I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I've Been Banned By B4K: UPDATED 2x

Updated - see below.

OK, one more update below.

"First, they ignore you...."

Derrell Bradford's B4K runs a Facebook page, ostensibly to further a dialog about education "reform." Guess who's banned from the page? Sorry, let me rephrase that: guess who anyone posting to the page can never quote from or mention?

Just so you know: I objected to the fact that no practicing teachers were part of the panels for MSNBC's A Stronger America, even though people like Bradford - who has no education experience whatsoever - were prominently featured.

Let me first thank Bradford for confirming that I was right - Borba and Ackerman have not been in the classroom for years, and Chavis retired in 2007. As I said: no practicing teachers or principals - or, for that matter, teachers union spokespeople - were on the panels for A Stronger America.

I find it odd that Derrell Bradford, who says he cares so much for "good" teachers, thinks this was OK. I would think he would agree that we need to listen to more teachers, and give them prominence in the current discussion.

Of course, if MSNBC had put a teacher on, he might have had to give up his spot...

Aside from that: unlike Derrell, I have not banned anyone from commenting at my blog. I've removed a few comments for language: I recently removed five comments that were clearly written by the same person pretending to be two people (it was pathetic) that used a nasty name to refer to a woman I was writing about. I will not tolerate sexist or racist or homophobic language here; other than that, pretty much anything goes.

In fact, I wish we had MORE smart people come here and challenge me. It forces me to sharpen my arguments and hone my writing. Trolls are annoying, because they just gainsay, but I LOVE a good argument (ask Mrs. Jazzman). But I've never stopped a troll from commenting - I think it makes my arguments look better if I leave their attempts up.

So look, Derrell, I'll make you a deal: I'll let anyone come on here and post links to any sources they want, as long as they keep a relatively civil tone (snark is fine as long as it's clever).

Why don't you do the same?

ADDING: This seems to be the standard response to folks questioning my banning over at B4K's Facebook page:
The owner of this page, B4K is advancing education reform. We will not allow posts from un-named, un-verified, un-credible sources. This blogger has repeatedly attacked this organization and it's members at a personal and un-factual level. We will allow posts from legitimate media sources.
"Un-factual"? Is that a word? Will the Merit Pay Fairy take away a quarter if one of my kids uses it on a bubble test?

Folks, you know how to use the Google - go back and judge for yourself if I'm "un-factual." I happen to think I'm one of the most "factual" guys I know. I link to everything - sometimes, I think to a fault. You are free to disagree with me and my sources, but I think I'm awfully good at backing up what I say.

"Personal"? Yeah, I actually think that's fair; I have questioned Derrell's motivations - based on his own words:
Don't believe me? Don't think Derrell's "movement" isn't primarily about Derrell? Well, look at this slide from his Powerpoint:

Nice - Derrell is all "About Advancing the People that Advance the Reforms": namely, Derrell. Hey, it's not like I'm questioning the man's motives: he's incredibly upfront about it.
And, yes, I had some fun with him using the word "right" incessantly; I guess he can have fun with my constantly ending sentences with prepositions. Whatever - nothing here's risen above the level of an Oxford debate or a Dean Martin Roast. Snark is part of the bloggers art, and I think I've been pretty restrained, thank you.

Of course, Derrell has questioned my motivations as well:
stopthefreezeNJ DEFEND NJ PUBLIC ED!
@Dyrnwyn @jerseyjazzman how abt just an answer of any type? What r ur qualifications? Don't NJ parents, kids & educators deserve an answer?

Dyrnwyn Derrell Bradford

stopthefreezeNJ @jerseyjazzman My qualifications? I care about your ability to move the needle on student achievement more than you do.
I'm not going to play chicken-and-egg here. He's going to take his swipes, and guess what? I'm going to take mine.

Maybe he thinks this is a game to me. It's not. This is my career; aside from my family, it's the most important part of my life. As I said before, I damn well am going to question the motivations of anyone who insists on pushing forward education "reforms" that all the evidence shows won't work - especially when those "reforms" affect me and my students. And most especially when they are confronted with the evidence and won't at least acknowledge it.

I do not want to work in a school where we spend all day of every day of every year obsessing about bubble tests. I don't want to work in a school where my principal has to worry about protecting me and my colleagues from political interference, even to the point of losing our jobs. I don't want to work in a school where a phony incentive system that we know won't work divides the staff and kills morale.

So you'll forgive me if I'm going to continue to point out how bizarre and unthinking and just plain wrong this corporate "reform" movement is. And you'll forgive me if I use some tart words while doing so. But I hope you will all remember one thing:

I didn't start this. We teachers didn't start this. But we're not going to continue taking it without fighting back.

