Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The post-Newtown view from right field

First grade teacher Victoria Soto was one of six faculty members killed in the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.—Rex Features/AP
Rick Hess of the far-right American Enterprise Institute (AEI) claims to be "horrified by advocates and education pundits who seize upon Newtown as a "hook" to place an op-ed or push their favorite talking points and agenda items."

He's not mentioning any names, but it's clear that he's talking about Diane Ravitch who posted a thoughtful and powerful tribute to the heroism of teachers (union members at that) on her blog. Diane's piece was picked up and circulated by lots of other bloggers and tweeters, (including Brother Fred).
Hess confesses, he hasn't written about Newtown because "I haven't had anything useful to say. I'm not a K-12 educator, a religious or community leader, a public official, or a role model. I'm inclined to defer to those who have something to say or inhabit positions of public trust."

In other words, Hess is OK with policy makers moving quickly to strategize and push new legislation and government policies, but is "horrified" that any of us would dare to contribute to that discussion. Some democrat, that Hess.

Of course, what Hess is really doing is staking out his own position. He and AEI have an agenda and that's why he blogging about it, as he should. So should Diane. There nothing disrespectful to the shooting victims or their families about praising the heroic actions of the teachers and other first responders nor is it disrespectful to advocate for gun-control policies or more resources for mental health care in the wake of the Newtown shooting. In fact, had this discussion gone on the way it should, free from fear of political retribution from the NRA and other conservative opponents of gun control, the Newton massacre might have been avoided. Hess' organization has long been in alliance with the NRA in opposition to all gun-control legislation and made no bones about it in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings.

Hess of course, isn't the only one trying to hush up democratic discussion. Teach for America marketing VP David Rosenberg demands that Diane take down her “reprehensible” post. Isn't it obvious that what Rosenberg and TFA find reprehensible is her mention of the word "union."

Jersey Jazzman makes a similar point in his post, "It's Politicizing If You Disagree With Me!".


  1. Yes, they don't want us to talk about the heroism of teachers. They say it's insensitive. They don't want us to talk about gun control. They say it's inappropriate. They don't want us to mention mental health care. They say it's rude. Just shut up until the next massacre.

  2. #QuoteYourTeacher "I wasn't the demon unions thug #edreform made me 2 b. I said I Won't Back Down, n I was Waiting For Superman in #Newtown"


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