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

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Triumph Of the Incompetent

New Jersey teacher Marie Corfield, who dared to stand up for teachers and parents, had over $100,000 "dropped on her head" this past fall when she ran for the state Assembly. The dropper was none other than B4K, a super-PAC powered by hedge fund money and run by a professional schmoozer of the rich, Derrell Bradford.

Considering the money B4K spent to buy the defeat of Corfield, I think it's worth going back and giving a listen to what these guys are all about. To paraphrase Bradford: "The problem with our country today is that we spend too much time listening to the opinions of people who know what they are talking about!"

"1.0 is an era that is like a hundred years long. Where only the sort of like - you know, Rick mentioned earlier - only the sort of experts, only the accredited, all those people, those are the only people who are sort of allowed to talk about schools, right?"
Of course, unaccredited non-experts have been talking about what's wrong with schools since forever. But let's put Bradford's ignorant version of history aside...

Does Derrell Bradford really think it's so great that people who have no expertise in education now get to dominate the debate?

Derrell himself is spectacularly ill-qualified to voice an opinion about anything having to do with schools. He has never taught, never been a principal, holds no degrees in education, has done no serious work in education policy, has never written a peer-reviewed paper on education, and holds no degrees in psychology, human development, sociology, pediatrics, or public policy. 

Bradford has admitted that he only came into education "reform" because he needed a job (it's obvious who is referred to in the linked post ). His previous experience before entering the reformy world was writing for a nightlife magazine.

Yet this man served, at the request of Gov. Chris Christie, on the NJ Educator Effectiveness Task Force - a panel with only one working teacher. This group put out a report that proposed using "growth" - which the NJDOE has implemented as "Student Growth Percentiles" - to determine teacher effectiveness. Had Derrell had any experience or training in the field, he would have known that the "inventor" of SGPs, Damien Betebenner - who is cited in the report - has said explicitly that SGPs do not attempt to find teacher effect (or any other cause) for variations in student test scores. In other words, they are the wrong instruments to use when attempting to infer a teacher's "value."

I can't think of a better example of someone who has no idea what they are doing promoting a policy that is detrimental to the children and teachers of New Jersey out of sheer ignorance. Of course, Bradford also stays up at night waiting for the Merit Pay Fairy; he's never met a reformy policy he didn't love, no matter the evidence against it.

Bradford was also a secret reviewer of charter school applications early in the Christie administration. Again, he was completely unqualified for this task; I can only hope someone competent checked over his work before anyone acted on it.

So Derrell doesn't have experience or education or training or research or the facts or logic on his side. But that's OK: in this world, there's really only one thing that counts:
"When you start showing up and saying, "Listen, we're gonna drop $100,000 on your head if you don't get behind this thing," it's a very different coversation about reform at the legislative level."
Why worry about being competent when you're loaded?

David Tepper consults with Derrell Bradford (artist's conception)


giuseppe said...

Derrell Bradford speaking under the auspices of AEI. What a shock, NOT. AEI, one of a horde of right wing uber libertarian, Ayn Randian, GOP leaning (though they claim to be non-partisan), so called think tanks. AEI, Heritage and Cato all get massive amounts of air time on the C-SPAN channels, as if these supposedly non-partisan pseuo-think tanks don't have some kind of an agenda.....ha, HA. These are corporate funded entities with the intent of privatizing everything, destroying Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, any social safety net and above all liquidating unions once and for all from the face of the earth and from the time space continuum. AEI is a propaganda arm of corporate America, far right wing libertarian corporate America. It's motto is leave no billionaire oligarch behind.

darciecima said...

I think I'm going to be sick...

DWD said...


I am a sometime follower and constant admirer.

I am a retired Muskegon Heights Public School Teacher. If that name means nothing to you, it should.

Muskegon Heights Public Schools were ended by the governor of the state and the emergency manager and turned into the first public school to charter school district in the country under the auspices of Mosaic.

This is a link to an article you might be interested in. If you bother to read it, my reaction is in the comments.

Bob in Muskegon
DWD on Disqus usually found at Atrios's Place.

DWD said...

DWD again.

Forget the link. (See why I am retired?)