More Sandy Hook

Two Three columns today about how Sandy Hook has turned into a peg for all sorts of unrelated cultural, political, and policy agendas from Governor Huckabee and the Tea Party on the right to Karen Lewis and Diane Ravitch on the left:  Carl Cannon in Real Clear Politics here and Campbell Brown in Daily Beast here.  [Update: WSJs David Feith here*]

I honestly don’t know what to say to someone who doesn’t appreciate how inappropriate all this is. In our part of the world it’s not the specific issues (charters, Teach For America, teachers unions and so forth), reasonable people can disagree about them. It’s the rush to turn this tragedy into just one more talking point about this or that having nothing to do with what happened that’s so sad.  And sadder still that people are so wound up these various battles they can’t even step back and see that. Yesterday a colleague asked me what he should say to an employee, whose family is directly involved in Newtown, who was very upset by what Karen Lewis and Diane Ravitch were doing with the tragedy. I don’t have a good answer.

Speaking of answers, arming teachers or putting armed security in schools isn’t a good one to what happened at Sandy Hook.  Michele McLaughlin of Knowledge Alliance, and before that the American Federation of Teachers and Teach For America discusses that at TIME with Deborah Gorman-Smith.

*AFT President Randi Weingarten statement in the column: “Tragedy can bring out emotional excess, which is regrettable, but understandable. At the same time anyone engaged in perpetrating the education wars rather than focusing on the families in Newtown is wrong. Can’t we all agree on a moratorium on the fight until we bury our children and teachers?”

43 Replies to “More Sandy Hook”

  1. Campbell Brown, indeed.
    This is the lady who attacked teachers and their unions with false accusations that they protect child abusers. Andrew Rotherham backs those false accusations.
    And they dare to write about politicizing the murders of 26 people, including some long time career teachers?

  2. Unfortunately we know from past tragedies that once time has passed, people forget. We can’t that happen this time but must act now to make certain that citizens:

    know that the people who put students first (second to parents) are in the schools;

    put a stop to the wide availability of firearms, especially assault weapons, starting today.

    In memory of the murdered children and teachers at Sandy Hook School, please act today to support gun control and to honor the nation’s schoolteachers for their daily sacrifices.

    We can’t wait.

  3. That’s a great quote from Weingarten — I couldn’t agree more.

    Philip, it was reprehensible of Andrew Rotherham to give cover to Campbell Brown. That doesn’t mean he can’t be, or isn’t, correct on this issue.

    In the first couple of days after Sandy Hook, Ravitch ‘promoted’ reader comments on her blog by converting them into new stand-alone posts. The fortieth in the series was a reader who speculated, without providing a shred of evidence, that recent acts of violence against schools and students were to some degree related to the ‘teacher bashing’ and ‘school bashing’ *on the part of our elected officials*.

    That is off-the-charts offensive and crazy, and Ravitch made the conscious decision to elevate and endorse the comment. As near as I can tell, she has been repeatedly doubling down since then. Ugly, ugly stuff, imo (but I’m a mere public school parent, so take it for what it’s worth).

  4. There has been a lot of hyperbole and re-contextualization and appropriation of the essential reality of Sandy Hook. The NRA seems to think more guns matters but is ignorant that the Columbine campus already had an armed male on patrol. And still…the madness continues. I would like to suggest to the author of the post that the country he lives in is perhaps not what he imagines. I really am not surprised at the cultural and media fallout. It’s all perfectly predictable.

    Look, we live in a country where 9/11 was an inside job and the President is hiding his political illegitimacy. 46% adhere to Creationism over evolution. The education-world leaders the author of the post calls-out for excessive piling-on are merely echoing the larger national conversation. We all live in a very diverse nation–not a diversity just of ethnicity but of world-view. These world-view occupy almost equal portions of the populace and these views are very, very different ways of understanding life, the Universe, and everything.

    Demonize Ravitch if you must. It’s not like I’m going to change your mind anyway. She’s just one person. There is plenty of evidence and lack of same to indict the modern educational reform movement as a myth at best, a fraud at worst.

    The reason why it’s so easy to glom onto Sandy Hook for any number of other related, but not intimately related issues is quite simply, we live in a web of interrelationships. Humans require answers and modern humans have a sense of complexity when assessing the answers they get. For some Americans the answers can be framed by the seductive simplicity of Occam’s Razor; for others, by Glenn Beck’s chalkboard of paranoia.

