Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, November 8, 2013

On Name Calling In The Education Debate

My response to the Stephanie Simon article in Politico in which the reformers cry to the press about how their feelings have been hurt by that mean Diane Ravitch and those nasty education bloggers:

For years now, the education reformers have branded themselves with names like "Children First" or "Students First" for their groups, they've called teachers "special interests" and made movies where unionized teachers at traditional public schools are the villains. 

Suddenly when there is pushback from teachers sick of being scapegoated by Bloomberg, Emanuel, Klein, Rhee, Duncan, Gates et al., some of the reformers decry the negative tone in the education debate.

The education reform movement has implemented a no-compromise agenda, pushing through the Common Core, tests aligned to the CCSS, teacher evaluations based on those tests, and collection of students data that gets handed over to third party vendors whether parents like it or not. 

Had education reformers shown some willingness to compromise on that agenda, some humility in pushing that agenda, some ability to acknowledge mistakes, and less willingness to smear teachers as the villains in public education, perhaps the tone would not be so negative.

Alas, many in the education reform movement have not shown any of that. 

NYSED Commissioner John King is the perfect emblem for the reform movement - arrogant, isolated from other stakeholders, he pushes a reform agenda few want and many see as wrong.  Even as evidence mounts his agenda is harming students, he continues to push it and ignores critics and opponents.  Then when faced with parents telling him to his face in Poughkeepsie why they don't support his agenda, he gets mad at their audacity for not bowing down to his wishes, calls them "special interests" and tries to shut down future town hall meetings over Common Core until public outcry forced him to change his mind.

King sees himself as the victim here, not the aggressor.  But of course, the aggression starts with King and then, when there is a pushback, suddenly he decries the aggression from the other side.

No quarter on this stuff anymore. 

For years there was name calling from the reformers. 

For years, they have pushed through their agenda wholesale without regard for other stakeholders like students, parents or teachers who don't agree with that agenda. 

It's a cliche but it holds true here - reformers are like the guy who kills his parents, then tells the judge he deserves mercy because he's an orphan.


  1. Typical sociopathic behavior: defend yourself against their attacks, and suddenly they are the victims.

    1. Yup - how dare anybody respond to being called a "failed" or "bad" teacher by noting the hypocrisy of the deformers doing the name calling?