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on many issues Jared Polis has been a strongly progressive Congressman.  I knew that he and I did not see eye to eye on charter schools, but I often disagree on matters of policy with people I feel free to support.

What is not acceptable to me is to see someone engage in ad hominem attacks on someone who disagrees with them.

By now many here know that Polis responded to a tweet in which Randi Weingarten had mentioned positively Deborah Meier's review of the new book by Diane Ravitch by calling Ravitch an evil woman.  When he was challenged on that, he withdrew the tweet but would not apologize for his intemperate language.  There is a lot of material online about this incident.

Because I have known Polis since Netroots Nation 2007 in Chicago, and have until now maintained cordial relations with him despite our disagreements on some policy issues,  I took the initiative to reach out to him to get him to understand that regardless of the strong disagreements, he needed to apologize for those words.  

This evening we have exchanged a number of emails.  I made clear at the start that unless he were willing to apologize, I would publicly disavow my support for him, not that my support means all that much - I am not a constituent, I have no money to give, all I have to offer is my verbal support, the words I post to which some pay attention.

I will not quote most of the correspondence, even though I neither promised it to be off the record nor did he request it, and he is well aware of my blogging here.

For me the final straw was when in the most recent email he told me he would apologize for calling her evil when she stopped being evil.

Forget about the fact that on the issue at hand, charter schools, Polis is misinterpreting what Ravitch has written.  Forget the fact that on the impact of charters the data supports Ravitch far more than it does Polis.  That is irrelevant, and would not move me to this step.

It is simply unacceptable to resort to that kind of verbiage.  At least for me, a progressive can criticize anyone's actions and policy choices.  I would not have the objection were his phrasing that the effects of her policy choices were to his mind evil.  That is still the policy, not the person.

I try very hard to teach my students to make a distinction between attacking someone's position and attacking someone's person.  I certainly will not invite to my classroom a person who seems to be proud of, doubling down on, precisely the kind of thing I am trying to teach my students NOT to do.

I hereby apologize for having previously supported a man whose words seem to demonstrate a temperamental unsuitability for the high office he holds.

Perhaps others will disagree with me.  So be it.

I am NOT attacking the person Jared Polis.  Nor am I attacking the Congressman, or the politician.  I am rejecting one specific action for which I find him unwilling to take the appropriate responsibility.

Because I have publicly supported him here in the past, I feel I must also publicly disavow that support, unless and until I see a public apology for the words that so many of us found offensive, unacceptably so.

Make of this what you will.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Polis is a multimillionaire. (23+ / 0-)

    Of course he believes in turning public schools into profit centers for those of his class.  Of course he has to convince himself that anyone standing in his way is "evil."

    What's so surprising about that?

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 07:03:19 PM PDT

    •  he can believe whatever he wants (32+ / 0-)

      that is NOT the issue

      the issue is his making an ad hominem attack on someone who disagrees with him.

      Oh, and by the way, he argues that charters are public schools, but they have argued to the NLRB and in Federal Courts that they are not for some purposes, and both agreed

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 07:10:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I for one refuse to be surprised (12+ / 0-)

        that a hypercapitalist would smear anyone standing between himself and more money.  YMMV.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 07:14:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes and no (10+ / 0-)

          yes I am a capitalist

          but no i don't think companies should siphon profits out of public education.

          •  That's an encouraging step. (8+ / 0-)
            no i don't think companies should siphon profits out of public education.
            Rep. Polis, will you be introducing legislation to that effect in Congress, to bar any for-profit enterprise from receiving even a penny of federal education money?

            Once you've introduced that legislation, can we expect you to full-throatedly support it and channel as much "passion," as you call it, at that legislation's opponents as you've directed at Diane Ravitch for her support of public education?

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 09:05:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Colorado already doesn't allow for-profit charters (8+ / 0-)

              Whether charter schools exist and what the laws are depends on the state. I am happy to personally support laws in other states that are similar to CO in preventing for-profit companies from holding charters.

              I don't think this should be federal legislation. There are about 10 states that don't even allow charter schools.

              •  Why not? (10+ / 0-)
                I don't think this should be federal legislation.
                In some states, for-profit charter schools are receiving money that originates from the federal coffers. This isn't just a state-by-state issue; federal taxpayer money is going to for-profit companies. There are numerous other cases, large and small, in which federal funds also go to other for-profit enterprises.

