Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Frank Bruni Coddles Ed Deformers

I'm not sure where to draw that line. Its my kids. Its all personal... Patrick Sullivan in response to "Let's minimize getting personal just because someone has a an opposing viewpoint" on the NYCEd listserve.
So much reaction to another no-nothing NY Times columnist: Are kids too coddled: Op-Ed NY Times

Raging Horse took 2 shots at Frank Bruni:

Are New York Times Opinion Writers Too Coddled?

On “Left Wing Paranoia” and the Conspiracy to Privatize Public Education

In case those people still reading Ed Notes haven't noticed, I try not to leap in on major topics of the day until almost a week later. One reason is because my mostly younger blogging colleagues are so much quicker, analytical, and more eloquent than me. The other is that it gives me time to gather links to their great stuff and also include comments from the listserves. Assailed Teacher is up next:
Does this mean that because I cook and eat food that I can be a food critic as well? Does this mean that I can be a critic of food critics?  How would Bruni respond if I supported a program to make food criticism more rigorous because these damned food critics get coddled all of the time when they go to restaurants? After all, all of the cooks and wait staff go out of their way to accommodate the high and mighty food critics when they enter a restaurant. Back in my day, the wait staff barely paid attention to me and the cooks left hairs in my soup. How will food ever get better in America if these critics keep getting a skewed version of what food is all about? Our cuisine is falling behind other nations. We must catch up to France! ---  Assailed Teacher: Everyone is an Expert at Everything
 There are so many good takedowns of Frank Bruni’s New York Times piece supporting the Common Core that I did not bother to read it for myself until yesterday. I was glad I did. It gave me a bit of masochistic pleasure, like when you pick at a scab or push on an aching tooth. Bruni the food critic demonstrates the same thick assumptions and caricatured impressions of public schooling shared by many Common Core advocates. One only need to read the myriad comments under the article heaping praise upon him for confirming their own uninformed biases about youth, education and parents to get a glimpse of the armchair education expert parade in action.
Reality-Based Educator did his hit:

Frank Bruni LOVED "Won't Back Down"

NY Times restaurant critic/columnist Frank Bruni has some propaganda piece out about the Common Core State (sic) Standards that equates opponents of the standards as purveyors of the self-esteem movement in which every child is a winner and everyone gets a trophy no matter how they do in life's competition. Alas, before we take anything Bruni writes seriously, let us remember how much he enjoyed the propaganda film "Won't Back Down" last year (see here and here for my take on that.)
I love the accumulation of voices. Here are some from the various listserves.
I just tweeted that NYT columnists are coddled; opining on education issues w/out speaking to educators or parents. Leonie H
Diane Ravitch responded to a comment I made challenging a right wing teacher who always trashed students as the problem and loved Bruni's column by raising the point that we are abusing 8 year olds.
No one at the NY Times sees any problem with high-stakes standardized tests. They all got high scores.

They did? Can't tell by the quality of their reporting or editorials. Let's have Danielson for reporters. I rate them ineffective. --- norm
Perhaps Duncan and the ed-deformers are the ones that are "too coddled"? They always get someone to defend them and slam the people raising concerns. Lisa N.

Thanks for sharing, Lisa. Frank Bruni (formerly the food critic) doesn't display much intellectual rigor in this piece. It could have been written to defend the old state standards or any crusade to raise the bar or get back to basics. Except he does quote David Coleman who "told me that he’s all for self-esteem, but that rigorous standards 'redefine self-esteem as something achieved through hard work.' "
Many people commenting seem to feel a need to say they aren't for coddling either but that the CCSS are grossly inappropriate, poorly written, etc, etc. This roll-out mess should also be an opportunity to refute the pernicious assumptions that self-esteem must be earned at school, and learning is just drudgery that will eventually lead children "somewhere big and real."


1 comment:

  1. Eric Alterman provides insight into Bruni:

    I didn't notice it at the time of publication but I sure notice it now.


Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating). Or because your comment is irrelevant or idiotic.