Diane Ravitch and Simon & Schuster are lawyered-up and in some back and forth about the new Steven Brill book “Class Warfare.” What seems to be in dispute is not whether Ravitch took speaking fees from various stakeholders in the education debate but how much exactly and whether Brill’s calculations are flawed.
But from where I sit the key questions seem to have more to do with transparency and obligations to disclose than speaking fees per se as well as how the media should balance highly informed and connected commentary with disclosure and conflicts of interest. Those are not questions with simple answers. Read the letters yourself:
Will all this spark a thoughtful conversation about transparency in the education debate? Or will it devolve into the usual food fight? You’ll never go broke betting on the latter!
For the record, I disclose paid speaking fees just like any other consulting income when writing about groups/issues where it’s germane.