Picking At The Scab…AFTie John Wants To Turn Russ Whitehurst Into J. Edgar Hoover!

Per the item below, AFTie John inexplicably wants to revisit the debate about the AFT charter school report in relation to the NBPTS Sanders voice squelching episode. This is an unusual tact for him to take since the AFT is pretty involved in NBPTS, the AFT president sits on the board of directors, do they want to own this? If they’re as for transparency as AFTie John seems to be saying then they’ve got some ‘splanin to do about the squelching of Sanders.

Also, though the “Bush Administration was sitting on the charter data” was a good line for the AFT to take, it suffers from the moderately serious flaw of not being right. That the press fell for the illogical attack that the Bush Administration was sitting on publicly available data was amusing but not confidence inspiring (though the administration’s penchant for secrecy certainly didn’t help them at all, I’m suspicious of them even when I think they’re right!).

However, as I noted at the time, what in fact happened was an indication that the new Institute of Education Sciences firewall between politics and research was actually working. That the politicals didn’t know what IES was up to in terms of their analysis was a good news story, not a bad news one. You want the politicals to be in the dark so that research can proceed independently. Russ Whitehurst, the head of IES, has vigorously defended the new institution’s independence (and taken some hits for it) and that is something that the AFT should support. Instead, AFTie John and the AFTies want to politicize one of the things about federal education research that is actually working, not a good sign. They succeeded in snookering an NYT reporter who didn’t know to look at the charts or didn’t know how to read them. Good enough for them, that’s politics and they scored a nice hit, but they ought to leave well enough alone. Besides, at some point, someone at the newspaper that didn’t take the report might start talking…

Update: Oops, on his recommendation I’ve been watching too much Bill and Ted and have time travel issues. AFTie John actually wants to start a new debate! Same issue though. I’ve heard rumblings about this new study but not enough to make heads or tails. All leaks welcome. Anonymity assured.

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