Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Low Rent Swift Boat

Here's how rumors are created---First someone takes your message out of context, and misinterprets it completely. That's what Eduwonk did yesterday, when he suggested the aim of this post was to "begrudge KIPP teachers" of their five day trip to the Caribbean. Anyone who'd bothered to read the post could see that my criticism was directed toward KIPP's leaders.

To buttress his position, Eduwonk used this link to claim the trip was not taken with public money. Only problem is--that's not at all what the link says. What it says, exactly, is this:

Although officials at the charter school told auditors the trips in 2005 and 2006 were funded by surplus funds from private and not public sources, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said documentation was lacking to support those claims.

For a good rumor, you need others to extend the misinterpretation. Having read Eduwonk's post uncritically, his very first commenter managed to extrapolate that I was "profoundly anti-teacher." Perhaps this was because I suggested KIPP teachers work too hard and aren't paid enough. Perhaps it was because I bemoaned their complete and utter lack of job protection. Maybe it was because I thought they ought to be able to travel with their families rather than their supervisors.

Or maybe it was because he (like Eduwonk, perhaps) hadn't actually read the post very carefully. The commenter concludes thusly:
NYC educator, if your school produced results like KIPP, I'd want you to be given a trip to the Bahamas also. Until then, I'd prefer that you not assault the character of a group of outstanding educators, who deserve that trip and more.

Again, the very worst thing I suggested about KIPP teachers was that they were overworked and underpaid. Oh, and I called some of them "loyal." Still, it's quite a stretch to interpret that as "character assault."

As for my school, it's regrettable Eduwonk's commenter opts to speculate on topics about which he knows nothing. As it happens, my school is one of the very best regular high schools in the city, and our test results (a big factor for KIPP enthusiasts) are consistently excellent. Furthermore, individual kids don't need to be at our school from 7:30 to 5, and can have lives after school (just like their teachers).

Despite his apparent good wishes, I don't suppose that commenter will send me an airline ticket anytime soon.

By the way, as a direct result of the short-sighted policies of "reformer" Mayor Michael Bloomberg, our school's mushroomed to over 250% capacity. I can only hope that whoever replaces him puts an end to that trend, as our school is something well worth saving.

Related: PREA Prez weighs in here.
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