                As a member of Congress, the governmental entity that controls federal taxpayer funds, what reason do you have for not wanting to actually put into effect the position you stated above—that no for-profit company should ever receive any public education funds from taxpayers?

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 09:17:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  good point (5+ / 0-)

                  Yes the nexus with federal funds is a big hammer. And there are some across the board things I support like a ban on corporate punishment in schools (which, shockingly, is currently legal in a dozen or so states)

                  http://www.gpo.gov/...

                  Obviously funds flow from public entities to private vendors in education all the time (textbooks, sports equipment, etc). The issue is really the control. The contracting entity that receives the public funds should not be a for-profit corporation. It should be a school district (or the contracting authority can be conveyed by a school district to a charter which can then contract w others).

                  It's an interesting area I will look into more.

                  Jared

                  •  Thanks for looking into it... (3+ / 0-)

                    ...and thanks for your response.

                    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                    by JamesGG on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 09:37:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  oops (3+ / 0-)

                      I meant corporal punishment ban, not corporate punishment. funny mistake tho ;)

                      •  I thought it Freudian (8+ / 0-)

                        "Corporate" punishment brought Measure 5 to Oregon, severely reducing school funding.
                        "Corporate" punishment is attacking public employees and their unions, because their negotiated salaries and benefits actually provide for a "middle class" way of life. Corporations seem to prefer an ever growing disparity between management and it's workers in wages, benefits, and job security.

                        •  Nailed it! The only thing is that while there (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          sallym

                          are individuals making decisions that often range from bad to simply evil, it seems to be something of a natural phenomenon for people all over the world who are capable of accumulating wealth to do so without regard to any sense of fairness or decency. It truly seems to be a type of mental illness - a strange one though in that it can so impressively be made to seem a desirable thing, that is to be able to accumulate wealth. I think a big part of the problem is that smart people can begin to accumulate wealth long before they even begin to mature.

                          "Have a good time... all the time." -Viv Savage

                          by The House on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 05:14:55 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Oh, I took "corporate punishment" as (0+ / 0-)

                          "punishment of corporations."

                          Doesn't exist here.

                          I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

                          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 05:35:22 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  We don't have corporate punishment (0+ / 0-)

                        in this country. :-)

                        this slip is both funny and sad

                        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

                        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 05:28:36 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  This appears to be the weak link that is being (13+ / 0-)

                    exploited, more or less constantly throughout the nation:

                    The contracting entity that receives the public funds should not be a for-profit corporation. It should be a school district (or the contracting authority can be conveyed by a school district to a charter which can then contract w others).
                    This is exactly the nexus that diverts public education dollars into private hands, and why privatizing education is such a hot Wall Street darling these days.

                    It is profitable. Very profitable, at the expense of public dollars intended for public schools. Passing those public education dollars through a non-profit charter for the purpose of profit is no better than laundering drug money. It sucks money out of public schools.

                    Is this happening in Colorado? Hard to say, since I don't live there, and haven't been watching Colorado closely. But Colorado Virtual Academy was, until very recently, using K12 Inc. for its management services - which had a $30,000,000 profit last year.

                    “The Colorado school has been criticized for its low graduation rates (22 percent in 2011-12, according to state education statistics) and a discovery by state auditors that the school had overcharged $800,000 for 120 students who never attended, weren’t Colorado residents or whose enrollments couldn’t be verified, according to an in-depth 2011 New York Times article.
                    Kudos to COVA, for apparently separating a piranha from its prey -- but not until after the 2013-2014 school year.

                    But K12 won't be gone from the state even then, though:

                    K12, Inc., will still be doing in business in the state. Another online-based charter school that plans on contracting with the company recently got approval from Colorado education officials to open up.
                    Saying Colorado charter schools are non-profit is only half the story, Senator. Surely, as someone savvy enough to build a fortune yourself, you must recognize that.

                    Not admitting it just makes you look either naive or avaricious.

                    •  Ooops. Congressman. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Chi, Bob Johnson, Temmoku

                      I knew that.

                    •  Like I said, we don't have corporate punishment (0+ / 0-)

                      in this country.

                      Really what's going on is that the private sector decided that they wanted to get automatic money, like the government does when it taxes, rather than needing to provide a good or service that a)meets a need or want, and b)outcompetes other products or services. They don't want to have to persuade people to give their dollars to them.  The corporate sector's hatred of tax-and-spend is really just envy, and the drive to privatize is pretty much just the wish to dip into the largest flow of automatically transferred money in this country.

