Eduwonk How To: Write Your Own Smarmy Op-ed

The trick to writing an op-ed about education isn’t having facts, data, analysis, or even silky smooth prose. Instead, there is a particular architecture that rarely fails.

First, start with a quick lede feigning even-handedness or offering backhanded praise.

Second, smear your opponents. Attacks on salaries are always a great strategy because they seem so plausible yet really have little to do with the underlying issue. And, you can never go wrong attacking motivations.

Third, make a few first-person assertions in the remaining space. Arguing that all aspects of education are just different than any other human endeavor is always a safe choice.

Finally, make sure that the line identifying you is at the bottom not the top. That way, most readers will have tuned out before finding out you work on behalf of a special interest group with a vested stake in the issue.

Here is a good example. Eduwonk doesn’t entirely disagree with the basic point. But, for more nuance about a complicated issue try this or this, and for an innovative way to address the problem check out New Leaders for New Schools.

Also, finding school leaders is a real problem.

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