Over at his blog serious education journalist Alexander Russo is now steaming, not just huffing (though the huffing post has been changed with no note to readers, I didn’t think serious education journalists like Russo did that?), about how this blog could have been invited to a briefing with the Secretary of Education. The problem with his argument is that he’s ascribing views to this blog that are not only wrong, but that I’ve explicitly rejected. Namely, it’s never been presented as journalism and readers know, or can easily find out, what they are and are not getting. And he, of course, knows this because we’ve discussed it before on the blogs.
He also claims that I’m in the tank for Secretary Spellings over this growth model pilot (and earlier that I’m in the tank for Democrats). Yes, she bought me off with chicken, salad, and a macaroon! But here’s the thing: I expressed a lot of reservations about the pilot, laid out some criteria I thought was important, and they’ve basically met them. And it’s not just me, the education civil rights community and pro-NCLB folks are satisfied as well and had also earlier been critical. Macaroons all around, we’re all in the tank! Do I still have concerns? Of course, especially about what happens next year as I said, but I can’t get very worked up about a two-state pilot and the process they used to make the decisions was commendable. And we’ll probably learn something from these states. Moreover, I can only imagine that if despite this I continued to criticize the Spellies then Russo would (in that case rightly) accuse me of just being a partisan Democrat who would give the Bush crowd no quarter.
And that’s why it is hard to take much of this very seriously because it’s just not substantive; it’s the all over the place temporal ranting of an aspiring professional contrarian or frustrated blogger. Now he wants to know when I’ve criticized “patrons” like Democrats? Please. If this is serious education journalism then we do actually need more blogs…
Update: Where Diplomacy Fails…I think Serious Education Journalist Alexander Russo needs to work on his reportorial skills because he somehow interprets the post above as “conceding the point.” Let me be clearer then: I think his argument borders on the absurd and that the thrust of all this boils down to clownishly transparent indignant pique at not being included in this briefing since he sees himself not only as a Serious Education Journalist but as the must-read education blogger. In other words, as I said, it’s not about substantive issues at its core. In addition to disingenuously ascribing views to this blog that he knows I’ve never claimed, he’s ludicrously accusing me, a Democrat, of at once being hopelessly partisan and unable to dispassionately analyze education issues and also being in the tank for a Republican Secretary of Education as evidenced by the fact that I criticized a proposed initiative and then acknowledged that the Secretary actually handled it pretty well in the end. If what he’s really trying to say is that I have viewpoints, well, duh. I’ve never claimed otherwise nor has my organization. But my take on the growth model pilot doesn’t make his apparent point, it shows how ridiculous it is.
As he’s moved from producing a useful email of education news clips to being a blogger cum Serious Education Journalist, Russo seems to be mistaking the ingrained skepticism that is the hallmark of good journalism and good social science for simply knee-jerk attacks on various folks. In this case under the guise that he “worries” or is “concerned” that readers may be hopelessly misled into thinking I’m a journalist. He must think they’re stupid. I’m worried and concerned about Serious Education Journalist Alexander Russo. Enough about this.