regions become competitive with NorthnCarolina, Mississippi, or Taiwan. Youncan bet your bottom dollar that privatenindustry will then come knocking at thendoor again.” They overstate the case.nActually, if tax-cut fever were to hitnthe Gray belt, if public spending couldnbe reduced, and if unions could be persuadednto moderate their wage demandsnand give up the antiquated work rulesnthat are pricing their labor off the market,nit could be enough. As WilliamnSimon has commented, fringe benefitsnto New York City employees cost 68ncents over and above every dollar paidnout in wages and salaries. The averagenfor benefits to federal employees wasn35 cents. Had New York’s fringe benefitsnbeen held to the federal level ofn35 percent, total costs would have beenn11.5 billion less—the difference betweenna billion-dollar deficit and a half-billiondollarnsurplus for the city’s hard-pressedntreasury.nExposing Virulent LiesnDiane Ravitch: The Revisionists Revised:nA Critique of the Radical Attacknon the Schools; Basic Books;nNew York.nby David PietruszanJjuring the late 1960s the nation’sneducational system, like so many otherninstitutions, came under heavy theoreticalnattack from the big guns of thenradical left. Now, obviously there was—nand is—a lot to be criticized concerningnthe conduct of our academics, drasticnfallings-off in basic skills, a laxity ofndiscipline, ballooning budgets. Andnthere was much to be criticized in thenstandard histories of American education.nOften the tone was unctuous,nholier-than-thou, and biased in its ownnright.nMr. Pietrusza, an historian and freelancencritic, has recently written a booknon Senator Joseph McCarthy.nAnother instructive model is NewnHampshire. By keeping its per capitantax bite the lowest in the nation, it hasnbecome the fastest growing state innNew England and has an unemploymentnrate half that of other states innthe area. Furthermore, it has achievednthis prosperity without sacrificing qualitynof life. A study prepared by twonDartmouth professors, comparing NewnHampshire with Vermont—its twinnsister and one of the most highly-taxednstates in the nation—failed to establishnthat life in one was superior to life innthe other.nv^learly, the application of commonnsense and sound economics could gonfar toward revitalizing the other statesnof the Graybelt. The North may indeednrise again, but the way to renewed prosperitynlies through capitalist productionnand not socialist dogma. DnYet the new revisionist thrust ignorednthese very real failings and focusedninstead on jamming their factsninto a tortured marxist or anarchistnstraight jacket. The classroom, theyncharged, was a sinister instrument ofnclass oppression, reinforcing the statusnquo, hindering the upward rise of thenimmigrant and the disadvantaged whilensimultaneously and forcibly uprootingnethnic traditions.nThere were in these fevered argumentsnvirulent strains of utopianismnideas, these too met with token opposition.nSome educators went over to thenrevisionist side. Others refused to takenthe challenge seriously. No coherentnbody of thought arose to point out thengaping inconsistencies or to skewer theirnunsupported generalizations. NownDiane Ravitch, author of The GreatnSchool Wars, a study of New York City’sntortured school board politics, has takennthe time to puncture a few selectednideological balloons using solid statisticalnand historical research and thenpowers of a rigorously logical mind.n”When they are effective, reformersnbecome responsible for the changes theyninitiate,” she notes, zeroing in on anprime weakness of the revisionists.n”And when at some future date, thenreforms need reforming, their originalnsponsors can be disparaged for not havingnthe prescience to see what could gonwrong. Thus, anyone who gets involvednin a political action runs the considerablenrisk of failing, while those whonrefuse to abandon their Utopian idealsncan never be held accountable.”n1 he intellectual mind-fix of the revisionistnschool may best be gauged bynauthor Michael Katz’s sweeping assertionnthat American education has for ancentury been “universal, tax-supported,nfree, compulsory, bureaucrat, racist, andnclass-biased… Bureaucracy came aboutnbecause men confronted particularnkinds of social problems with particularnsocial purposes. Those purposes reflectednclass attitudes and class interests.nModern bureaucracy is a bourgeois invention;nit represents a crystallizationnnj .t v.iii K I pn ‘ Mknis Mun j”> ni.iTK K.>)tLh turn .iw>i Tiom thentuni’ i,uiMionN idiM-d K iddii ui iiiiiil hutuif ihcv Mnack ittn^ “111 ih.Pk’ li”l>iJili 11 ijili’i.’ iiJi’iiiivn— i’jt Ytiri Iimns Book Kei-ieU’nand paranoia. If society still harborsnelitism, snobbery or racism, it was obviousnto the revisionists that the schoolsnhad planned it that way despite all theirnwords and actions to the contrary.nLike so many other faulty avant-gardennnof bourgeois social attitudes.”nThe bias is, of course, apparent. InnKatz’s warped perception only bourgeoisncapitalism creates bureaucracy, as if itndoes not exist behind the Iron Curtain,nor in a democratic-socialist society liken15nChronicles of Cttlturen