                      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

                      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 05:43:15 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Federal origins. (0+ / 0-)

                    Since all dollars originate from OUR federal government and Congress is responsible for managing them, this parsing of currency according to who last pocketed it is a diversion. From what? From the fact that Congress is responsible but prefers to pretend that the use and abuse of currency to manipulate public policy isn't happening.
                    Why would Congress pretend to have less power than it has? Because it's not supposed to have any power at all. Congress is supposed to set policy for the executive and only authorize the use of force in case of emergencies. That's how power is limited--by having it dispersed over the whole electorate, except when it needs to be assembled to counter natural and man-made emergencies. A standing military force was not contemplated; neither was a state a perpetual enmity with some foreign power.

                    But, to get back to the currency, that was supposed to be managed along with other weights and measures to guarantee accuracy and assure a sufficient supply. As the MMT people say, Congress spends dollars into the economy and sets tax rates to insure a regular return (revenue) for accounting purposes and to avoid having to create more and more.
                    Instead of following this functional pattern, the Congress has fallen into the habit of rationing the distribution of dollars to reward supporters and punish recalcitrant populations -- people who don't vote and/or can't retaliate for the deprivation of their rights. Currency has been turned into a tool to impose the culture of obedience, to enforce the dictum "no free lunch" by creating and maintaining select populations (the homeless, the aged, the handicapped, the youth) to demonstrate what happens to people who don't obey. Since obedience is actually a virtue, if it is to signal power, it has to be coerced and coercion is perforce irrational. Which, in short, is why we have an irrational Congress. Irrationality is intrinsic to the lust for power.
                    In short, being the chief steward of our currency does not invest Congress with the authority to tell the citizenry what to do. Members of Congress are hired to be public servants, not rulers. It is the people who govern.

                  •  Public-private partnerships (0+ / 0-)

                    which I don't entirely oppose, need vigorous oversight, because too often they can become a new and creative way for corporate interests to siphon off public money without giving much in return.

                    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

                    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 05:25:15 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  On the up side, Congressman, (0+ / 0-)

            kudos to you for coming here and engaging in this diary yourself; these days it's rare for anyone on the Hill to do anything here but a drive-by asking for money or signatures on a petition. Particularly, I think there's few that would actually engage with a diary that calls them out emphatically like this one.

            I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 05:21:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  In Colorado, all ARE public schools (14+ / 0-)

        and accountable to the state. My daughter's public charter school won the John Irwin Award for Excellence the first year it was open.
         Here's a link that might be applicable: Colorado Charter Schools

        Under Colorado law, a charter school is not a separate legal entity independent of the school district, but rather is a public school defined uniquely by a charter and partially autonomous while remaining within the school district. The approved charter application and accompanying agreements are the charter which serve as a contract between the charter school and the local board of education.
        - See more at: http://www.cde.state.co.us/...
        I am a big fan of Ravitch. I do agree that ad hominem attacks are wrong. Very disappointed in Polis. I met him very briefly a couple of times. Have tremendous respect for your opinions.

        "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." -Susan B. Anthony

        by BadKitties on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 07:28:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  don't charter schools... (7+ / 0-)

        ...get to pick an choose which students they accept?  If that is true how can they fairly be compared to public schools who have to take all comers.

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 01:51:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  in theory many have lotteries (9+ / 0-)

          to determine who is admitted

          but they play games in far too many cases

          they limit when you can apply for the lottery to try to exclude harder to educate students

          they put in a requirement for parental commitments of time and for students to attend on weekends that may not be feasible for all students

          they "counsel out" students who are harder to educate

          charters have gone before both the NLRB and the Federal Courts to argue how they are NOT public schools, and won those arguments

          As non-public institutions they are not necessarily required to provide the due process guarantees that protect student rights in public schools

          I will defer on the specifics of the chartering legislation in CO, but I could had I the time cite many examples to support what I have listed from many jurisdictions.

          Oh, and in DC the rate of expulsions from charter schools is several multiples of the rate in public schools.  Make of that what you will.

          The fact that a school receives public money does not necessarily make it a public school in the sense that most people understand the term.

          And for what it is worth, let me repeat-  my disavowal of Polis has nothing to do with our disagreement about charter schools, but is about his refusal to apologize for calling Diane Ravitch an "evil woman."

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 04:53:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  nope (9+ / 0-)

      I do not believe in "turning public schools into profit centers."

      There are very few for-profit schools, and Colorado does not allow for-profits to hold charters, an excellent law I recommend to my friends in other states as a best practice.

