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Education Advocacy Organizations: An Overview

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The attention they deserve is the attention to the disservice they are doing to public education by vilifying teachers and public schools as the reason for the achievement gap, which we know exists due to family issues, not schools. But, Ken, you wouldn't mention that because you and Matt don't want to take an actual stand. DFER is Democratic in name only. These are are group of 1 percenters, the oligarchs (Whitney Tilson et al) who are trying to privatize our public schools. Rhee is a hack who co-taught for a couple years, became a quitter as chancellor on DC, and there are questions as to her efficacy, judgement and truth-telling. These groups are only strong when we talk about them as if they have a value. They don't. They remove value. They are parasites. Get on board, guys. Why don't you guys get on board?

Sons of b-----s. All of them. They wouldn't last one day in the classroom. I don't really care anymore how much money each group has; they can shove it all up their a--. The truest of sad parts, however, is why are we still giving them attention? Why should we care what they say? Science and history will clarify their stupidity one day, just as it did for leeches and witches. What a stupid, sick joke being played here. Emphasis on played. Henry C. Hale National Board Certified Teacher

Both Matt's and Ken's work is very valuable, and I do not agree that they haven't "taken a stand." I can't tell you how many times I've referred back to this blog; Matt and Bruce Baker are the Jordan and Pippin of research on reforminess (I won't say who is who). Ken has done and continues to do great work. Having said that: I can understand TFT's frustration. Matt and I have gone back and forth a couple of times on the appropriateness of discussing the motivations of the reformers. I respect his decision to focus on policy; I understand a position of objectivity is valuable. But the other side is not playing his way, and they are winning. We have to acknowledge this. They are pushing an agenda that has no basis in fact, logic, or known research; why? Why would they insist on advocating for systems of teacher evaluations based largely on standardized testing that is contradicted by all the evidence? Why are they pushing for compensation and layoff decisions to be made with instruments that are completely inappropriate to the job? Why are they selling a set of prescriptions to cure a diagnosis that is totally flawed? Isn't it germane to ask? Can we possibly win this war - and make no mistake, that's exactly how the reformers see it - without engaging these people on their motivations? Rhee received $50 million (according to Brill) from Rupert Murdoch, who has made no secret of his desire to get into the education sector. Jonah Edelman of SFC gathered together patrons of immense wealth with the expressed (well, expressed when he thought no one was taping him) purpose of breaking the backs of the Illinois teachers unions. Hedge fund managers throw money around Albany to start more charters as Juan Gonzales reports that they are making money through a new markets tax credit funding these very same charters. And that's all aside from the very real concern that "reform" is a distraction from addressing the massive income inequity in this country that has led to chronic poverty. This is serious stuff, and it is absolutely relevant to the discussion at hand. I don't see how anything changes without a frank discussion about these issues. Now, does everyone have to come along for the ride? No, not necessarily; we can all play different roles. Matt and Ken are wonks; this world needs wonks, especially with consciences like they do. We need them to show us that what these people are pushing is not justified by the evidence. But that will not be enough.

Fair enough, Jersey. But these guys are the namesake of Albert, who is rolling around in his grave watching the reformers co-opt his ideas and pervert them for the benefit of the current oligarchy that needs a good kick in the face or five. I refer to Matt often too, as he is good at picking apart studies and making sense for those of us who suffer from researchitis (the desire to have others interpret research for me). But to consistently put out wonkful work without making that work actually work in a particular direction, given the namesake, is my complaint. Shankerblog could wield more power and be more persuasive if they could pepper their analysis with some real world haranguing and directed ass-kicking. Maybe not like me, but something. I am not the first person to mention this here at Shankerblog. I love Matt and I like Ken, though I think they both suffer from milquetoastitis.

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