    Oh, and any attempt to create a false equivalency between Huckabee and Ravitch has not been lost on your readers.

  5. Andrew Rotherham may be right that teachers’ unions protect pedophiles? Are you serious? Anti-unionists can latch on to Sandusky to promote their agenda but it’s repugnant for Ravitch to lionize the heroic deeds of Sandy Hooks teachers to illustrate that all unionized teachers aren’t the “thugs” your side has portrayed them to be. Does Eduwonk not see how one-sided and transparent this double standard is? Campbell Brown is your go-to source to prove that “independent” parties are repelled by Ravitch’s take? Campbell Brown, the famed anti-unionist? What unabashed spin you deliver on this site!

  6. I have no idea how this came to be about sex abuse problems in schools, but it’s a serious enough issue that I’ll weigh in. My actual, as opposed to ascribed ones by clowns, view on that issue is here:

    And yes, I think everyone, and that includes but is not limited to teachers unions, could and must do more to address this problem. What happened in the CA legislature this year, for instance, can’t continue.

  7. As usual, dishonesty from Andrew Rotherham.
    Or he is deliberately ignorant.

    Here at eduwonk, Andy let Campbell Brown’s false accusation go unanswered and instead focused on the People magazine aspect between Randi and Campbell.
    Campbell Brown wrote (in the journal run by a guy who allowed his employees to mislead the family of a dead English girl):
    Teachers Unions Go to Bat for Sexual Predators

    See more here:

    That’s one reason the child abuse came up. Andy is eager to mount his high horse that he misses the saddle by a few feet. So the few cases of teacher abuse of children is turned into Teachers Unions Go to Bat for Sexual Predators. And when it is pointed out that the teachers at Sandy Hook were members of a union and career teachers, some TFA guy goes nuts.

    As for clown, Andy, I not the one worked for a guy who claimed not have sexual relations with that woman and degraded the Oval Office. I don’t think it is OK to lie about the test scores of your students. Nor do I use Kevin Johnson to denigrate your Professional Education Reform crowd.

  8. It was inevitable that last Friday’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School would lead quickly to blame-laying and debate that extended far beyond the 20-year-old who perpetrated the massacre. The mental-health system, the regulation of guns, and a culture soaked in bloody video games and movies all came in for understandable scrutiny. Then there were the non sequiturs, none more shocking than teachers union leader Karen Lewis’s claim that the organization Teach For America kills children.

    Readers will remember that Teach For America is akin to a domestic Peace Corps. Since 1990 it has sent roughly 30,000 of the brightest college graduates into classrooms, especially in inner cities and rural areas where the education system is weakest. TFA teachers have performed well in the classroom, and many have gone on to promote promising education-reform efforts as state legislators, for example, or founders of successful charter-school networks. As such, teachers unions and their allies have often considered TFA a threat to their near-monopoly control over public education.

    This leads us, amazingly enough, to the comments of Ms. Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union. Some 72 hours after the Connecticut school shooting, the prominent education historian Diane Ravitch wrote a blog post praising the bravery of Sandy Hook’s teachers—and contrasting it with the “shame” of Connecticut’s Democratic governor, reform groups and “hedge fund managers” who last year supported legislation tying teacher tenure and evaluations to student academic performance. The post immediately earned wide criticism as insensitive, politicized and tendentious. A vice president of TFA, David Rosenberg, tweeted that it was “reprehensible.”

    Then came Ms. Lewis’s response (in the form of an open letter to Ms. Ravitch): “Rosenberg’s ‘false outrage’ needs to be checked. That same false outrage should show itself when policies his colleagues support kill and disenfranchise children from schools across this nation.”

    The Chicago Teachers Union is one of the largest and highest-profile chapters of the American Federation of Teachers. Does the AFT’s national leadership stand by Ms. Lewis’s statement? President Randi Weingarten answered by email: “Tragedy can bring out emotional excess, which is regrettable, but understandable. At the same time anyone engaged in perpetrating the education wars rather than focusing on the families in Newtown is wrong. Can’t we all agree on a moratorium on the fight until we bury our children and teachers?”

