Diane\'s Blog

Anand Bhat

Dear Dr. Ravitch,

I first heard about you from Democracy Now’s interview with you last year. I never got around to reading your new book, but last night I saw a somewhat disturbing presentation at a fundraiser. The fundraiser was put on by an Indian fraternity at Texas A&M. The fraternity was raising money in Houston for a village school in Gujarat state at the 11th and 12thrade level. This is called PUC (pre-university college) and is when kids essentially start their college so they can graduate by 20.

My issue was that the person raising the money decided to support this school on the conditions that he would do what school reformers do here. He said that the school cannot join the government, they must have merit pay and teacher accountability. He was also going to monitor the results of this to increase the passage rates on state exams. My biggest problem was that this was going to be used to eventually write a PhD dissertation for his education degree. He currently is a principal in Houston (he’s 26 or 27 at most) in a low performing school and is studying all the management books. He’s interested in all the metrics of teacher performance.

Indians are very apt to copy dumb ideas from the West. I am afraid rote learning is already a very bad problem in Indian schools (please see the fantastic movie Three Idiots). It may show you the future of American education.

In any case, I got your book from the Galveston public library so I can better debate this young principal’s philosophy. I’m studying medicine, so I am sort of taking a detour by nosing in this education business.

On an unrelated note, I wanted to know if being from Texas influenced your career in anyway. Do you feel like it makes you more forthright and direct with the issues at hand? I feel that people outside the South are often a bit more weasly about things.

Thank you,
Anand Bhat