Reform: Ravitch & AFT Use MassacreTo Attack Political Enemies
While reactions and responses to the Newtown massacre continue to pour in (see roundup of news coverage below), the AFT and reform critics like Diane Ravitch have been unable to resist the chance to connect the violence to teacher unionization (Ravitch) or to Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst organization (via Huffington Post).
Ravitch's attempt to connect the tragedy to criticism of charter schools and nonunion teachers has generated a flurry of online denunciations -- along with stubborn responses from Ravitch and predictable support from her followers.
Filtered through a willing Huffington Post, the AFT attempt to link Rhee to gun violence has generated less pushback -- Rhee's organization issued a statement yesterday -- even though it is no less objectionable. (Some of the muted reaction may be the result of StudentsFirst's previous and ongoing messaging woes, as well as tensions among Rhee and other reform leaders.)
It's a good reminder just how far afield (some would say low) some reform critics are willing to go in order to discredit their enemies and blunt their enemies' momentum-- as well as an example of grim but effective negative advocacy of the kind that reformers should expect and be prepared to deal with if they expect to operate in the advocacy space.
Roundup of the latest Newtown news coverage is below.
Amid Calls For Gun Control, Some Push For Weapons At School NPR: As a national conversation about stricter gun control takes shape in the wake of the Newtown shooting, some are arguing instead for arming school personnel. Supporters say having armed school officials would help prevent shootings and enable staff to protect children if one occurs.
Principals Not Thrilled With Idea of Carrying Guns Post-Newtown Educated Reporter: "I would absolutely decline," said Foran, who was named the METLife 2012 principal of the year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. "I think there are a whole lot of other ways to make both schools and our communities safer, and more guns is not one of them."
Rush to boost school safety sparks flurry of ideas and questions Reuters: Principals spend lavishly on emergency response software, not realizing how impractical it is to fumble with a log-in during a crisis. Districts buy pricey metal detectors, only to switch them off because they cannot afford to deploy staff to do pat-downs and search book bags.
More Schools Face Threats WSJ: A child stands next to a makeshift memorial for shooting victim Jessica Rekos, following the 6-year-old's funeral on Tuesday in Newtown, Conn.
After Newtown Shootings, Schools Consider Armed Security Officers NYT: In the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., officials are reviewing security protocols, like lockdowns, and considering stationing armed guards in schools.
For Young Survivors, Odds of Emotional Recovery Are High NYT: For young people exposed to traumatic violence like the Newtown school shooting, recovery can be torturous, marked by anxiety, nightmares or substance abuse. But the good news is that most children do heal.
School shooting survivor tells her story USA Today: Shari Thornberg says she was running late and fears she passed the gunman when she walked through the parking lot to the front doors of Sandy Hook Elementary School at 9:30 Friday morning.