      Jared

    •  You said it so I didn't have to. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, quill

      His money creeps me out. Not merely because he's rich but because of the way he got it and how it seems to have shaped his attitude about government, as you so eloquently put it.

      Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change -- George Monbiot.

      by Nulwee on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 09:22:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, no, he wouldn't have to convince (0+ / 0-)

      himself that others were "evil." He could just support the (very bad, IMO) policy.

      We've all seen tactics like that used by Republicans, and I think that's why some of us are so sensitive to them.

      For instance, during the push for Syrian military intervention, John Kerry burned a great deal of the political capital he has with me by saying that those who questioned the  origins of the intelligence that said Assad had launched the attack had "lost their moral compass." That might seem a small thing to some, but to me that was an ad hominem attack on people who disagreed with his policy views--because they asked questions about the sources of his data.

      Ad hominem attacks on the morality of those who dissent and ask questions is a really sore spot for me. Seems that ad hominem attacks in general are a really sore spot for teacherken.

      For me, at least, it's the 8 years of Bush/Cheney/Rove--and the many years of right-wing attacks previous to them, in the 80s and 90s, when people to the left of Tom De Lay were regularly called traitors by people like Ann Coulter--that makes this a bit of a raw nerve.

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 05:18:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I will never understand (46+ / 0-)

    why a sincere apology, or any apology at all (even one of those fake "I'm sorry if you were offended" apologies), is such a heavy lift for some people. Or how a person can think this is going to be a win for them. Somehow.

    He was wrong.

    He knows it, too.

    He's too smart and too informed not to know it.

    But instead, he doubled down when pressed and offered up a Dick Cheneyesque quip.

    For me the final straw was when in the most recent email he told me he would apologize for calling her evil when she stopped being evil.
    That's just being a jerk.

    He knows this woman is not evil.

    And he knows that everybody seeing this foolishness knows that he knows that she is not evil.

    Where's the win here? Damned if I know.

    But there is just being a jerk, and being a jerk thinking that is is some kind of a triumph that really turns me off.

    Diane Ravitch then picks up the story on her blog, explaining,

    “He said that my ideas were harming public education.

    This is puzzling. What do I do that makes the rich and powerful fume and blow their cool?

    I have met him twice in DC. The first time, I met with members of the House Education Committee and described my last book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System. He listened impatiently and at the end of my 15 minutes of talk, he threw my talk across the table and me and demanded his money back. Another Congressman paid him, not me. I was stunned.

    What do I propose that is “evil”? Early childhood education? Reduced class size? Pre-natal care for poor women? Arts in every school? Physical education every day for every child? After-school and summer school programs? Health clinics?

    Gosh, he is a powerful Congressman, and I am a woman with a pen. What is his problem?”

    To me, this sort of thing illuminates a person's true character. There is something about responding with a sneer when you are so obviously completely in the wrong, and it just takes a little integrity to make it better, if not right.

    Nobody is demanding he lift the moon onto his shoulders and fling it like a basketball through the rings of Saturn. Or cut off his right arm and paddle himself with it.

    But there is another part of this that I find baffling.

    Politicians are supposed to be creatures of politics. You are supposed to be a player on the great human chess board, reading the board before you. Trying to think a few moves ahead if you are really good at the game. It's what they (allegedly) do for a living.

    How, exactly, does refusing to offer an apology make this better or go away?

    If you can't do the right thing for the right reason, do it for the cynical self-serving reason.

    Instead, he doubles down on being a jerk.

    As if being asked to say 'sorry' was equal to, or greater than, his act of jerkitude.

    Funny, this is exactly one of the things about Michelle Rhee that raised a red flag to me from the first time I became aware of her. The arrogance. The sneering.

    As if that was a sign of good character and being on the moral and intellectual high ground towering above your lessers.

    Money certainly doesn't buy class, that is for sure.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 07:46:34 PM PDT

    •  Happy to engage Diane Ravitch in a debate (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, johnny wurster, Lujane, kurt

      Twitter really isn't the best forum, the space is so limited.

      I welcome a discussion as I am confident in that informed debate will lead to the best outcome for kids.

    •  Attention-seekers seek attention. (6+ / 0-)

      Obviously self-destructive behavior (just verbiage, really) serves to convince the audience that the person is sincere. The result is that other lies are believed.
      Deception is a very primitive behavior. It's possible that people do it without even being aware. It's also possible that some people cannot hold the person separate from their actions. People, who take the intention for the act, may also be constrained to take the act for the intent.