    This didn’t seem to be a condemnation of Ms. Lewis, so I asked for clarification. A Weingarten spokesman responded: “Randi believes that there will be a time to return to the education wars. That time is not now. She is singularly focused on the healing of the teachers and students in Newtown. . . . We are burying 27 people this week—and no political ideology can or should try to trump their blessed memory.”

    Amen. But one hopes there will come a time when Ms. Weingarten finds it appropriate to condemn her colleague’s Teach For America slander.

  9. Let’s be very clear about this:

    The sexual abuse of a child is a very serious crime that is under the jurisdiction of the judicial system and not superintendents or “the unions.” When such a crime is suspected at a school, employees are mandated to call the police or child abuse authorities. After that, the alleged criminal is in the hands of the courts. The law in every state requires that the suspected abuser be placed on immediate leave. Upon conviction he is automatically dismissed from his job and will likely be imprisoned. There are no committees or commissions.

    The problem comes when school officials, like the one in Rotherham’s story, cover up, turn a blind eye, or give in to political pressures. I mean, think about it, if the superintendent felt there was “strong evidence” that the teacher was abusing the children, why was he bowing to parent pressure, as the article implies?

    In my 42 years of teaching there was only one time when a teacher was accused of sexual abuse and then exonerated by the courts. Because this man had other suspicious activities in his past, the superintendent appealed (to the state commission) to have his credential pulled so he could be dismissed. Permission was granted. To this day I don’t know if he was guilty or not.

    In the Miramonte case, the judge has already allowed victims to proceed with civil suits because there is evidence of gross negligence and cover-up on the part of ADMINISTRATION. When these cases are tried, we’ll find that this tragedy, like the one at Penn State, occurred because employees were carelessly hired, rarely supervised and often transferred to other schools even when there were suspicions of abuse. We’ll find out that administrators ignored laws requiring them to report suspected crimes to police and that they ignored complaints by parents, teachers and children. Administrators, and not “the unions” or teachers, have been named in all these lawsuits. Personally I hope the victims are awarded huge sums of money and I predict that they will be. Next to the crime itself, nothing is worse than turning a blind eye to the abuse of a child.

    Teachers, like other people, sometimes commit crimes; but the vast majority are very law-abiding citizens who often devote their careers, and sometimes their lives, to the education and protection of our nation’s children. Let’s honor them.

  10. TFA stands for TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE.

    As a retired Naval officer with XO experience I smell crass opportunism here. I smell the short timer attitude. I smell no skin in the game. I smell the holier than you attitude.

    I read it on their webiste. I see these TFA’rs post You Tube videos about their hellhole days in the public because of lazy, union goon, teachers.

    I know it when I see it. And if these part-time carpetbaggers were to enter the military as their “community service” we would all be dead.

    My enlisted had more smarts and more commitment than these carpetbaggers.

    When I think of TFA I think self-aggrandizement.

    Best and Brightest? Says who and why?

    Pony up Rotherham. Back up your claims.

  11. “of the brightest”

    In what? Women’s medieval armor from the perspective of sexual liberation?

    TFA’rs cannot get jobs. The glow and door opening power of a degree in religious studies from Yale has waned.

    A sincere student in engineering or mathematics from a California state school is employed and asking for straight black coffee from his Ivey Barista.

    That is the brutal reality. The Ivey network has collapsed in this brutally competitive world.

    Over night we became a what you know culture rather than a who you know. Out of pure fear, the Ivey’s have closed rank to support their graduates. They have to. Their reputation is on the line.

  12. What does this country need? They need the discipline of the immutable physical laws and mathematics. Out of ignorance, some have run pell mell to the artificial sanctuary of social science and the liberal arts where the ONLY constant is a sophisticated form of dissembling. There are NO rules, and NO standards.

    In effect, there is NO way to be kept honest or accountable. Economics is the classic example. They just decide to call things laws. They desperately need laws in order for their accumulated body of knowledge, silliness, to gain any kind of credibility. Right now the brights are agitating for economics to lose its place at the Nobel table. Good idea.

    It is tough to defend the edu-reform movement when its core is economics which has FAILED MISERABLY at it core mission of explaining rational huma behavior and market cycles. They speak in qualifiers.

    In my line of work, if you are wrong in a non-laboratory setting, you die. Is there ANY mechanism that can protect the veracity of ANY claims coming from the edu-reform movement.

    I smell the pro-life debate here. I smell a debate of principles. And in this country they have never ended well.

