I wrote an admittedly stinging piece over at Blue Jersey about Tom Moran's hagiographic treatment of David Tepper, the man behind the money behind the corporate reform movement in New Jersey. Moran actually posted a response, and I responded back in kind. You can follow the fun at the link.
I'll admit it: I've been very hard on the guy. And yes, I've been snarky. But it seems to have drawn his attention.
And it's not like he hasn't dished out plenty of the same himself. His reflexive disdain for unions is a constant refrain in his work, and it contrasts starkly with the laurels he throws Tepper's way.
But what bothers me more is how superficially he treats education reform. It actually flows nicely into his anti-union message: if a teachers union is against something, it must be good! Even if it really isn't.
So, yeah, I'm pretty cheesed at Moran and his writing on reform. I expect better from the largest newspaper in New Jersey. But I am willing to engage on the issues and drop the snark - if he will do the same. Which means we should hear a better argument for "reform" coming from the pages of the Star-Ledger than "people want it and the union doesn't!" That's dismissive of the NJEA and facile to boot.
I want to hear Moran explain how he's going to keep the cancer of cronyism oozing from Elizabeth out of the rest of the state if and when tenure is eliminated. I want to know why charter schools are such a panacea when even the operators of the few successful ones admit they can't replicate what they are doing on a large scale. I want to know how he proposes to deal with the Mack truck-sized errors in systems that use standardized tests to evaluate teachers.
And if he's going to try to defend his views with weak arguments, don't look for me to pull any punches. This stuff is deadly serious and I'm not about to sit back and let one of the best education systems in the country be destroyed without pushing back. If you really believe in this stuff, Tom, you'd better bring your A-game.
So: let's talk...
ADDING: I'm with Atrios when he says that newspaper website comments are probably the worst places on the interwebs. But check out the commenters on Moran's articles. I think he's seriously misjudged his readers.