Ravitch Leaves Bush Campaign Over Log Cabin Stance

By David J. Hoff — January 12, 2000 3 min read

A prominent education adviser has left Gov. George W. Bush’s presidential campaign team because of the candidate’s unwillingness to meet with a group that represents gay Republicans.

Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch said she resigned because of the Texas governor’s statement in a Nov. 21 television interview indicating that he would not sit down with the Log Cabin Republicans, a Washington-based group that urges the GOP to address issues that concern the party’s gay and lesbian members.

“It was something I found to be intolerable,” Ms. Ravitch, a top education appointee in the administration of President George Bush, the governor’s father, said in an interview last week. “I believe in an inclusive approach to politics.”

Ms. Ravitch—now a research professor at New York University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank—was one of a team of advisers that helped shape Gov. Bush’s education platform in a series of three speeches he has delivered since August.

She said she had urged the governor, for example, to call for increasing the educational content of the federal Head Start program for preschoolers. Mr. Bush did so and proposed moving administration of the program from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Education Department. (“Bush Zeroes In on Accountability For Federal K-12 Funds,” Sept. 8, 1999.)

“She contributed a lot,” said Eric A. Hanushek, the chairman of Gov. Bush’s education advisory group and a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Rochester. “She’s a very knowledgeable observer ... particularly in how federal programs can most effectively be developed and used.”

Scott McClellan, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said the candidate, who is considered the frontrunner for this year’s Republican nomination, had not changed the stance he outlined in the interview on the NBC News program “Meet the Press.”

In a response to a question, Mr. Bush had said he would “probably not” meet with the Log Cabin Republicans. “I am someone who is a uniter, not a divider,” he said. “I don’t believe in group thought, pitting one group of people against another. And all that does is create kind of a huge political, you know, nightmare for people.” Mr. Bush added that he opposes gay marriages and adoptions by gay couples—two issues the Log Cabin Republicans support.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Mr. Bush’s chief rival for the Republican nomination, met with Log Cabin Republicans shortly before the Nov. 21 interview.

A spokesman for the group said the governor’s comments had surprised Log Cabin leaders. The 11,000-member group had worked behind the scenes with the Bush campaign and helped it shape policies to gain the support of its members, said Kevin Ivers, a spokesman for the Log Cabin Republicans.

Now, several people who have endorsed Mr. Bush or are organizing local and state campaigns are angry with him, Mr. Ivers said. “Diane’s decision reflects the fact that, for a lot of people, this has been a bitter disappointment,” Mr. Ivers said last week. “There are still a lot of people on the inside who are very upset about it.”

Ms. Ravitch is a well-regarded education historian whom the Bush administration lured from Teachers College, Columbia University, to become the Department of Education’s assistant secretary for educational research and improvement in 1991. She served until January 1993.

Independent Voice

She was registered to vote as a Democrat when she came to Washington, but has since declared herself an Independent. Ms. Ravitch, who has championed school choice and other issues favored by Republicans, said she had decided to support the two-term Texas governor in the 2000 race because of his willingness to overhaul federal education programs. “He seemed to be ready to look at them freshly and not just endorse the status quo,” she said last week.

But she added that she had decided to leave the campaign because she could not endorse Mr. Bush’s conservative stands on homosexuality.

“Just a few weeks earlier, he was urging Pat Buchanan to stay in the party,” Ms. Ravitch said, referring to the conservative commentator who left the GOP to seek the Reform Party’s presidential nomination. “I think the Log Cabin Republicans are more respectable than Pat Buchanan.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 12, 2000 edition of Education Week as Ravitch Leaves Bush Campaign Over Log Cabin Stance

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Federal Who Is Miguel Cardona? Education Secretary Pick Has Roots in Classroom, Principal's Office
Many who've worked with Joe Biden's pick for education secretary say he's ready for what would be a giant step up.
15 min read
Miguel Cardona, first-time teacher, in his fourth-grade classroom at Israel Putnam School in Meriden, Ct. in August of 1998.
Miguel Cardona, chosen to lead the U.S. Department of Education, photographed in his 4th-grade classroom at Israel Putnam School in Meriden, Conn., in 1998.
Courtesy of the Record-Journal
Federal Obama Education Staff Involved in Race to the Top, Civil Rights Join Biden's White House
Both Catherine Lhamon and Carmel Martin will serve on President-elect Joe Biden's Domestic Policy Council.
4 min read
Federal Opinion What Conservatives Should Be for When It Comes to Education
Education is ultimately about opportunity, community, and empowerment, and nothing should resonate more deeply with the conservative heart.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Opinion What the Assault on the Capitol Means for Educators
Last week's assault on the seat of the American government points to a larger civic challenge that we must address together.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty