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At least according to this post by Alexander Russo I am, along with Anthony Cody, Nancy Flanagan, Caroline Grannan, John Thompson, and Leonie Haimson.   As Russo writes:

There's a strange dynamic going on inside the online education reform debate in which the well-funded reformers play the role of wimpy David and the scrappy traditional educators are Goliath.
  He then goes on to write
As anyone who reads education sites or goes on Twitter knows, "reform critics" -- they're still working on a better term to describe their views -- have a slew of current teachers and veterans out there talking about their classroom experiences and opinions nearly every day.  Nancy Flanagan, TeacherKen, Anthony Cody, and John Thompson to name just a few. It's not just that they're out there shouting randomly into the wind, either.  At least some of them seem to be coordinated behind the scenes by SOS or PAA or Leonie's listserv, bird-dogging individual sites -- Caroline Grannan seems to have been (self-)assigned to this site -- and converging on a blog post or Twitter comment (as happened to me last week when I first posted on this topic).  If past experience is any guideline, the comments here and Twitter RTs will come from them.
  Not that Russo is biased or anything, except he ends this post with this:  
I'm not taking sides here as to who's more right or more wrong (most everyone's wrong, far as I'm concerned).  And perhaps there are bloggers and commenters out there I've missed in my looking and asking around.  I put out a call for school-based reform-positive voices last week and am happy to continue to learn more.

Anthony and Nancy have already posted their own responses (click on their names for the links).  Let me offer just a few comments below the fold.

Anthony and Nancy are friends and professional colleagues.  We are all members of the Teachers Leaders Network.  We were all on the steering committee for last summer's Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action.  Nancy and I continue as elected members of the steering committee of the ongoing Save Our Schools effort.

I have never met Carolyn Grannan.  She and I have been active participants in the Assessment Reform Network of FairTest for years.  I have also never met Leonie Haimson, although we have occasionally exchanged emails, as I have with many people concerned with public education.  As for John Thompson, the first connection I ever had with him was when emails began after Russo's post went up and he tweeted it.

I have been involved with issues about education for more than 15 years, starting with my participation at the Assessment Reform Network and the old bulletin board of Education News.   I began blogging on education here at Daily Kos in 2004.  I ran education panels at the two Yearly Kos conventions, at Las Vegas in 2006 and Chicago in 2007.  

I acknowledge having been very critical of much of the reform movement.  I have posted many times on the problems I see.  I was critical here and on Twitter about Education Nation.  

But for Russo to imply that those he includes in the "reform" movement - which would include many of the Gates and Broad funded initiatives, including the likes of Michelle Rhee and Teach for America and Education Nation, and so on - are Davids and those of us who lack such funding are in any way "goliaths" is laughable.  If anything, it is the other way around.

Russo's problem seems to be that he thinks he is more important than he is.  During the twitter exchanges on his piece, he argued that fact that people like Anthony and Nancy and I were responding to him, 'reformers' weren't, nor were many other classroom teachers seems to indicate little more than his lack of understanding of how Twitter works -  we were mentioned, so it showed up in our twitter feeds, and thus it was logical for us to respond.   For Russo to assume that everyone involved in educational discussions on Twitter is paying attention to him is laughable.

He tweets as follows:  

a@anthonycody there are roughly 3 million teachers out there - how come there are only 10 or 20 of you raising these issues?
  He is wrong on his facts, since I have dozens of my followers who raise such issues, and in fact i get many of my followers precisely because i raise such issues.

Anyhow, as a classroom teacher who blogs and tweets on his own time after fulfilling his responsibilities to his students to be called a Goliath is amusing.  Frankly, I see myself - and Anthony and Nancy and the others - as far closer to David.  Our use of social media may well be our slings, in which case the "reformers" and those who shill for them - like Russo - probably should be worried.

What do you think?

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Comment Preferences

  •  This Is Funny (19+ / 0-)

    I must have missed the verse where David spent billions of dollars to buy his slingshot.

    "H.R.W.A.T.P.T.R.T.C.I.T.G -- He really was a terrible president that ran the country into the ground."

    by Reino on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 08:28:15 PM PST

  •  Oh wow, that's some flawed logic. (16+ / 0-)
    He tweets as follows:  
    a@anthonycody there are roughly 3 million teachers out there - how come there are only 10 or 20 of you raising these issues?

    I only see 20 or 30 meteorologists on the internet, out of 313 million Americans, saying that we need to upgrade the warning process for tornadoes. But that doesn't mean it's not an issue, it means that more people need to talk about it.

