Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Response to Tom Moran

In case you missed it, earlier this week fellow educators and bloggers, Ani McHugh (Teacherbiz), Mark Weber (Jersey Jazzman) and I wrote a joint open letter to Star Ledger editorial director, Tom Moran, regarding his continuous support of the racist policies of Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson's One Newark plan. In addition to posting on all three of our blogs, it also ran at Blue Jersey and on Diane Ravitch's site.

Tom was not happy, and posted a response on Blue Jersey. To which Jazzman responded here and here.

Here's my response:

Dear Tom,

You missed our point so I'll say it again in my best teacher voice: One Newark has been proven to be a racist policy toward students and education professionals. You refuse to research and report the facts surrounding it (Journalism 101), reporting instead on your opinions and pre-conceived notions, therefore you support a racist policy. 

It's one thing to say you've talked to Diane Ravitch and Dr. Bruce Baker; it's quite another to listen to them. You cannot find two better experts on education policy: their credentials and reputations are sterling. Unlike the architects of One Newark, they are not afraid to submit their research to peer review. It obviously passes with flying colors because for many issues, their work is the gold standard. But you refuse to listen.

They are not alone. There are hundreds—if not thousands—of equally skilled education professionals around the country who have dedicated their careers to researching and reporting on what works and what doesn't in public education. They have written books, given lectures, and continue to research and report on the train wreck that is education 'reform' in the United States, and while you may talk to them or read their books, you refuse to listen.

In no other profession do we see such a complete disregard for expertise. In no other profession do we see veteran professionals with decades of experience tossed aside or called, in your words, "shrieking" or "shrill", or in it for "old school greed".

You also refuse to listen to the parents of Newark who know first hand the effects of this prejudicial policy. Their choices have been taken away, their demands ignored, their voices silenced, their children suffer. 

I'm sorry if what we wrote ticked you off, but for years parents and educators (we three are both) have been more than a little ticked off at journalists like you, who refuse to investigate and report the facts about policies that are rapidly destroying public education in this country and promulgating racism. As I write this, many citizens of Newark are performing an act of civil disobedience: boycotting the first day of school because they are simply fed up. 

So, we decided to present the facts—not that we haven't done that before. And your response was to curse and scream (offline), and rant (online). Did we hit a nerve?

As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts." Tom, you refuse to accept the facts. You refuse to accept the proof. What you write about Cami and One Newark and Ras Baraka and the parents and concerned citizens of Newark and education professionals is factually incorrect. Continuing to believe and spread this false information, puts you in the same category as birthers, creationists, climate deniers and vaccine refusers. Sorry if that's harsh, but it's the truth. You are better than that. I read your column every day and I agree with what you write the majority of the time.

You can tell me I'm wrong—that's your opinion—but you can't prove it. The facts simply are not on your side.

If this were to be tried in a court of law (and I do hope that will happen one day soon), Cami & Co. will lose. Are you willing to stake your professional reputation on that? I am because the facts are on my side. How about you?