A good deal of my job involves opining about education policy. I try to keep my opinions to research I’ve seen, since I don’t feel I’m old enough to go blathering around…yet. I received this email (edited mostly to protect the author and shorten it to the best bits, not to make him sound any better or worse) this very morning, and thought you would all enjoy.
Dear Ms. Pullman [ the "Ms." is fine, since he doesn't know I'm married, but leaving off the second "n" is unforgivable—some attention to detail, there],
As the 2011 [Florida Location] Teacher of the Year I had to laugh when I saw that an “education research fellow” at the Heartland Institute wrote a letter to the editor in the Palm Beach Post heralding the use of school grades! [expand title="Click the arrow to continue reading."] I received my teaching honor (and many others) precisely because I do NOT buy into the myth that school grades improve public education. [Yes, I'm sure your political ideology makes you a good teacher. In fact, every teacher should agree with you politically and then our nation's teaching woes would be solved.] I actually care about educating kids–not about how much money can be made by privatizing education. [Because I and other Heartland are all grubby rich off children's misfortunes...We wish. About the rich part, not the misfortunes.] I actually use research-based techniques rather than pseudo-science to see that my kids succeed in school. I actually sleep well at night knowing that I am doing my part to keep public education strong and viable. [I suppose he's implying that not only are my title and organization a sham, I must not be able to sleep at night because all the research papers I've cravenly faked are slowly killing small children and stopping their savior, public education.] …
Listen, the last thing that public educators need right now are your smoke and mirrors explanations, pseudo-science, and biased policy statements funded by anti-public school groups like the Walton Family Foundation. [Actually, I don't believe we ARE funded by Wal-Mart, but thanks for the insinuation.] Most of the folks here are savvy enough to understand that schools grades were a Jeb Bush invention designed to weaken public schools and pave the way for charters, vouchers, and other “market driven” solutions. [Horror! Parental freedom!] And most folks are in the know about the Heartland Institute (and if they aren’t, they will be when my letter to the editor is printed). It’s not too tough to question the credibility of any words of wisdom from an “education research fellow” at an organization that disputes global warming (while being funded by Exxon-Mobil) and the effects of secondhand smoke (while being funded by Phillip Morris). [Yes, because global warming and smoking form the demons of your self-created, unfalsifiable religion, I guess.] I have a feeling you won’t be winning the Education Researcher of the Year title any time soon. [Well, he's probably right about that one, but ouch. He will probably never be "Gentleman of the Year," either.]
Please stay out of our local paper. Your “insight” is not welcomed nor respected.
[A list of his teaching awards]
Well, thank you, sir. Let’s hope I’d be a little more courteous had I to respond in a public forum.
In order to redeem this post into something truly thought-provoking, let me now point you to two posts from an education blog I read. They are actually much broader, philosophically, than education policy, and concern the two poles of power and truth and realigning public policy in general to see the two complement rather than distort themselves and each other.
Here’s part 1, and here’s part 2. Come back and tell me what you think. I think they offer insight into not only why a possibly excellent teacher still viciously attacks policies that would further recognize his professional achievements and spread them so more kids could have good teachers and schools.
Image by Paul Keller. [/expand]