  •  Maybe he meant (12+ / 0-)


    Seriously, though, it's the sincerest form of flattery. It means that he (and probably other #edreform flunkies) fear the reasoned, informed voices of practicing educators. We are the ones pointing out the lack of evidence supporting their reforms and the big-money agenda behind reforms purported to help students.

    So, give 'em hell.  And let him come up with more creative Biblical names to call you.

    If I wanted to shut up, do what I'm told, and like it, I'd be a Republican!

    by MadLibrarian on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 08:33:49 PM PST

  •  The border cops of the CW (9+ / 0-)

    often present the least coherent; most hyperbolic, and least factually supported writing I see.   This one is a classic of the genre.  

    Congratulations for being singled out for this badge of honor.


  •  I always thought of you more as Mothra (9+ / 0-)

    Question: How much lobbying money is spent by Alexander Russo's Scholastic vs. teacherken?

    I read recently you had to have a discussion with your wife to decide if you could afford a gift subscription for a user here.

    Someone is full of shit in this debate... who could it be?

  •  With Dungeons & Dragons on my mind... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock, Marjmar, kyril, Stude Dude, ER Doc

    ...I see "goliath" and I think, "Ooh!  They make excellent defenders."

  •  Learning is in the eye of the beholder and (0+ / 0-)

    one does not have to learn in a brick and mortar building, where the frail human condition called subjectivity can be manipulated with a glance the right or wrong way....

    The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by Mindmover on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 09:23:09 PM PST

  •  Agreed on the David/Goliath thingy being... (5+ / 0-)

    ...the other way around.

    I found this funny too:

    He tweets as follows:  

        a@anthonycody there are roughly 3 million teachers out there - how come there are only 10 or 20 of you raising these issues?

    But my take on it was "colored" by this:

    I put out a call for school-based reform-positive voices last week and am happy to continue to learn more.

    ...and I laughed, because if you have to "put out a call," that must mean there are less than 10 or 20 "school-based...voices" talking about the "reform-positive" aspects of education?  Or maybe they don't know how to use the intertubes?  Or maybe Russo doesn't know how to find them on the intertubes?  Or maybe those who are "school-based" well understand the massive bullshit that comprises the bulk of the education Rheeform du jour.  And they prefer to keep their heads down, not piss off the political winds, and do their best to keep educating kids in spite of all the bullshit.

    Russo's got a good start on a stand-up routine...

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 09:23:26 PM PST

    •  The kind of reform (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, CuriousBoston, Marjmar, ER Doc

      that would be advocated by actual educators is drastically different from the kind of "reform" being promoted by Russo and his big-money ilk.

      For instance, there's a genuine grassroots movement among actual educators for (re)reforming mathematics education. But you won't find anyone from Mathematically Correct or Where's the Math carrying the flag for Russo's reformers.

      Why? They're not at all hostile to standards-based assessment. In fact, they advocate modeling American math standards after those of countries that perform mass national high-stakes standardized testing. They're pro-standards and pro-assessment and anti-mushy-stuff...all the things the reformers say they are. Oh, and they have a laser focus on math.

      But the major point of the actual classroom-based contingent of the math re-reform movement is actually improving math education. Not busting unions, destroying public schools, and marketing textbooks and gadgets. And the things they support are anathema to the reformers - things like teacher-led instruction (can't replace teachers with computers!) and reducing calculator use (can't sell calculators for kindergarteners!) and proven curricula (can't sell new books every year!)

      I'm sure every subject has a group of actual classroom professionals with ideas about how the teaching of their subject could be improved. People are probably floating radical ideas like "We could teach art better if we had art supplies and more than one hour a week with the students!" or "We could teach history and biology better if our textbooks weren't whitewashed by the Religious Right!" or "We could teach physics better if our students knew algebra!" or "We could teach everything better if the kids weren't coming to school hungry!" But none of them are going to carry water for "reformers," because "reformers" don't want to improve education. They want to sell crap. And bust unions.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 02:54:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Take it as a compliment teacherken!!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joycemocha, kyril, jacey, ER Doc

    You are obviously making waves and getting under someone's skin... which you need to do.

    If you weren't effective they wouldn't bother.

    Keep up the fight!!!

  •  I'm Familiar With The TV Claymation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, Stude Dude, ER Doc

    More then the biblical story. In that Davie was an just a rube kid and his dog Goliath was always trying to talk some sense into him. Always remember Goliath saying things like, "I don't think you should be touching yourself so much Davie". Don't know much about the Philistine warrior, but as far as the TV show, Goliath was OK.

