Diane\'s Blog

John Perella

Good Day Ms. Ravitch,

I am an assistant principal in Revere (a city five miles north of Boston) and I would like to thank you for giving me some hope. I have been working with my teachers on understanding the current landscape of public education. We often jigsaw and discuss your writings, they have inspired us all.

(A little bit about me) I am currently in the last year at the University of Massachusetts Boston in the Leadership in Urban Education Program. My research is in on the National Institute of School Leadership (NISL) – I am sure you have heard about it. It is training program for school leaders. They openly boast that they base their strategies and approaches on military and business models! I have been applying a critical lens to it. It is my assumption that it is another example of Neoliberal (privatization) attempts to drive education policy. Before I became an administrator, I was U.S. history teacher at Revere High School. My two “textbooks” were Zinn’s A People’s History and your American Reader. I put you in the same category with Howard Zinn (a hero), who graciously spoke to my classes roughly ten years ago.

All that aside, I am writing to you because in our last professional development meeting, we (the teachers and myself) all agreed that you are one of the lone voices we can rally to. As a (evolving) critical theorist, I am influenced by McLaren, Apple, Giroux – but you add something that they lack. People react differently when they think the message is coming from a leftist ideologue than they do when it comes from you.

So, I just felt the need to tell you. You are an inspiration to all of us educators (and non-educators) who are making the stand against the privatization and narrow-minded neoliberal education forces.

I see that you are not in this area until the summer (Providence). I hope to see and meet you then.

John Perella