Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Millot, Russo, Rotherham Caper

I am truly thankful for your support. I am especially thankful because I know many of you do not share my views on markets in public education. What I think we share is a willingness to engage in debates on the merits and a sense of outrage that too many of those in power - political, financial, social, communications - are too willing to use it on their behalf whatever the merits.

I am a (moderate, North Shore Massachusetts, Rippon Society, small businessman,"crunchy") Republican, but I also read and have somewhere in storage somewhere my heavily marked up copy of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, alongside Clauswitz, Machiavelli, and Halperin. And I think that we might leverage this incident to bring more of a spotlight on RTTT, etc.

I dont want to say "no thank you (your'e not neccessary)" to anyone. You're all necessary. What I would like to do is be a guest blogger on each of your sites for one essay in the series I'm writing. Each essay would link back to the earlier posts and note the location of the next. I think there's much more punch to the message this way. And I would urge you to use my guest post as as place of departure for your own discussion of the issues.

Jim Horn offered his site first, so I propose to put the first essay on Schools Matter.

Going in order of offers, the second essay would be at Norm Scott's EdNotes.

The third, Tom Hoffman's Tuttle SVC.

The fourth at The Frustrated Teacher -

Doug Noon at Borderland says he's definitely interested, and if he wants, I'll close there with a review of this effort and reactions to it.

What I like here is that your blogs cover the nation: California (TFT), Rhode Island (Tuttle SVC), Alaska (Borderland), Massachusetts (Schools Matter), New York (EdNotes) and you are all educators engaged the policy debate - frustrated but doing you part to engage, exchange and rally. It may help get the message to more people, and demonstrates grassroots concern about transparency to any ed reporter looking for a story.

I promise not to betray your trust in offering me your blog as a platform. I intend to keep my remarks solidly ground in facts and the records I have. Because some may be in my sole possession, and If released selectively would open me to attack, I intend to release whatever I have that's relevant - starting with everything from the time I published the post to my last exchange with Alexander Russo today. Some is trivial, some is silly, some will undoubtably be used against me. But in the end its the right thing to do.

Tonite, I plan to explain why I wrote what I wrote. It covers the substantive issues - did I charge official with corruption whether my use of anonymous sources was ethical. This covers from roughly noon, to roughly 5 pm when Russo took the post down from TWIE. There were no communications during that time. I will end that post with Russo's Friday afternoon email informing me of his act.

After this, email communications are essential. Russo and I had one conversation on the phone Saturday, after that circumstances led us to communicate only be email. So I'll have a transcript of these communications in a file, and send that to you and some reporters.

The second post is about the sense of stress Russo expressed to me about Rotherham's pressure on Scholastic, and that Scholastic was putting on Russo. I believe Russo tried his best to walk the cat back, but came to see no good way out. His sense of the choices was to disavow me and keep the business he's worked hard to build or back me and lose the business. We exchanged a lot of views from many angles. I suggested alternatives that might let everyone get out of this without damage, I had no goal of hurting anyone, but I made it clear from the start that I would accept no solution that in the least suggested I was at fault. I set a deadline for resolution, extended it, and offered to extend it again if Alexander could see any reason. In the end Russo could not, made his choice, and our relationship deteriorated in the usual pathetic fashion. This is really a story about efforts to monetize blogsites, a classic tragedy.

The third post is about Rotherham's role in all this. Russo and I have independent and shared histories of intellectual rivalry and/or personal tense with the eduwonk, and some knowledge of his behind the curtain tactics against others. He has some motives to attack me, and Russo through me. So this about motive, means and opportunity. My situation offers a chance to get this problem into the sunlight of public discourse. Russo and I are hardly the first victims and Rotherhams hardly the first of his kind.

I'll write a fourth post of observations and conclusions. At this point, I'm not precisely sure what I'll say.

I cant forsee the reactions so I cant say much about the final post.

As far as I'm concerned you can draw as much as you want from this to give your readers a heads up.

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