      Polis likes Rhee, so what she does is good.
      Polis dislikes Ravitch, so what she does is bad.

      The notion that

      informed debate will lead to the best outcome for the kids
      is hogwash. Debate leads nowhere and goes nowhere. What that statement does do is tell us the speaker is a triangulator. What A and B do is aimed to affect C. Triangulation is the essence of delegation whose object is to shed accountability. And the object of shedding accountabilty is to avoid retaliation or revenge.
  •  Thanks for the comments (15+ / 0-)

    As I mentioned in our correspondence, I hold your opinions on education in great regard. I hope to make it out to your AP government class soon.

    I also appreciate your regard for manners and courtesy. As a strong advocate of public schools, I do take attacks on any public schools very seriously. If in my passion to fight for education I offend anyone, it is certainly not my intent.

    There is room for disagreement in this debate, and I am confident that informed debate will work to the benefit of the next generation.

    I look forward to continuing this dialog.

    Jared Polis

  •  charter schools are one of those issues (7+ / 0-)

    that people can be very myopic on.

    I do agree calling her evil is out of bounds though. I always try to keep in mind the lesson I learned about ad homs (namely that if the merits of your argument(s) are strong enough to be correct you don't need to call people names). That said the issue at hand is (like most issues) incredibly passionate and as such matters can spiral out of control. Hopefully Mister Polis does decide to apologize for his ad hom. I certainly think you he should but like you I am neither a constituent nor donator to Mister Polis so I don't expect him to take much notice of my opinion.

    I do wish that people would actually think about the situation with charter schools though especially those that dismiss them out of hand.

  •  Disagree without being disagreeable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    His predecessor understood that.

  •  Thank you (21+ / 0-)

    for not compromising your standards and for standing up for civility.

    I can't imagine why anyone who has read Ravitch's work, or heard her speak, would not recognize her passion for getting behind the marketing and analyzing the true outcomes of education reform schemes. Reasonable people can always disagree, but there's nothing hateworthy about Diane Ravitch. Or any reason to throw around "evil" accusations. (I'd send my middle schooler back for a re-write if he tried to use "because she's evil" as an argument in a school assignment. How lazy!)

    I have never heard Jared Polis's name before reading this diary, but I won't forget it now, and not in a good way.

  •  Tipped and rec'd (20+ / 0-)

    I have a visceral mistrust of charter schools. My feelings about any and all voucher programs are identical.

    I grew up in an era when support for public schools was virtually unquestioned. In addition, as I noted in a diary regarding Ravitch's book not long ago (I believe it was your diary in fact, Ken), the main thrust of her proposals characterize the reality of my own public school education. That they should be considered at all radical simply defies belief as far as I'm concerned. If public schools are struggling financially it is in everyone's best interest to provide them with the resources they need rather than creating a parallel, "school-for-pay" system.

    It is unfortunate in the extreme that the exchange you had with Congressman Polis had to take place. Still, I commend both of you for presenting it and continuing it here in a forum that's visible to anyone who has an interest in the topic.

  •  Yikes! I don't know Teacher Ken, certainly sounds (5+ / 0-)

    like ad hom, and gosh knows having kids in CO public schools I'm not a big fan of the charters (classist) but I like Jared ok, he used to be my congressman before redistricting. Gosh knows I'm not perfect either.

    At the height of the anti ACA town halls I heard him speak in a parking lot full of a lot of strange looking folks in King Supers Boulder. Quite a few tea party crazies as well as us typical liberals. The guy is physically brave and I was very aware of it that day. He probably speaks too bluntly but we are ok with that mostly out here.

    I'm used to the idea of not being perfectly aligned with the position of my reps and I'm used to them sometimes saying things I pretty much disagree with and I'm used to still supporting them at the end of the day.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 08:47:44 PM PDT

    •  and I disagree on some issues with people Is (7+ / 0-)

      support all the time.

      I have been very vocal in my criticism of this administration on education, on its handling of whistle blowers and some other issues.

      I am strongly supportive of what it has done on gay rights, on the environment (pending Keystone XL final decision), on student loans, etc.

      The reason for this post is Polis's refusal to apologize for totally inappropriate and ad hominem comments about Diane Ravitch.  He has continued to call her evil even in this thread.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 05:01:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The evil statement probably sounds bad to you (0+ / 0-)

        but people here call me a baby killer and say they want to put a gun to my head, totally without repercussions. People say bad things on the internet and in tweets.

