Date: August 25, 2004
Subject: Different day, same situation

In the July 29 edition of the Education Gadfly, Diane Ravitch mourns the recent passing of the Council for Basic Education, at least as it existed from its founding in 1956 until "the organization changed with the times, as it branched out, sought grants, wooed foundations, entered into partnerships, launched projects and pursued government largesse," after which time "the original voice of CBE faded until it was merely a whisper."

Regular readers of Minnesota Education Reform News may recall that Achieve, Inc. with CBE issued an evaluation in November 2000 that was filled with both praise and criticism of the Profile of Learning.

Ravitch recalls that CBE "began as a lonely outpost for a small, outspoken group of articulate critics who agreed that the public schools were foolishly trying to be all things to all people; who believed that progressive educationists had saddled the schools with bad ideas; and who insisted that the mission of the schools was not socialization but intellectual development...founded by bold men and women who led a revolt against mediocrity, anti-intellectualism, and mindlessness in the public schools."

Nearly fifty years later, groups like the old CBE are needed now more than ever. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.