Paul Peterson Stirs The Pot…

A lot of feedback about ES’ profile of Paul Peterson’s role as a mentor of up and coming political science types; within poly sci this is pretty widely acknowledged. In fact, in one of the journals there was a similar package years ago but since Peterson had not yet turned to education there was not an education component to it. From within education the feedback– mostly by email — basically boils down to, how could you possibly profile Peterson without [insert attack here]?

Couple of thoughts. First, the piece, by veteran education reporter Dale Mezzacappa does walk through the voucher debate but that is really not what it is about. Instead, like other products in the Connect the Dots product line the purpose is to unpack and explain networks that exist in education. In this case it’s all the influential people Peterson has mentored (and the role he’s played in making education an issue political scientists really pay attention to). Conversely, at This Week Russo complains that it’s “bland” (though it’s hard to take that seriously since Russo almost surely would have been jumping up and down screaming about bias and who was ES trying to please if the piece skewered or praised Peterson’s work). More importantly, isn’t it OK to have some bland pieces that just explain things? The point of view is that there is a lot in here that people don’t know and I think few people within education understand Peterson’s background and how it brought him to education in the first place. Plenty of ink has been spilled on the other issues, the value-add here is the background and context.

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