        The charter schools and wiff of wealthy entitlement that is pure Boulder, more of an issue to me.

        Good post though even if in disagreement. I recced.

        “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 08:38:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not sure your standard works (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, mattc129

    Do you really object to all ad hominem attacks? Are there not people even within the American political system who are truly evil?  (David Duke comes to mind.)  Would you withdraw support for someone who stated David Duke was evil?

    What about some of the more rightwing Republicans who want to end choice, dent equal right to gays and lesbians and take the country back to about 1880 and are willing to crash the entire system of American Government to attempt to deny healthcare to millions?  Can one refer to any of them as evil? Or as racist wingnuts?

    How long does one have to refuse to apologize?

    (When Ravitch said something similar it took her about two weeks to apologize and only after she had been called on the carpet by the target of her attack.)

    Does your support reappear once one has apologized?

    (For what it's worth:  I think Polis is more correct than you and Ravitch on charters, but his comment was out of line and he should apologize for calling her evil.)

    •  If Jared makes the apology without qualification (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steve Magruder

      my support would be back.  Does that answer your question?

      I am not the first to challenge Polis on this, either publicly or privately.

      The difference about Ravitch's remarks about Rhee is that she did not continue to defend them when challenged, she reflected, decided she was wrong, and offered an apology.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 05:03:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe it's because I'm a scrappy Millennial (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt

    or because I have that "New Jersey attitude" all throughout me, or because I'm kind of an asshole at times, or that the only person that swears more than me is Colorado is the Shiznit (rock on!), or any number of things...

    But I really don't oppose calling someone "evil" or any number of things if they really deserve it.

    I don't know who Diane Ravitch is, nor is she particularly relevant to my point.  Perhaps calling her evil in regard to education policy is akin to calling Al Gore evil in regard to climate change - totally abhorrent based on their body of work and reputation.

    But you said it yourself right here - this diary is about so-called ad homs, or whatever people may think that represents.  So that's what I'm commenting on.

    As another example, sure, one could go through the death spiral economics of having for-profit health insurance companies siphon off 20-25% for profits, how it puts families as risk for bankruptcy, how it makes our companies less competitive across the world, etc etc.

    But beyond all that wonky stuff that people generally don't have time to delve into, I'll give you one word that perfectly describes the health insurance CEO making $50 million a year while tens of thousands of people die each year due to lack of health insurance - evil.

    Q.E.D.

    "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

    by mconvente on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 09:07:30 PM PDT

  •  Ok, OK, I won't call Michelle Rhee "evil" (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronBa, avsp, kurt, Sylv, elfling

    I will call what she does evil.

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

    by anastasia p on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 10:20:50 PM PDT

    •  is not that sufficient? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sylv, Steve Magruder

      That the effect of the policies she supports are destructive?

      Then we can argue on merits or lack there of about the arguments proffered.

      When one calls someone "evil" as a person, one has announced no willingness to engage in discourse to find common ground.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 05:04:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You cannot take the vote for granted (0+ / 0-)

    At any point.  Every vote has to be earned, no matter who's party they are on.   Others I'm sure will disagree, but your vote is your vote.  And you have every right to critically assess who  you are casting that vote for.

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 11:00:01 PM PDT

  •  The Congressman has been collaborating (8+ / 0-)

    with some pretty shady characters in the ed "reform" world. Chief among these is a State Senator named Michael Johnston, who foisted a harshly punitive "evaluation" system upon Colorado teachers in 2010. Rep. Polis has praised this turd of a law - known locally as SB-191, it ties 50% of a teachers' evaluation to student test scores, creates a means of blacklisting terminated employees, and was completely unfunded - and last year he co-authored an article supporting taxpayer-financed school "choice" with Johnston.

    I could on and on about Michael Johnston's failings as a legislator and as an education policymaker, but in the interest of returning to the topic at hand, I'll simply state this: Senator Johnston epitomizes everything that is wrong with the ed "reform" crowd, and he's exactly the wrong sort of person from whom one should be getting advice.

    If you're reading this, Rep. Polis, please distance yourself from Senator Johnston and all his harebrained edu-hating at the earliest opportunity. Head toward the sound of my voice. Come back into the light.

  •  you are indeed attacking... (0+ / 0-)

    ...the person, Polis, in as much as he is the sum total of his behavior.   How do you separate a person from his acts.  Don't his acts define what he is or is not.  So attacking him is fair if it is accurate in my opinion.

