Thursday, April 19, 2012

Transparent Christina discovers that the sun actually rises in the East . . .

. . . which is about as astounding as John Young's abrupt realization that

@RodelDE and Delaware PTA cozy up to shape school board elections. #netDE

John, like Louie, the Vichy French inspector in Casablanca, is astounded to discover that there is gambling at Rick's--that the DE PTA would speak favorably of Rodel, or Innovative Schools, Voices 4 Delaware Education, or Edison. . . .

John, this ain't a great new discovery, son.  The Delaware PTA has been working with Rodel and Vision 2015 and Governor Markell and all those folks for, like, years.

They've been carefully hiding evidence of this dastardly conspiracy . . . on the DE PTA Facebook page!!!  How clever.  Nobody would look there.

And, of course, they neglected to phrase their questions to school board candidates like you wanted them, and instead asked questions that related to the concerns and interests of their members.  Kinda like the dastardly pandora did at Delawareliberal, or the WNJ did with its questionnaire, or (here's a thought) the various local incarnations of the DSEA when interviewing potential candidates.

These are first-class subversives, sure.

They've carefully hidden the fact that they've invested $40,000 into making parents aware of Common Core Standards, that they've supported Race to the Top, or that the PTA has a national legislative agenda.

What, I put links to the stories on their official website in that last sentence?  Oh my God, I've broken the secret that was never to be revealed . . . the PTA as an organization has a position on education in Delaware, and that they publicly discuss that with other like-minded individuals and organizations.

That Yvonne Johnson, she's so crafty to have kept this all under wraps for so long.

But nothing stops intrepid investigative journalists from "revealing" materials openly mailed to every school board candidate in the state, and--strangely enough--committing to publishing the answers of every candidate, unedited, whether they are positive or negative.

Here's the deal:  you may love or hate anything the DE PTA advocates, and I have my own issues with part of it, but to suddenly "discover" a relationship that has been public and transparent from the beginning, and then strongly imply that there is untoward backroom collusion is . . .

. . . well, we'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Meanwhile, if you want to read about organizations in the State that have routinely attempted (with hundreds of thousands of dollars funneled through PACs with ever-changing identities just to make tracking down their investments difficult) to shape school board elections for the past 5-6 years, go here.


Anonymous said...


I am sorry for being off-topic.
I read some of your interventions on Kilroy's blog and would like to know your opinion on Michelle Rhee's work and the Studentsfirst movement.

Steven H. Newton said...


I am not especially well read on Michelle Rhee's exact work beyond the standard newspaper accounts.

I'm currently looking into Studentsfirst and when I have something worthwhile I will post it.

Coolspringer said...

Point very well taken (if snarky), but based on your comment on Mike's blog, it does seem that the political strategy of the union is made similarly open. Nothing hidden if you know where to look. I support the PTA, Rodel and the union, and I maintain reservations about all of them! :P

Anyway, I feel more and more like accusations of impropriety have become a factor of the tug-of-war between which approach citizens favor - overbearing control from privatizing/corporate entities or overbearing control from government/regulatory entities. (Incidentally, Rhee is a such a strong adherent to the former camp, I'm not a fan. Not that anyone asked! :) ) Both sides "are people", but both can be fairly accused of fighting for their own self-interest, and both defended for doing so. Picking one side at the other's expense feels to me like throwing the baby out with the bath water and I am looking very forward to bridging that gap with more nuance.

Ed Diagnostician said...

Steve, Good one.

Unfortunately, many parents don't know how the dots are connected despite their lack of being hidden.

Now I have two e-mails from them today where they are telling members to ignore a parent.

Support that too?

Steven H. Newton said...


The thing I like about you is that you know how to play.

Notice that nowhere in the post did I ever state agreement with anything the PTA did.

As for your question, I'd obviously have to know details, but if you give them to me I will give you an unequivocal answer.