  13. “Teachers Unions Go To Bat for Sexual Predators”

    “I honestly don’t know what to say to someone who doesn’t appreciate how inappropriate all this is.”

  14. AR – As a frequent Eduwonk reader, I’ve come to tolerate the insanity of your comments section, but I think that just like we did with Sandy Hook that things here have reached a tipping point.

    It’s great to have a forum for public discussion on the issues you raise, but the tin foil hat crowd has threadjacked your comments so that reasonable discussion here is no longer possible. There’s no reasoning with the handful of compulsive commenters – they are substituting their participation here for the psychotherapy they so desperately need.

    End the platform for this insanity. Keep an email address so people can send feedback that you can then incorporate into follow-up posts if you choose. They can get their own blogs and find discussion boards elsewhere.

  15. Linda,
    Spot on with your 11:00am comment.
    As for TinHat, your sanctimonious concern is worthy of a response from the Pompous Ass Brigade. They, like you, despise the way commenters use Andrew Rotherham words against him. They find it reprehensible when Andrew is pointed out to be disingenuous , or even worse, a hypocrite who lies.

  16. Tin Foil:

    You’re welcome. If you seek intellectual content, go to the blogs at Education Week. I enjoy Bridging Differences and Reality Check.

  17. Phillip: I don’t agree that there are deliberate lies here. It’s seems to me that this blog spreads many of the misconceptions being circulated right now about teachers. In my opinion, this is a direct result of the tight job market. History tells us that it’s happened before. During times of economic hardship people, especially women and those with secure government jobs, are targeted by citizens who usually eschew these jobs but now need and want them.

    Rotherham’s story of the school superintendent who couldn’t get rid of the child abusers in his district despite “solid evidence” is a perfect example of this misinformation. Without realizing it, Rotherham gives us the primary reason why these abusers are allowed to remain in the schools: their superiors often bow to political pressures and make herculean efforts to “keep this quiet” in order to “protect” the district from bad publicity. In this particular situation, did the superintendent report the suspected abuser to the police, as required by law, or did he try to handle it himself? If the latter, he can be prosecuted himself. Once a school employee is suspected of a serious crime (arson, assault, embezzlement, abuse of a child, theft etc.) he comes under the auspices of law enforcement and not school authorities or “the unions.” The school employee’s only responsibility here is to notify authorities. After that, everything (including the dismissal of the employee) is in the hands of law enforcement, state law, and the courts.

    All professionals purchase malpractice insurance and that includes teachers. When a teacher is accused of a crime, this insurance kicks in and will pay attorney fees (up to one million dollars in my union) and that too is required by law. Other than that, the union can do nothing for the teacher accused of a crime. Obviously, no teacher would ever, ever, protect a child abuser. How very sad that some people think that they would!

    In very rare cases the teacher is exonerated by the courts, althought he still might be guilty. As I said in an above post, this only happened once in my 42 years of teaching. Because this person had a “history” the superintendent had no trouble pulling his credential. Does anyone really believe that teachers, committees, commissions would put a child abuser back in the classroom? I don’t think so.

    When the Miramonte case is adjudicated, we are going to learn the following:

    The suspect was hired carelessly, despite a suspicious background;

    The police and the state were not notified, as required by law, when accusations were made;

    The suspect was allowed to teach behind locked doors and no one knew what he was doing;

    The suspect received “satisfactory” or better evaluations by his superiors;

    Administrators turned a blind eye to many complaints made by teachers, parents and students;

    Children were made to feel like guilty parties when they complained;

    The suspect was allowed to continue teaching, even after many complaints and suspicions were shared.

    Basically, Miramonte was Penn State at the elementary level.

    Phillip, those of us who are educators know the truth because we have witnessed it. Soon others will know it too.

  18. Dear Tin,

    If it helps, think of the riffraff here (myself included) as the loyal opposition. We provide commentary and evidence to counterbalance the often one-sided spin on the education world financially supported by think tanks, non-profits, and the corporate/state interests behind them.

    You’re welcome.

  19. Good point, Linda (again.)
    Whether Mr. Rotherham is deliberately lying or being misleading, I can’t tell (because my mind melding techniques require direct contact 😉 ).
    I do see him as being dishonest, much like a politician.
    Teachers and their unions do not go to bat for sexual predators.
    Campbell Brown is wrong, dead wrong. But Mr. Rotherham is agnostic on that point.