    BTW I don't know Polis or the woman he spoke of so really don't have much in a way of an opinion of the meat of the issue.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 01:49:21 AM PDT

    •  You prove my point (0+ / 0-)

      here
      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Some people cannot separate the person from the act.

      •  I don't quite... (0+ / 0-)

        ...understand what you are getting at but that could be a failing of mine.  Are you saying a person can essentially be different from his or her acts?  or that a person is defined by his or her actions?  or something else?

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 02:36:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, there is a difference between what a (0+ / 0-)

          person does and what a person is. A person who teaches is not ipso facto a teacher and many a person identified as a teacher doesn't teach, perhaps because the obedience he expects to exact, or is expected to exact, doesn't materialize. That is, when they get old enough, the students just get up and walk away. Then the culture of obedience has to capture them and put them somewhere else.
          The non-compliant must be confined. That's what was attempted to be taught to OWS.

          •  I think you... (0+ / 0-)

            ...misunderstood me.  I did not say 'does' in relation to occupation I sad ACTS not does.  Like a person who acts rude is rude.  I think a person's behavior defines them in such a way as it shows their person and nature.  If a person acts kind I consider them kind.  It does not have anything to do with occupation.

            We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

            by delver rootnose on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 05:24:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  No - I am rejecting his action and (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sylv, aliasalias, Steve Magruder

      his refusal to accept proper responsibility.

      I remain open to again supporting if that is corrected.

      I have acknowledged the good he has done on other issues.

      Sorry, but I disagree with how you characterize my actions.

      I have not called him evil.

      I have characterized his behavior.

      As far as people being the sum of their actions, perhaps true, but that does not mean one cannot draw the line at a specific action as being out of bounds.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 05:07:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I respect you very much ... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but I do think when criticize someone about such a fundamental trait as rudeness and disrespect you are criticizing that person.  It is not an ad hom because an ad hom is attacking a person rather than their argument.  In this case Polis's argument that she is evil is not what you are criticizing but that he was rude enough to even make the meritless argument.  I think you are quite justified in asking for an apology and I am just arguing semantics a bit.

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 05:29:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It is simply unacceptable to resort to that kind (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stagarite

    of verbiage?

    Why?

    It's  perfectly acceptable for you to decide his opinion of Ravitch is reason to support somebody else.  Nothing at all wrong with that.

    But to hide behind ad hominem attacks?
    Piffle.

    I'll bet you'd have had to abandon most of your friends during the Bush administration.  Probably some politicians as well.
    Things like "liar", "war criminal", "moron", "chimp", etc are no less ad hominem than "evil". If anything, "liar" and "war criminal" are worse, because they imply specific kinds of action whereas "evil" is obviously an opinion of somebody's character.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 03:33:28 AM PDT

  •  i guess i have to do some research now into why (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKinTN, zinger99, Nespolo, Sylv, Steve Magruder

    diane ravitch is EVIL and michelle rhee is AWESOME!

    i have to say that this polis character's chirpy refusal to honestly address his "evil" comment is kind of creepy

    Sarah Palin is a disgusting racist pig.

    by memofromturner on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 05:32:58 AM PDT

  •  I thought the purpose of calling some (0+ / 0-)

    one evil in this country is so we can start dropping drone missiles on them, invade their country, and abuse their rights.

    I have serious qualms about using the word "evil" without the follow-through. However, I may have missed the intent.

    "Drudge: soundslike sludge, islike sewage."
    (-7.25, -6.72)

    by gougef on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 05:42:38 AM PDT

  •  Focus on conduct, not style. (5+ / 0-)

    The Democratic establishment in Colorado, including Polis, is pretty much aligned with the corporate reformers and regularly displays thinly veiled contempt to NEA and AFT people. Now Polis appears to be burning his bridges with teachers unions entirely. This is why Polis needs a primary challenger. Rather than fussing about Polis being an ad hominem meanie, focus on making the consequences of Polis's current and prospective conduct into an object lesson for Colorado's other corporate Dems. Ultimately, this is about Polis taking care of his base, not prissy civility policing.

