A few weeks ago I declared my love for two of education's best ed bloggers, but sadly, at the time, I was ignorant of one of the true gems contributing to our national educational debate, Seyward Darby.
Seyward is the deputy online editor of The New Republic, and she apparently writes super great critiques of salient events in the world of educational reform. Around the time I was confessing my love for Sabrina and Valerie, Seyward was penning this truly unique (and in no way reminiscent of every other TFAer, DFER, or Broad/Gates/Walton board member) piece about the tragedy of Michelle Rhee's departure from DC public schools. Ms Darby enlightens her readers,
"..Rhee pushed the city to take huge strides in education. She closed failing schools, introduced a new teacher evaluation system, and negotiated a groundbreaking contract with the Washington Teachers' Union that allows the city to pay and fire educators based on their performance."
She goes on to tell us,
"In an ideal world, tough stances wouldn't be so controversial and Rhee wouldn't be resigning."
So true. I only wish I had known these things before I decided to quit DCPS. It seemed like such a hellhole when I was working there, but I guess I just didn't have the perspective Seyward has, the kind of perspective that can only come from graduating from Duke University in 2007 and limiting your experience with education to less than a Teach for America graduate. If only I had spent a few weeks teaching English in Thailand, I too may have been able to write as poignantly about the apparent tragedy (which I only came to fully understand after reading Ms Darby's truly insightful account) that was Michelle Rhee's departure from DCPS.
So here's my little love note to you, Seyward Darby: keep writing; you truly enchant me with your third-year-out-of-college/no-work-experience-in-education lens, your sharp eye for uncovering the subtleties in the issues, and your ability to think outside of the box and not just accept the trash being fed to you by other people who also have no experience working in education. It's those who participate in the media for the advancement of their own careers without consideration of providing thoughtful analyses on topics they're qualified to write about who impede the growth and nourishment of our precious democracy. Thank you, Seyward, for being so different.