them. Teachers are committed professionals who did not choose this vocation in order to become rich and famous. They genuinely care about educating our children and we should respect that.

However, we also must hold them accountable for our children’s academic success and failure. Fighting merit pay, which deals with so much more than student test scores and could actually reward the best teachers, is tone-deaf. Restricting teachers willing to put in extra work is counter-intuitive. Telling parents they should have no power in the way their child’s school is run or where their child is educated is simply inhumane and cruel.

MSNBC Commentator Michelle Bernard, commenting on the declining influence of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. One reason for their decline: The No Child Left Behind Act, which, as this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast explains, has changed the conversation on teacher quality.