B4NJKids-Better Education for New Jersey Kids Laura, this is Derrell and not the moderator. This page is about discussion and not bile. You want to reference the references, that's fine. You want to disagree, that's actually welcome. What's not allowed here is a universe of ad hominem attacks and speculation about the motives of the folks who work for B4K. One of our trustees has been called a psychopath and I won't go into what has been written about me (and counterintuitively I want to emphasize this isn't about any individual...it is about a movement to change the status quo). Perhaps it's easy to create a big fiction (not accusing you of doing it) because conspiracies play well...but that's not what we are about. You want to get together sometime to discuss it...I am more than willing...but we're not going to be an amplifier for unacceptable attacks on the staff, their integrity, or their intentions. I hope that explains our position. Enjoy the rest of the day. --Derrell
OK, look - I'll stand behind anything I wrote, and if I really am off base, I'll apologize and retract it.

But I have never called anyone at B4K a "psychopath." If I did, point me to it. But Google says I didn't, and I can't recall doing so. And if Derrell is talking about about a commenter at Blue Jersey who quoted Albert Einstein... well that's just pathetic, isn't it? It certainly has nothing to do with me.

As to Derrell's staff: I've written about one other person on the B4K staff besides Bradford, and that's the Deputy Director, Shelley Skinner. Here's the post, and here's an excerpt:
I'm going to stop right here and make a few things clear: I am not criticizing LCCS. It's probably a great school, and certainly the deserving children who attend there should be proud of their accomplishments. Further, I am not criticizing charter schools. As I've stated here many times, I believe they have their place; I started my career in a charter school.

I am also not criticizing Skinner for working at a charter school, nor for sending her children to one. Every parent has to do what is best for her own child, and Skinner obviously cares enough about her own kids' education to work on their school's behalf. In fact, I think you could make a pretty good argument that staying in Jersey City and getting involved in her own children's school is commendable in comparison to her friends who fled to the suburbs.

No, my problem is this: Shelley Skinner has gone beyond advocating for her own school. She now occupies the world of corporate "reform," where charters are sold under false pretenses:
Go back and read the entire thing, and tell me where I've stepped over the line. Tell me how this is "unacceptable."

I started this post by quoting Gandhi. Looks like we're just going to skip over the "laughing at me" part. Fine.


Anonymous said...

Quote from the Facebook image: "Legitimate media & organizations are fine. Not up for discussion."

Anyone who says something like this is directly giving themselves up as a complete [INSERT expletive here]... And OF COURSE the definition of "legitimate" is strictly controlled. I can't stand people who play these games -- 'It's my ball, so you have to play by my rules.'

Jazzman, I'd say take this 'ban' as an admission of your prevailing over this person. Otherwise, if your arguments really were so poor, then this person would be able to easily refute them and just repeat the same refutation (Cut-and-Paste) each time someone brings you up again.

Final Score:
Jazzman 1 - 0 B4NJKids

Janet C. Mandel said...

I was banned from the B4K site after I posted two links: one to the WaPo article with the link to Michelle Rhee's infamous speech admitting that she taped her students' mouths shut when she couldn't control them, and a link to your blog about the "backpack giveaway" that was a front for their name accumulation. I never used inappropriate language or was disrespectful in any way, and I also used my real name and disclosed that I was a retired teacher with 32 years of experience in the classroom.

CommutingTeacher said...

Now the B4K FB page says:
"Peg Pisani The owner of this page, B4K is advancing education reform. We will not allow posts from un-named, un-verified, un-credible sources. This blogger has repeatedly attacked this organization and it's members at a personal and un-factual level. We will allow posts from legitimate media sources."

Well, seems to you that you, Jazzman, that you are the one posting verifiable information, quoting reliable sources, and providing accurate data. Seems to me that they are deeply fearful of engaging in a conversation that uses those type of sources. As we all know, the Rhee-formers are basing their programs upon failed models. I have yet to see proof that what they are proposing actually works. So carry on, Jazzman! You have them stumbling!

CommutingTeacher said...

*seems to me that you*

Sorry, I have a typo. The eyes of the writer makes a terrible self-editor at times.

Suzanne Libourel said...

It just gets better and better on the B4NJKids page. Derrell has spoken directly. Check it out and stay tuned.

Duke said...

Thx everyone.

Suzanne L, I've been reading your posts at B4K on FB - you're great! Start a blog!

What a day...

calugg said...


The truth is a very dangerous thing. I'm marching through Arendt's works, and in "Crises of the Republic," she has an entire section on the politics of mystification and "factualization" (or to use more recent language "truthiness").

It seems that the good folks at B4K are terrified of the truth, so they ban you. While they project political power, this is a sure sign of political weakness. If you have real power, you don't ban well-crafted, factual arguments that challenge your agenda. If your power is questionable, you do.

Take a bow. You're being taken VERY seriously.

Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene said...

How is it that that anyone using the word "Un-factual" is able to discuss education to begin with? Certainly the cretin would be better served attending to their own education, since they clearly weren't paying attention when they were in school.

Anonymous said...

They also need to learn the difference between "its" and "it's"...

"This blogger has repeatedly attacked this organization and it's members at a personal and un-factual level."

Check out this link if you need to know when to use it's or its - http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2006/05/its_its_or_its_.html