  20. Dear Bill,

    I am no shill for the Ivy League elitists and definitely not for foundations.  If a kid of mine or a student for that matter came home and told me, they got a job at the Gates Foundation, I would smack ’em in the face and disown them on the spot.  I did not raise and educate any child of mine to be a lackey.  So you can bash on the rich and powerful and their lackeys all you want.  They are old, powerful, and rich.  They have no skin in the game and in the realm of education, their incompetence is exceeded only by their arrogance.  Occasionally a good and smart outside of their field billionaire comes along like a John Walton or a Don Fischer and do mostly good and great things, charter schools and KIPP for example.  But most of the rest of their class and their lackeys are gold medalists in the clown olympics.  If they had one honest moment with themselves would drop dead from the shock.  

    But Bill Jones when you pick on idealistic young people who go to teach in some of the toughest inner cities and poorest rural areas in the country I got to call you out. Don’t get me wrong,  I have also hired many teachers who are the equal and even better than many of my TFA teachers.  But there is fact that you can deny all you want, but it is a fact nonetheless: TFA is one of the 5 best things to happen in education in the last 30 years.  If you had any idea what you were talking about, you would know that.  So many of my TFA teachers have stayed in education and gone on to found charter schools, become principals, and many, many more have stayed in teaching.  TFA has changed the lives of millions of poor kids for the better at the cost of about 1/8 of a nuclear submarine. 

    Your e-mails here and on the previous Sandy Hook blog about no skin in the game are obscene and ridiculous.  Obscene to politicize such a terrible thing and ridiculous to proclaim your authority based on your military service.   I am proud of my family’s service in the military – my father, several uncles, and three cousins currently serving –  WW II, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.   My cousins have all seen a lot of combat, more than their fair share, and none of them have ever beat their chest about their service as much as you do in these blogs.  Skin in the game?  Get over yourself.  You were an XO in an atomic tin can at the bottom of the ocean.  Good service to be sure and you should be PROUD in the best tradition of the US Armed Services, not by shoving it in everyone’s face.  If you were Patton this might be tolerable but you are not.  If this were a militiary blog and someone questioned your service, then throw down, but really your comments are pathetic and you should give it up. 

    Before you rant about your credentials again, let me tell you about my “skin in the game” as you put it,  but it’s not a game.  I have been an educator for nearly 25 years, the last 16 of them in the inner city.  Is that enough duty, honor and commitment for you?  I got skin in this game and you don’t.  As a principal, I have hired over 70 TFA teachers.  Many of them are among the best I ever worked with.  Some TFA-ers have not been so great to put it kindly.  They had little or no success teaching in the classroom as hard as they worked at it, and they worked hard.  After two or three years of no success what did they do?  Did they blame poor kids for being poor?  Did they decide they can never get a job anywhere else and hide under the security blanket of tenure and keep teaching with no results year after year?  No, they did the honorable thing.  They gave teaching their best shot, and then went out into the world  and got a job where they can be fired on the spot at any time.  Carpet baggers? Shame on you.  You have never taught and you mock their service in the classroom? Only 8% of low income students in this country graduate from college by the age of 24.  Wendy Kopp had a dream to do something about it.  It is a beautiful dream, and the young people she inspired have changed education for the better whether you like it or not.  

    Do me a favor and don’t have an honest moment with yourself, I wouldn’t want that on my conscience.  

  21. Every person who works for the government (police officer, firefighter, mail carrier, librarian, plumber, teacher) is granted due process rights after a probationary period ranging from about six months (Civil Service worker) to two or three years (teacher). After the initial period, the employee cannot be fired unless a process is followed. In other words, the supervisor cannot just fire the worker to make room for his brother. He must show that the person did not perform satisfactorily on the job. Although this job permanence is called “tenure” for teachers (probably because of college faculty) they do not have true tenure. Like other government employees, teachers can be fired for poor job performance if a process if followed. As with other government workers, the teacher can be fired immediately for crimes, insubordination, and job abandonment. Only university professors and some judges have true tenure. That means they can only be fired for criminal and other serious behavior, and not poor job performance.

