Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cutting off debate: When edreformers refuse to respond

Sometime back, I wrote a post describing what often happens when you are trying to explain something or reason with a child in the earliest grades. Regardless of what you are focusing on, the child's reply is something akin to, "I have a puppy!" In other words, whatever you were trying to get across just didn't quite make it.

Often, this is the tactic of adults who are trying to push their point of view or force a position on others, such as their personal agenda related to education reform, but can't quite comprehend the logic of the professionals who actually work in that field and disagree with them. But another tactic which I am seeing more of these days is to just "cut off debate" by not responding to your counter.

Here's just a couple of examples I experienced on Twitter as late as this week.

Peter Ruddell, author of the now-infamous Oxford Plan requested by Governor Snyder to change the way public schools are funded, posted the following Tweet (@ruddellp):

Many #Oxford reforms based on MN (ranked #2 in nation) State Education Rankings: The Best And Worst For Math & Sciencehuff.to/nG4iw9

Now the average individual who follows Mr. Ruddell will probably believe that whatever Minnesota has, Michigan needs. And that's precisely what people in Mr. Ruddell's camp hope. But there's more to the Minnesota story that Mr. Ruddell conveniently ignores.

With apologies to the late Paul Harvey: And now the rest of the story.

I took a quick look at the National Report Card 2012 for funding fairness to see how Minnesota stacked up to Michigan. It resulted in a couple Tweets from me in response to Mr. Ruddell (darn 140-character limit):

@ruddellp MN also ranks higher (16th) than MI (31st) in state/local funding & 3rd highest in fairness of funding distribution (MI 35th)... 

@ruddellp ...according to National Report Card 2012 schoolfundingfairness.org/ExecutiveSumma #MichEd #equity

Well isn't that inconvenient! Minnesota's K-12 funding levels and fairness ranking far exceed Michigan's, which is no real revelation since Michigan absolutely sucks in comparison to other states when it comes to equitable school funding.  Because research concludes that most of our public school problems lie with low funded, urban schools serving high percentages of kids living in poverty and a growing rate of limited English proficiency, more equitable funding would move us in the right direction of reforming public education.

Had Mr. Ruddell read what I sent to the Oxford Foundation earlier this summer, he would have known that. 

Oh, wait! He did read it!

Nope. I read it. "@colonelb: Provided input to Oxford Plan back on 8/1 but guess McLellan was "too busy" to read it. is.gd/Ybv9UG"

Well, so he says.  Either way, following my response about Minnesota's school funding fairness in comparison to Michigan, he went dark and has yet to respond, which puzzles me since the entire Oxford Plan is about school funding yet Mr. Ruddell doesn't appear to want to debate about the importance of school funding.

Maybe he should stick to just telling me about his puppy. But if not, I'm ready to debate Mr. Ruddell on his plan at his convenience.