    •  Here's the thing.... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zinger99, Sylv, Steve Magruder, Abelia

      Pro public education politicians are few and far between.   Most of our politicians are owned by rich benefactors on the left and right.   It is hard to find any that support teachers (or unions of any kind).   It frightens me.
      This move to privatization of schools and prisons and roads is on the right and the left.   Children are now viewed as having a dollar sign on their heads, a source of profit for some oligarch.   Prisoners are the same.  Look at what happened in Wilkes-Barre PA.   Millions made on putting young juveniles in punitive facilities by getting a kick back for the judges.  That case should have been a wake up call to everyone, especially progressives.  When things are privatized, they are no longer for the common good.  No matter how much Polis and other dems insist "public charters" are not for profit, it is a scam.  Investors are making money by using charters to finance all the the private things they are putting in the schools.   Public schools, since NCLB and the BUSH friends got power in them, also have been a part of corporations getting big bucks.  

      When I started teaching back in the sixties, teachers played a substantial role in textbook choice.   We had no commitment to who made money.  We looked at content, organization, student interests.   We chose, usually by grade level when it came to things like Science and Social Studies, Reading (and based on to a curriculum developed by teachers).   With Math it was usually school wide, for obvious reasons.  While we had a yearly test, in reality, most trusted teacher made tests (as they do in Finland) to be accurate assessments of the students' growth.   As a teacher, I knew when student A got the concept even if he/she left out a word or two, or if his/her writing did not match his actual learning.  I could add an oral test on my own to judge what he/she understood or did not understand yet.  I could then go back, reteach, retest.  My primary concern was my students' learning, not how I was being judged or if my school would lose funding.    Not all students learned at the same rate and some students I would test and retest knowing and trusting what I may not have been able to get through to that student this year, could happen next year with another teacher.   I also knew I would not succeed with 100% of the students 100% of the time.  That fact did not make either me or my students failures.  It made us human.

      After NCLB, the districts were compelled to choose from textbooks companies who worked with testing companies.  It was a scam from day one and we all knew it.  The texts are terrible.   Scripted teaching from the text is pushed by districts whose administrators are afraid of losing their jobs if the test scores do not measure up.   The public has been persuaded that learning has happened when little bubbles on a test made by people who do not know their children are correctly filled in.   Writing is judged by strangers using rubrics set for all, as if all children are the same.   There is not much learning happening when teachers are being forced to teach for the purpose of testing.  That is what Michelle Rhee represents: the oligarch testing and text book making corporations.  They love her.

      And all of this is happening with the help of politicians democratic, as well as republican.  Polis is at typical corporate dem.   Talks a good game when we are busting our butts for HIS issues.   Betrays us once in office. Teachers are the scapegoats for these demagogues.  

      I am happy to be retired but I am oh so sad for our children and for my fellow teachers still working to do the best they can in the worst of circumstances.

      “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

      by Jjc2006 on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 07:06:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Know Nothing Managerialism... (0+ / 0-)

        ...is creeping into higher ed too. The corporate Dems only listen to money, so really the only way to get them to respond is to force them to dip into their general campaign funds to defend themselves in a primary. The Tea party is influential because they insist on base service and don't get rattled when their party establishment tries to frighten them about being "too extreme" for the general. There's a lesson to be learned there.

  •  Is this a standard because Polis - Congressperson? (0+ / 0-)

    We CERTAINLY don't hold even the most popular writers here to the same standard.

    The endorsement of Rhee aside, this diary seems an exercise in self-flagellation (amongst Dems) that is not helpful and certainly not focused on someone we should be worried about overall.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 07:09:09 AM PDT

  •  good lord (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zinger99


    now we have 'dick progressives' ?  Or one at least?  I went to college for education in the 1970's, and at that time they were dreaming up this 'charter school' thing at at the time, my professors and most of us students knew that it was a way to institute an elitist structure into public schools and to enforce a class system where there should be a meritocracy.  Looks like we were all right: what I find astonishing is that the idea survived and grew when at the time it was first proposed most educators I knew were dead set against it.  This and a few other features (namely, violence in classrooms) were the chief reason I never went into education - and I've never been sorry.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 07:11:34 AM PDT

  •  Came back to tip and rec after reading (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, Steve Magruder

    the comments from Jared Polis. I will donate to a primary candidate when the opportunity arises.

  •  I gave up on Polis a long time ago (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, Steve Magruder

    Ken, you have more patience then I.  A while back, Polis made the comment that he wanted to be the Ted Kennedy of the Congress.  Eli Broad, I could have believed, but Ted Kennedy?  Political contortion to the max.  Get serious Jared!! On the other hand, Ted Kennedy and Randi were good friends, and showed that you can support teachers and be pro union at the same time.  

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