  •  What a maroon. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock, kyril, ER Doc


    Politics is about the improvement of people's lives. - Paul Wellstone

    by occams hatchet on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 10:13:57 PM PST

  •  Okay, today Alexander Russo. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock, kyril, ER Doc

    How long before you earn the diatribe from Joanne Jacobs?  

    (I can't even read her posts any more.  I'm busily building up linkages so I don't have to access her links.  Darn it, we need a good overall progressive education link site)

    •  was on a panel with her (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jethrock, kyril, ER Doc

      almost 4 years ago.  Sponsored by the effort by Broad and Gates to try to make education a signature issue of 2008 campaign.  No, I was NOT paid for my participation.. As it happens at reception night before the panel I was highly critical of Teach for America, which got me a phone call from a VP there trying to get me to change my mind.

      As I remember, I found Jabobs' remarks a bit off topic.

      Funny you mention her.  It was at that even I first met Russo.  He came to the panel.  

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 10:45:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Teachers are Underated (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, ER Doc

    I have been in the educational field both as a licensed Reserve Teacher and as a Test Scorer for No Child Left Behind. I live in Minneapolis MN.

    Teachers have a difficult job especially when they are trying to handle over 30 students, who are in the meltdown mode. Many inner city parents aren't as engaged with their children's education as they should be either. Substitute teachers are low on the totem pole too. I had to walk into a classroom and take charge of some unruly kids too. I subbed for a special high school for level 5 special ed students, most of whom had PO's. It was rough.

    Teachers deserve to get more breaks to wind down. Going on-line is relaxing.

  •  Twitter?! We don't need no stinkin' Twitter (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, kyril, CuriousBoston, ER Doc

    Teacherken, please include me in the mass of Davids with no money in the game. I have been a critic of "reform" since I started in the profession 35 years ago.
    I own a cell phone, but I don't text, and I certainly do not "tweet". Please tell your misguided twitter guy to grow up. You keep up the good work!

  •  Orwellian double-speak (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, ER Doc, kyril

    Over and over again, the folks who want to eviscerate public education have portrayed themselves as reformers; champions of change; underdogs.

      I first came across this with Prop. 13 in California, the passage of which ultimately destroyed that state's public school system, once the envy of the country.

    As is always the case in these types of circumstances, the key is to follow the money.  Those in this country who have the money control the dialogue.  They aren't Davids; they are not even Goliaths; they are the Roman Empire.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 06:09:34 AM PST

  •  I think the fellow set up a straw (0+ / 0-)

    hypothesis to see if he could get anyone's goat to nibble.

    The problem with public education, as I see it, is that it's been driven by an ulterior motive--to produce compliant citizens.  It's failed.  OWS tells us that, as did the vote for Obama by the millenials.

    Catholic primary education had the same problem and the same results.  The students who went through the schools eventually rejected the religion, for the most part.  That is, while the moral principles have appeal to empathetic persons, the hierarchy merits rejection.

    What seems to be underway at present is an effort to fix the blame for disobedient citizens having poured out of our public schools on the teachers, much as disaffected industrial workers are blamed on union goons.  

    That ordinary people just don't cotton to abuse simply seems not to register with people who depend on getting and giving orders to survive.  Organization man is a person who thrives as part of an organization and feels threatened anywhere else because he's lacking in any sense of self-direction.  Instead of being focused on a task, such people are focused on doing what they're told and on mimicking that paradigm. Obedience is their one and only commandment because it is all they understand.

    When school personnel spend most of their time exacting discipline, there's not going to be much skills learning going on. (Transporting students long distances in buses, btw, I consider to be part of the discipline agenda. I can still recall when schools were shuttered in the inner-city and moved to the edge of town because merchants complained about youths hanging out on the streets after school. That was in Ithaca, NY in 1970. Moving people out has been going on a long time).

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 06:42:13 AM PST

  •  Alex Russo is such a Beltway courtier (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, rdsathene, ER Doc, kyril

    and typifies what is so wrong about most discussion on the internet and in the msm about education. To him, everything is inside baseball. I've yet to find any sense of moral or philosophical compass guiding his writing and "analysis." That's why he would grasp for stupid and totally inaccurate metaphors about "David vs. Goliath" to describe advocates -- such as yourself -- who are using the only communication channel they have to try to correct a false, hegemonic narrative about public education.

  •  "the articulate few" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, ER Doc, kyril

    "We may tell ourselves that these pressure groups and letter writers represent only a small percentage of the voters – and this is true. But they are the articulate few whose views cannot be ignored and who constitute the greater part of our contacts with the public at large, whose opinions we cannot know, whose vote we must obtain and yet who in all probability have a limited idea of what we are trying to do." -- JFK, "Profiles in Courage"

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