    The idea of teachers having “tenure” or a “job for life” is another serious misconception that is being tossed around. What “reformers” want to do is keep due process for firefighters and police officers but take it away from teachers. Now why would that be? Would that be constitutional? And why would the principal in the above post pretend that a teacher has “tenure” when he must surely know that the correct term is “due process?”

  22. Once again, you are right. The tenure/due process distinction is one that smart people like Ms. Kopp, Ms Rhee,, Mr. Rotherham et. Al are loath to make.

  23. u can deny all you want, but it is a fact nonetheless: TFA is one of the 5 best things to happen in education in the last 30 years
    What are the other 4?

  24. To Bill I rebuke thee:

    J.S Mill:

    Where the law ends, public opprobrium begins.

    TFA stands for “Take Full Advantage”. And you all do a very good job of that. You remind me of the NRA.

  25. Tin Foil Hat,

    George Bernard Shaw

    Seeing both sides of an issue is a sign of intellect.

    The edu-reform movement operates much like the NRA.

  26. It is Christmas Day. Everything is ready and I’m waiting for my children and grandchildren to arrive. But I can’t get the terrible slander against teachers out of my mind: the lie that says teachers protect child abusers. Part of me wants to believe that those who spread this lie just don’t know the truth, while the other part tells me I’m being naive. Still, the truth needs to repeated, and often. Here it is:

    A teacher (lawyer, physician, nurse, social worker, police officer, firefighter, etc.) will sometimes betray the trust that has been given to him or her and will commit a heinous crime against a child. For teachers, this is extremely rare and that’s why it almost always makes front page news. Sadly, though, it does happen. As I’ve said before, I came across this a few times in my career and all these people were gone from campus immediately. All were reported to police as required by law.

    What is NOT rare in K-12 schools is false accusations against teachers, especially at the high school level. Almost on a daily basis (in some US school), teachers are falsely accused of things they did not do by angry or vindictive students or parents. Police tell us that “we get these false reports all the time.” Even in my last year of teaching, there were several reports at the local high school. Fortunately, the other students are witnesses and some will always come to the defense of the teacher to say that nothing happened. Most teachers are quickly exonerated (the student often feels guilty and will admit that he made it up) but all these teachers are traumatized when something like this happens and some will quit or retire on the spot.

    In California the law that was defeated would have allowed superintendents and boards of education to dismiss a teacher who is SUSPECTED of sexual abuse of a child. Teachers fought this vigorously and successfully to protect INNOCENT teachers, not to protect the rare guilty ones. The guilty people are under the jurisdiction of the judicial system, and not the superintendent or the school boards. Basically, this law that did not pass would allow the district to dismiss a teacher based on gossip. As I said before, the district has no business making determinations regarding serious crimes but should immediately call police and let the judicial system handle it. Guilty teachers are automatically dismissed.

    For those of you who are truly interested in improving schools, please know what you are saying before spreading false and malicious rumors. As we were reminded by Newtown, teachers are the PROTECTORS of children. May God bless them on this Christmas day.

  27. My take on the whole “kerffle”:

    There is simply no reason for the “outrage” surrounding Ravitch’s and Lewis’ remarks other than distraction from the very real consequences of education reform. This is not about TFA, but it is about the larger Ed Reform issues with which TFA is affliated. In Chicago, the ignorance and cruelty of Edreform has indeed cost children their lives.

    As an educator who works directly with children who are being impacted by the terrible policies of neighborhood school disinvestment, school closings, and charter expansion, I feel it it is my duty to speak up. I work in a psychiatric hospital in Chicago. My students report fear of “getting jumped” on the way to schools across town after their school was shut down. Kids have come in to the hospital with massive anxiety, depression, and rage related to school policies. Kids feel abandoned as they lose the ties to trusted teachers and school staff. My kids with IEPs get shuffled around schools as the charters kick them out, delaying services. My kids have complained about teachers who “don’t get it” speaking about the unfair practice of putting teachers with no education experience and no understanding of their communities’ issues in their classrooms. These things all matter. Why can’t we talk about this? Where is the outrage about this type of impact on children?

  28. I am a physicist and mathematician. I served 20 years in the submarine Navy. I fumble around in a physics lab and in the tutoring center at a university in northern California.

    I like to understand things. I have tried for two years now to understand the edu-reform movement. The harder I tried, and the more I read, the more confused I became. I consider myself a person who has worked their way through some pretty thorny issues with aplomb, reason, and distinction.

