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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Willing Ignorance of Pundits on Education

Let's start with Tom Moran, a pit bull who just won't let it go:
The Perth Amboy school board voted again to place Superintendent Janine Caffrey on leave, a move that will stall reform of the schools, waste taxpayer money and lead inevitably to a lawsuit that Caffrey is almost certain to win.
The reason she’ll win is that this move to fire her is based on flimsy grounds and political cat-fighting. Caffrey had the temerity to refuse to make patronage hires, she says, and to cooperate with a state investigation into board president Samuel Lebreault’s improper attempt to get free or reduced-priced lunch for his kids. [emphasis mine]
In the world of Tom Moran's op-ed page, "she says" is as good a confirmation of the truth as anyone needs! After all...
  • George Bush: "he says" there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
  • Richard Nixon: "he says" he isn't a crook.
  • OJ Simpson: "he says" the bloody glove doesn't fit.
  • Barry Bonds: "he says" he never used steroids.
  • Bill Clinton: "he says" he never had sex with that woman.
Have I made my point yet? Just because "she says" something doesn't make it so. It is your job, Tom, to get off your duff and find out if what she said is true. Did you?

The board finally released its list of trumped-up charges yesterday. Our favorite was her grave offense of writing an op-ed article for The Star-Ledger that made an ironclad case against the state’s antiquated tenure laws -- and her cooperation when The Ledger wrote its own piece quoting her on the same topic. [emphasis mine]
Tom, when you and Caffrey wrote your "ironclad" pieces, did you ever bother to confirm them? She said she had a teacher who put soap in a kid's mouth, but a member of the PA BOE, Israel Valera, says that is "totally untrue." How do I know this?

Because I've stopped relying on the op-ed page of the Star-Ledger for facts, and started reading hyper-locals like the Amboy Guardian, which appear to believe in using journalism as a means of getting at the truth.

Did the hacktastic Moran ever consider calling up Valera for his side of the story, like the Guardian did? So he could compare the stories and try to ascertain which is correct?

Please. Instead, we get this stupidity:
That’s right: Speaking your mind on public policy is considered a firing offense in Perth Amboy. Russia’s strongman president, Vladimir Putin, would be proud.
Keep in mind, too, that Caffrey's views on tenure are the same as Gov. Chris Christie's. Maybe this board would like to fire the governor for mouthing off, as well.
So here’s our own attempt to remind the Perth Amboy board that this is America, and their sordid attempt at censorship will never work.
This is the same Tom Moran who, when confronted by his readers on his hacktacular nonsense, wrote this:
I think we can do better than this. How about we elevate the discussion to the substance, and move off the personal insults?
Comparing the PA BOE to a ex-KGB thug is, in Tom Moran's world, not a personal insult. Nice.

Tom, Caffrey made accusations against her own faculty that are, at the very least, disputed by members of the school board. You printed those accusations, without any discernible attempt to find out whether they are true. That is hackery of the highest order. And now, you stand with her, wallowing in your massive hypocrisy about tenure.

But as bad as Moran is, he's still second banana to New Jersey's biggest suck-up, Bob "Hoover" Ingle:
Acting state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf has ordered Amboys schools chief back on the job today. Superintendent Janine Caffrey was fired by the school board, but Cerf said the action lacked sufficient votes. It lacks sufficient cause too. What were these alleged dastardly deeds? Giving interviews to the media, damaging staff morale, failing to give the board necessary information and accusing board members of pushing their friends for district jobs. That last one is interesting. Four of the board members abstained from the vote, citing conflicts because they have relatives employed by the Middlesex County district. The Star-Ledger reports Caffrey’s support for education reforms — which she has said stem from personal experience with ineffective teachers — has alienated her from her staff. Sounds to me like she is on the right track. [emphasis mine]
Bob forgot to point out that Caffrey, a brand new superintendent with little public school administration experience, had been supervising New Jersey teachers for less than three months when she wrote her screed against tenure. Is that adequate "personal experience"? Or are you always this credulous?

Again: in that article, she made accusations about her own staff that members of the school board say are not true. Varela, in fact, says he will resign if she can prove her allegation that a teacher high on drugs could not be removed from her schools.

Sorry, Hoover, but it is a serious offense for a superintendent to make accusations about her own staff publicly and not have the evidence to back them up. Further, you haven't even bothered to ask, let alone report, on the questions surrounding questionable contracts to cronies of Chris Cerf that were inked under Caffrey's reign.

What do the Gannett people pay you for? Sitting in an office and typing whatever "feels" right to you? No wonder newspapers are dying.

But so it goes in the phone-it-in, blog-whatever-you-feel-in-your-gut world of New Jersey punditry. Hey, it's only education, right? Who gives a crap about doing some real reporting and getting at the truth? If the unions are against it, that's good enough for Moran and "Hoover" to print it.

Hoover says: Watch me suck up to the bestest Guv and ACTING Ed Commish EVAH!

1 comment:

Deb said...

And while it is restating the obvious, in the world of 'he says' so it must be true, I return to the top line of your blog by Governor Christie.....