Friday, February 20, 2015

On The Meaning Of "Honest" and "Honesty"

This reblogging of the burris call for civil disobedience against high stakes testing spurred me to make a comment. That comment (linked to below) was responded to by the blog author in some rather harsh terms. It then helped lead to entirely different blog post addressed to the NAACP (see it here).

"Below is NYCDOEnuts' comment to yesterday's post, and below that is my response." Wrote the blogger.

Of course, he chose not to publish my second comment which responded to his and defended myself and my integrity. He opted instead to create a brand new "comments" policy for his blog, seemingly embedded in the statement, "By the way, DOEnuts, any future comments must include your real name in order to get them posted."

I used to do this all the time with my childhood friends. Whenever being beat at games we were playing, we'd just invent a new rule to help us get a leg up. I liked childhood. I am also glad that I can influence the juxtapositions of my fellow bloggers. I did, however, save the comment I sent for publishing and am posting it here at the end of this post.

The exchange (read the rest over there. I won't waste my space with it) is disconcerting. The blog author ended his initial tirade by saying" Now stop wasting my time with your bullshit and your not-so-subtle accusations."  (Ouch. Wanted: One public space for honest and honorable discourse and discussion where ideas can be freely exchanged.)

And now a quick and rare note from the author of this blog: 

For those who may not know or be intelligent enough to consider, this is a satirical blog. DOEnuts here (and in his Twitter form) is a satirical character. Part (just part) of the satire is that everything he sees is through the lense of a classroom teacher. Everything he does or advocates for (or even laughs at) is as a classroom teacher.

Imagine a guy who lives, eats and works in the back of his classroom and sees everything in the world (current events, video games, music videos, even comedy movies) through the eyes of classroom teacher and speaks as a classroom teacher would speak -in the classroom- for what he thinks will benefit the students in his class during the time they're there. That's DOEnuts.

Imagine the dedicated frycook Spongebob Squarepants, the gu who acres only about making a good Crabby Patty, as a classroom teacher.  That's DOENuts: "Just" a classroom teacher (with everything else is sort of faded to the background).

I feel like I've sunken to a level beneath me just to explain this. The best part about satire is that it's never explained. Now that I've had to explain that it kind of stinks.

The truth is that all else in the world does, in fact, effect a classroom teacher on some level. It does so in a manner that is somewhat faded to the background but it does just the same. These other things (school reform, corporate reform, equity in the schools, even the insights brought to a teacher through parenthood) have a profound effect on a teacher in a classroom and a teacher should work to understand that and to understand how it effects a teacher ... in a classroom.

Such is the case with testing and with the testing regime we all have to endure. It effects a teacher. And at the same time, it is a reality that a real classroom teacher must face. DOENuts is in a tough spot re testing (and re Common Core). He hates testing and doesn't much like Common Core yet he also wants what's best for his students.

Unlike others, he is not so arrogant as to steal the definition of what "best for his students" means from those who rightfully own it -he surely knows he doesn't own that definition.

While everyone else in the world seems to be selling books or selling themselves (or perhaps a bit of both), the only folks who DOEnuts has come to trust is the parents of the students he teaches. DOEnuts is a proud teacher a Title I students of color and his students' parents support tests. They tell him this to his face (anecdotally) and through polling that DOEnuts, as opposed to others,  reads. They're in favor of it.

There are parents who don't' support tests (and DOEnuts is one of them) and parents who hate tests (and DOEnuts is one of them too) and parents who will refuse to allow a test to be administered to their child (and DOEnuts is one of them too). But that isn't the parents of DOEnuts' students. Those folks seem to have different wishes -and DOEnuts serves those parents above, he feels, all else. Above his own ego. Above his own pigeon holed sense of correct and incorrect. Above all else in teh workplace.

Now DOEnuts gets accused of stuff all the time. He's been accused of being a racist, a wannabe activist, a keyboard warrior, a wannabe academic, a wanna Hamlet and a lackey (no wannabe there. Just straight got accused of being a lackey). He once got accused of, get this now, starting a blog with hope of getting dates. That is a true story.

Now he typically lets these accusations roll off his back because, well because he doesn't really exist! I'd give folks my real name but some of my positions would be different. My ethical dilemma re testing would be much deeper and my ambiguity re common core would be incredibly different from what DOEnuts believes. It doesn't serve any purpose.

This is why if I gave the author of my blog my name, and satisfied the threshold of his brand new comments policy, he'd be speaking with a completely different person. He wouldn't be speaking with the teacher who made the comment or challenged him on the point of testing or civil rights organizations at all. I doubt, in fact, that this author is even a classroom teacher. As such, I doubt he faces the same dilemma re testing that a teacher does.

Ultimately, I don't feel he and and DOEnuts have far to go with regard to a meaningful discussion. But he doesn't seem to get satire and he certainly doesn't seem to get the concept of honest discourse. That said, this is the response from DOEnuts that he refused to publish:

Oh, please. I wasn't subtly accusing you of anything and you very much know it. 
Your interpretation of history is a bit lopsided.  The fact that the only thing that did work was integration seems to be drowning in something you've ignored: Every single civil rights organization in the nation has signed a letter asking Congress to keep tests in some form as it rewrites NCLB. Every single one. I'm not claiming any mantle and I don't propose to speak for those who do, but when those who do in FACT have the mantle of civil rights (like every-single-civil-rights-organization in-the-country) speak up in a clear and sober manner, people like you -who claim to hold to facts so dear- had better listen with more intent than you seem to be doing. 
You go tell the NAACP that tests are racist. Let me know what they have to say. 
And while there's still no accusation there, I believe that pointing to the damage brought in by the corporate agenda -which does exist and is very real- does not (NOT) excuse anyone from ignoring the very real civil rights issues that permeate every single bit of this entire education discussion. NO, the answer is not to commit grand acts of civil disobedience and the answer is not to ignore a very large part of the public education discussion. The answer is to move forward with a better, common sense idea -better than a regime that *we'd all* like to see ended.  That's the answer. Sorry that yo don't have it. 

Hey, here are a few more facts that you will probably be tempted to dismiss as bullsh__:
*FACT: African-American and Latino-American respondents have supported the Common Core in NY in poll after poll.
*FACT: They also support testing in some poll after poll.
Those are facts too and they need to be worked into the efforts. 

Now based on your reaction, I actually don't believe you'll have the honesty to even post this comment -you've already demonstrated that you don't have the integrity to address an idea that even slightly disagrees with yours- but I know you're reading these words right now and I know you've just been called out on not ignoring the position of the people who really do speak for civil rights in this nation and I know you don't have an answer that satisfies that very real concern AND gets rid of this testing regime because no one does. 

But you go ahead. dismiss the points as a simple waste of time. 

Anyway these are real things that really should effect the opinions, beliefs, positions or advocacies of anyone who cares...

...about the students he gleefully faces on a daily basis.

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