    After my journey into the desert with the religious zealots of the edu-reform movement I returned to reason on my own. I sat down, folded my arms and ruminated.

    Proselytizing is for the insane. The edu-reform movement is very concerned with the actions and motivations of others. Go read their websites: All moral encomiums. Policy framed in religious fervor. They have chosen their road to salvation and anyone that stands in the way or DOUBTS is given the tin foil hat.

    I wore a piss cutter, not a tin foil hat, thank you. I am a mentor for TTT. TFA is trying to hijack that organization. But according to my friend, who is a regional director for TTT, there is no chance that will happen. TFA is struggling to be seen as something other than a resume padding industry for some rather arrogant young folks.

    So, to you edu-reform zealots, I remain unconvinced. My arms are folded. You have not made your case. And in my line of work that kind of independent thought is encouraged just as long as it is backed up by sound reasoning.

    TFA, and I wrap them up with the entire reform movement, has an image issue. Right now we love our assault weapons and hate our teachers. TFA finds themselves right in the middle of that.

    No reformation ever ends well for those reformed. Please remember that this movement is about reforming others. And that is the ultimate act of arrogance.

  29. We bow down to assault weapons.

    We beat down our schools and murder our teachers.
    We demand complete and perfect accountability from our teachers.
    We forgive and forget mass shooters calling them mentally ill.
    We forgive and forget the reckless, feckless, statements of our intellectual class and self appointed experts.

    Some culture!

    We call our teachers and their unions evil.
    We love the smash mouth tactics of our NRA. We even bathe it in the flag and the bible.
    Tell anyone you are here for “da kids” and then do as you please.

    Forget the ban on assault weapons. Forget the hot talk about cops in schools.
    What has happened to this nation?

  30. Yesterday a colleague asked me what he should say to an employee, whose family is directly involved in Newtown, who was very upset by what Karen Lewis and Diane Ravitch were doing with the tragedy. I don’t have a good answer.

    Two NRA’rs commiserated about the vile things the general public were saying about assault weapons and wondered if this conversation could be suspended until the dead were buried.

    The conversation of useless deaths in war are NEVER suspended until after the burials. The reason is that those who gave their lives were never called “duds”, “thugs”, “union goons”, “lazy incompetents”. The military always immediately investigates, and it is not shy to attach accountability and blame. The newspapers also jump in to it, speculating on who is at fault.

    Mr. R’s blog post is: An accountability dodge for his movement.

    Cowardly to the core.

  31. The bloody shirt, from the Chicago Tribune:

    When a vast tornado ripped into an Oklahoma elementary school, some teachers threw themselves on top of their students to shield them. They put their students’ lives before their own.

    Some quick-thinking teachers huddled children into a bathroom. Though the roof blew off the school, the kids survived.

    Some teachers were the first rescuers to pull surviving kids from the rubble, to comfort them, to keep them safe.

    We’re sure we’ll hear more stirring stories about Oklahoma teachers who kept calm and protected their students during Monday’s tragedy. Guiding and protecting children is what teachers do……
    That can’t be achieved if Chicago’s teachers fight every effort at reform, if they are in a perpetual war against those who lead Chicago’s public schools.

    Teachers, be heroes.

    I’m sure that Campbell Browen et. al will be issuing denunciations of this demonization.

  32. Why do we need education policy experts?

    What do they do?

    How could we change education so that we did not need them?

  33. The Perversions of Campbell Brown:

    First, Brown is lying. Mulgrew said no such thing. The UFT said no such thing. And the video proves it. Neither Mulgrew nor the UFT were the arbitrators who made the decisions. In fact, I have no idea whether or not Mulgrew is even familiar with these cases.

    Apparently, though, legal expert Brown is familiar with no others. She spouts these endlessly to the Daily News, to Gotham Schools, to me, to Mulgrew, to anyone who will listen. She has her “gotcha” argument and needs no more than that. You’re either with legal expert Brown or you support sexual harrassment, you think mistreating children is a great thing, and she’s got no problem telling you all about it.

    But there are things legal expert Brown leaves out. Like what about the teachers who are not alleged to have done these things, what about teachers who didn’t do these things, and since she has no problem misleading us with clearly false statements about Mulgrew, how do we know she isn’t simply lying about everything else?

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