Thank God, It's Friday!
Feel Free to Reach Out and Smack Someone.
A little firestorm broke out today over at Page One. It seems that Jake Payne has had quite enough of David Adams.
David Adams may pretend that the Bluegrass Institute is an honest think tank. But it’s obviously a right-wing agenda pusher that not only hates public education and stops at nothing to complain about it 24/7. [KY Progress]
This set off a a series of thrusts and parries reminscent of the battling attorneys I had been writing about earlier today. It went something like this:
David: Nuh uh. We don't hate public schools.
Jake: Yeah Huh. You're a hater who hangs out with Frank Simon.
David: Nuh uh. I've got kids in public school.
Jake: Yeah huh. BGI kills your credibility.
David: I may be a right-winger but KDE really sucks.
Or, words to that effect.....
Both blogs stoop to name-calling, which I try not to do, but I suppose I'm sympathetic with Jake's frustration.
Despite trying not to pay too close attention, every now and again, I get my fill of the outrage-of-the-day mentality and petty name-calling that goes on regularly at the Bluegrass Institute blog now. Everybody's a liar, or a fraud - and always an educrat. (By the way, what's the opposite of that? An ignocrat?
For example, Adam's big story of the day at Kentucky Progress was "Cutting through Big Ed's crap" A Richard Innes quote in a wrapper. Adams concludes:
As the Kentucky's mainstream media crumbles, independent researchers like Innes will take on an even more important role in holding government entities like Big Education accountable.
Perhaps so. But if it's wrapped up in an on-going screed about how awful everybody else is, I'm not sure many middle-of-the-road types are going to be able to hear it. Then, BGI's voice only gets further marginalized?
In a normal year, I'd be right in there with BGI fussing to improve assessment methods and results for our kids. I think the CATS concordance idea is little more than a bandaide put on a transition period with the hope no one will notice the 5-7 point bump schools get with the new and easier test. But the dialogic atmosphere is at Kentucky Progress, and now, BGI, is so toxic I'd just rather give KDE a pass and move on the other issues.
It wasn't always that way.
When Adams started blogging for the Bluegrass Institute I expressed my concerns to Innes. My thought was that the style of discourse on Kentucky Progress was inconsistent with what I understood them to stand for. Now I think it was my assessment of what they stood for that was wrong. I was less familiar with BGI overall and didn't make much of an effort to look into it. It wasn't really a concern of mine. I've worked with folks from all kinds of political perspectives for my whole career.
Innes and I managed to work together fairly well on a couple of issues (KIRIS, Barbara Erwin)despite being misaligned politically. We never thought we had to agree on everything to agree on the things we did.
The association probably cost me some credibility with educators in Kentucky.
A close colleague once asked me a question that I can't quite get out of my head. She said, "You've spent your whole life fighting for better schools in Kentucky. How can you stand being identified with the Bluegrass Institute on anything?"
I told her, "We only agree when we agree."
I'm not sure David and Jake are going to be able to hear each other. Jake sees the big picture. David sees individual claims. So today they just "yelled" at each other.
I suspect David isn't half as interested in understanding the implications of the data Innes produces, or the conclusions drawn, as he is in staying on message. I guess it's all about the influence.