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Reform: Insult-Hurling Coming Mostly From Reform Critics

image from images.politico.comPolitico education editor Nirvi Shah has taken to Twitter this morning to defend Stephanie Simon's latest article against my unwarranted and unfair criticism -- as she should. 
 
The article in question reports that name-calling has become the norm in the education debate and suggests that leaders of both sides have engaged in this practice evenly. "Each side caricatures the other: Reformers are greedy privateers and corporate tools. Union leaders are selfish defenders of an indefensible status quo."
 
In reality, however -- and indeed in the examples cited in Simon's article - it's leaders who oppose reform who have more frequently made specific attacks on the character, sex, and ethnicity of individual reform leaders much more commonly.  
 
Arne Duncan, Wendy Kopp, and Michelle Rhee aren't calling their counterparts names. Diane Ravitch, Randi Weingarten, and Chicago's Karen Lewis do so with some regularity -- and are given space to justify their behavior in the Politico piece. (Ravitch -- get well soon! -- calls it necessary polarization.)
 
To its credit, the Politico article cites several examples of Ravitch resorting to personal attacks, and notes that her apologies have sometimes been quite slim.   Some readers won't care as much as I do whether the attacks are made against individuals, or groups, or policies -- or whether it matters whether one side is doing it more than the other. The differences between Arne Duncan and RiShawn Biddle won't matter to others, either.
 
I've critiqued several recent pieces by Simon -- and presumably edited by Shah. It's got to be quite annoying. So far, we've avoided calling each other any nasty names.
 
Previous posts: Julie Chen, Miss America, & Michelle Rhee12 Problems With Politico's TFA StoryWhy's Politico Making Ravitch Case Against Reform?). 
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Gosh, someone publicly called me a troll, by name -- who could it have been?

Critics of so-called education "reform" are regularly called racists, teachers' union lackeys, union thugs and people who "put adults' interest ahead of children's." Rod Paige called teachers "terrorists," definitely in context of their disagreeing with him about so-called "reforms."

Russo is so dishonest here, it hurts! "We nice wittle reformers never hurt a flea, honest."

1. Russo apparently has never heard of Dr. Steve Perry. Yes, the guy who calls unionized teachers "roaches". Does that count?
2. Did Jared Polis call Ravitch "evil"? Yes, he did.
3. Did Whitney Tilson call Winerip a "hack" and a "gutless weasel"? See for yourself: http://edreform.blogspot.com/search?q=winerip
4. Did Tilson call Ravitch "a dangerous crackpot"? Yep. "Deranged"? Yep. Did he also say, "I really, REALLY hate Ravitch."? Yep. http://www.edwize.org/foiled-again-an-inside-look-at-joel-kleins-war-against-public-schools-and-teacher-unions
5. Did Russo himself utilize crass sexual innuendo about a 70-something year old grandmother in titling one post "Ravitch Does MSNBC"? Yes he did. Stay classy, Russo.
6. Did Michelle Rhee ever slam teachers' unions? Or, say, gleefully fire someone on TV?

I could go on and on. Selective Russo doesn't hear the bullets from his friends' guns.

thanks for the comments, but the post is specifically about politico's claim that reform leaders engage in the individual name calling that reform critic leaders do.

so far as i've seen -- including the debate currently going on about this on twitter -- there aren't any examples of reform leaders making specific personal attacks on individual reform critics.

if you got them, share them -- /ar

Is Whitney Tilson not a "reform leader"? Is "dangerous crackpot" not specific and personal? That was aimed at Diane Ravitch; is she not a "reform critic"?

Dr. Steve Perry has called Ravitch and Weingarten racists.

Reform leader? Specific and individual name-calling? Aimed at reform critic?

Here's a post where a guy named Alexander Russo accuses "reformers" of "smearing" Diane Ravitch. http://scholasticadministrator.typepad.com/thisweekineducation/2011/08/reform-smearing-ravitch-will-likely-blow-up-in-reformers-faces.html

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