The skinny is that Alexander Russo at TWIE pulled down a post by Marc Dean Millot charging Arne Duncan with conflict of interest after coming under pressure from Andrew Rotherham, one of the slugs of the ed deform movement. (Well, I don't like Andy because as I documented a few years ago he sent the attack dogs after the great blogger Eduwonkette. (I wrote about the day two years ago that I and Kette (Jennifer Jennings), who was anonymous at the time, sat in on an Aero session with Russo and Rotherham and the Times' Jenny Medina. See aeraplaning - don' need no stinkin' research))
Millot sent out a request for bloggers to host his response and Ed Notes was on the list. I responded and Ed Notes will be hosting part 2 of his report, though I warned Millot that we do not exactly exude the kind of classy research-based reporting he is used to. Well, he doesn't seem to mind a muckraking rag, though if he takes a close look he may run away screaming.
Now I should point out that Millot is a pro-market ed guy and has connections to Rand so we are not on the same page and our interests do not often intersect. But he's done some very interesting work on charters at TWIE and this can turn out to be an important story.
This will take a couple of posts over the next few days, but try to keep up because this story may go deep.
So, here goes:
Ken Libby at Schools Matter posted this on Friday
From Dean Millot over at ThisWeekInEducation (Three Data Points: Unconnected Dots, or Warning?)
I have now heard the same thing from three independent credible sources - the fix is in on the U.S. Department of Education's competitive grants, in particular Race to the Top (RTTT) and Investing in Innovation (I3). Secretary Duncan needs to head this off now, by admitting that he and his team have potential conflicts of interests with regard to their roles in grant making, recognizing that those conflicts are widely perceived by potential grantees, and explaining how grant decisions will be insulated from interference by the department's political appointees.
We do know that the Secretary benefited from a strong relationship with the new philanthropy in Chicago. We know that the Secretary is high on charter management organizations and the new teacher development programs that benefited from the new philanthropy. We know that RTTT czar Joanne Weiss was senior staff member at New Schools. We know that Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Jim Shelton was a senior program education officer at the Gates Foundation and NewSchools. We know that both managed investments in the organizations' Duncan favors.
Be sure to read the entire entry here - it's good and juicy.
(I clicked on the link and it didn't come up but then I found the URL on TWIE)
Read the rest of Libby's post here: Millot Asks About Conflict of Interest in Duncan's DOE
Below the above post was a comment from Millot:
Marc Dean Millot
At 1:45 Friday afternoon, I posted a brief commentary in This Week in Education, where I have been a guest columnist. "Three Data Points. Unconnected Dots or a Warning?" was one of many appearing in the edu-blogosphere over the last two week's expressing concerns over the lack of transparency in the Department of Education's implementation of the Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation discretionary grant programs. Within a few hours the commentary generated a modest amount of interest from some of our community's leading bloggers.Millot came out with part 1 of his story today at Schools Matter:
A little after 5 pm that day it was taken off the site by TWIE editor Alexander Russo. Russo informed me that he had been directed to do so by TWIEs sponsor, Scholastic as the result of a call from Andrew Rotherham to someone at the firm that Russo thought might be Rotherham's friend.
Over the weekend Russo struggled mightily to fix the problem. He emailed me, "Please be assured that this isn't really about you or the substance of your post." I agreed to sit tight till Monday. Sometime around 10:15 Monday evening I was fired by Russo or, to be more precise, he activated TypePad software on TWIE prohibiting me from publishing. The act was in breech of a six-month contract giving me "complete editorial control" over my columns as well as the princely sum of $200 a month.
I've been asked by my readers to explain what happened. I'm posting here because Kenneth Libby was the first. I intend to tell my story from start to finish. Yes, I have something at stake here. Yes, I intend to draw on materials that don't normally see the light of day - like emails and private conversations. But this situation is also an opportunity for readers to gain some insights into the personal side of Washington policy debates, the ways people with influence use it, the challenges faced by those who seek a commercial model for the new media, and the role of the blog in public discourse over education policy. These are worthy goals, rarely pursued.
I could go out and start my own blog, but I ran one for a year at edweek.org and prefer to be a columnist. I would be grateful for perhaps five days access to an edublog as a guest blogger. In return, I can only offer my best efforts to provide the facts, a good faith interpretation, and the full record in my possession for readers can come to their own conclusions.
Millot: Sound Decision or Censorship at TWIE? (I)
Millot closes part 1 with:
The defense rests
Russo did not pull the post on substantive grounds. There are no substantive grounds. TWIE's editor pulled it because of Rotherham's influence over a colleague at Scholastic, and that Scholastic employee's order to Russo.
Next: the pressure-cooker Rotherham created for Russo. Watch for me at EdNotes.
Oh, joy. Ed Notes gets the dope on Rotherham.
Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard.