My romantic life has been pretty dry recently. Sure, I go on a few dates here and there, but for the most part I have a pretty difficult time finding women who really catch my eye. What can I say? I have high standards; I'm pretty busy; and I've been moving around a lot lately.
In the last few weeks, however, I think something may have changed. In following this recent media campaign by NBC, Waiting for Superman, and the like, there's been a woman who's really caught my eye. Actually, there have been two women who have really caught my eye.
I think the "reform" movement has been kicking the ass of the teachers and unions when it comes to the talking points war. They're much more scripted than we are, and they've been well-coached by people who know how to win political battles.
"We need to get rid of bad teachers," they say. "We should hold everyone in education accountable," we hear. "We should offer parents and students choice in their education," I'm told.
On the face of the statements alone, very few people should disagree with them. The problem is, those of us more intimately involved with public education know that these talking points merely cover up harmful policies that are being driven by corporate reform. So, anytime I hear someone who knows very little about education (first year TFAer, dude on the subway, or distant family member looking for someway to avoid awkward silence) parrot these talking points in an attempt to show me they've also figured out how to fix public education, I have to count to ten, hold my breath, and attempt to not go throw myself off a bridge. Because the fact is, if you're looking into this debate from the outside, Eva Moskowitz and company are very convincing. And educators usually end up getting so heated by claims they know to be driven by forces that have no interest in helping children succeed in meaningful ways, they end up losing their cool, and as a result, losing their audience - as I believe Brian Jones did here.
That's why it's such a relief to hear knowledgeable people intelligently put the Obama, Duncan, and corporate reform agenda at large in its place - a lot like taking a hot bath after a long stressful day. And it's also why I think I've fallen for a woman who may be a little out of my age range, but I find outrageously attractive nonetheless, Valerie Strauss over at the Washington Post.
Now, Valerie has been doing great work for a long time, but she's really laid out some particularly stinging blog posts since the WaPo published this school reform manifesto signed by 16 superintendents (whoops - I mean school "chiefs," since some of them lack the credentials to be superintendents....cough cough Rhee cough cough). Particularly, Valerie wrote a post at "The Answer Sheet" on October 9 in which she referred to the document as nonsense, and another on October 11 in which she said of Obama,
"His time would be better spent talking to experts who aren't enamored with his policies and using his extraordinary intellect to come to understand how he is getting education so wrong."
Also, I've noticed Valerie using her platform to take on the arguments of Michele Rhee (who, by the way, is rumored to be resigning tomorrow) and supported by the WaPo's editorial board more and more as her blog continues. I kind of wonder if the WaPo knew what they were getting when they decided to let her write. She also seems to be using her blog as a op-ed forum more than a lot of other bloggers at big media outlets. The voices she lets speak certainly aren't getting into the WaPo's op-ed section.
So thank God for Valerie Strauss. I'm definitely a little in love.
But then there's this other, younger, also very intelligent ed blogger who's been getting some serious blog cred in the past few months out of Colorado. A former teacher, Sabrina Stevens Shupe, has been getting some spotlight from EdNewsColorado and The Huffington Post for her work at failingschools.wordpress.com as well as general respect from lots of people across the web for the mad skillz she displays actually thinking about problems with public education (that this skill seems to be maddingly absent among many others in this debate is perhaps a testament to how critical it is that we get reform right). But she also knows her way around the keyboard, PowerPoint, and YouTube. So please, please, please, check her out if you haven't yet. She does satire and thoughtful critiques on stupid policies.
The only problem, as I see it, is that neither of these wonderful women live in New York. Oh well. Let me know if you decide to visit, ladies.