But here's my counter-challenge: even though I personally don't like Rodel people donating "off the clock" time to campaigns, exactly how is that different than the pressure sometimes placed by DSEA on their own members to do the same? Yes, I know many who do so willingly, but I have also been told by teachers (especially younger ones) that they don't feel free to refuse "because I have to live in my building."

As a libertarian I am against coercion in pretty much all forms.

Steven H. Newton said...

John, here's your answer (now that I have been to TC and read your post):

1--I think you overblow "ignore a parent" here; I think the context of the letter is to ignore you as a blogger (or possibly as a school board member; the grammar is a bit difficult), but not to ignore you as a parent. Here's why I make the distinction: if, as faculty union president at DSU--in that capacity--I were to make a pronouncement about CSD [and let's assume for a moment I lived in CSD], and you said, "We should ignore this ridiculous union president," I don't think I would be justified in telling everybody that you just ignored a parent. I know people play that card, but I've never liked it. When I read TC I think (because that's the way you present yourself) that I am reading a blogger with education interests/expertise who got himself elected to the school board. I certainly don't think of you as speaking officially for the school board on your blog, any more than I think that of Elizabeth or Kim Williams in Red Clay.

So no, on that note, I do not think you have a legitimate point.

2--With respect to the convoluted phrasing--how dare he suggest we're cozying up to Rodel followed by Rodel is our ally, I think that's exactly what you are dealing with--convoluted phrasing. I sincerely believe that the point she was trying to make was, "How dare he accuse us of secretly associating with Rodel--everything we've done with them is public and we're proud of it."

Saying that does not mean I necessarily agree with the sentiment, but I honestly read that differently than you did.

I think we all have to be careful when reading what other people write is that our first responsibility is to discern what they actually intended to say before we start looking for Freudian slips, accidential admissions, or convoluted language. We need to move the hell away from "gotcha" reactions before we have digested.

By the way, I would have posted this at TC [and you are free to paste it in over my name] but for whatever absurd technical reasons my Google account was not giving me access to the comments on your blog.

Oh, and I am adding you to my blogroll. That you weren't there was uintentional.

Just don't expect me to add DDC. :)

Ed Diagnostician said...

She's not on mine either.

Ed Diagnostician said...

Back at ya on the blogroll.

Perhaps I read the ignore the parent thing wrong as I was the target of the comment....but how did every recipient read it....would you stipulate that some could have read it as simply as I did: ignore John Young. He happens to ALSO be a parent as opposed to the real reason we should ignore him so ignore that too because my call to ignore is overreaching?

If she does not want me ignored as a parent she should, as PTA president reaffirm for her members that important difference, no? She sent the e-mail to the ENTIRE PTA e-mail list.

Steven H. Newton said...


I don't think you will like my answer, but it is my answer nonetheless.

Those of us (bloggers) who make a habit of writing provocative, snarky, argumentative posts on a daily basis that gore the oxen of people who are not really part of our world and its chaotically unwritten social rules . . . .

. . . Should not be surprised or take offense or get on such a high horse of how everyone else should have proper decorum and all that when somebody fires a shot back at us.

There are things that cross the line, God knows, but I don't see it in Yvonne's letter, and I think continuing to make a case out of it is not a winner for you.

(On the other hand, having myself been called a racist in public the same way stuff like that was said about you back during the PZ fiasco, I can understand why you are sensitive.

Ed Diagnostician said...

I have no problem with your answer Steve. You are right. Yvonne and I are both public figures. I hope she comes to our board meeting to gore me to my face. We all must own our words!

BTW, Mayor Baker calling me a racist pales in comparison to Dr. Lowery and Governor Markell literally inventing a lie about what went down last year.

Steven H. Newton said...

We all must own our words!

Yes and no. Those of us like you, me, Yvonne and others who are legitimately public figures DO have that obligation.

That said, a lot of people blogging have very good reasons for remaining (at least) partly anonymous.

Ed Diagnostician said...

Well I think we all should own them. I sure try to.