Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Lynne Varner says she wants a conversation

Today, in a dramatic change of direction, Lynne Varner wrote an editorial in the Seattle Times in which she asks for a conversation on Education Reform. This represents a big reversal because, so far, Ms Varner has adamantly refused to engage in conversation with those who oppose the Education Reform juggernaut.

Let's see if she really wants a conversation or not.

20 comments:

Sahila said...

more BS from Lyn Varner... she hasnt changed her tune... she's just rearranged the chords....

pointing the finger at ed boards and charter granters for charter school failures instead of saying that if 83% do no better or much worse than public schools, what's the point of having charter schools? We could do innovative, 'successful' things in public schools if we were given the same resources, small class sizes etc...

Making a convoluted comparison between teaching credentials and hairdressing training, kinda opening the door to the argument that we ought to let in TFAs...

and the testing red herring again...

nothing new in any of that....

FightingForKids said...

"nothing new in any of that....". And nothing new from you either Sahila. I don't see any difference between you and Lynne. You're both dug into your own opinion and neither of you will give in. Well now at least it appears she's attempting to converse while all we get from you is the same droning on about gates, broad, etal and calling people names because they don't agree with you.

Jan said...

As long as she isn't visibly dragging a large wooden horse behind her, I say -- let's talk!

As the fallacies, untruths, half-truths, lack of research, research proving the EXACT opposite, etc. start to come more to light, I think there will be a number (hopefully, a BIG number) of former rah rah ed reformers who start to see at least some of the problems with ed reform as it is currently being rolled out by Arne Duncan, the Broad Foundation, etc. Not everyone will agree on everything -- and a lot of people are NEVER going to get all the way to the positions that some commenters here (whose ideas and energy I greatly respect) have gotten to, but how can we say we aren't even willing to talk? Diane Ravitch changed her mind -- but I will bet it didn't all happen overnight. As the pushback starts to build -- what you WILL get from time to time is people who stop talking, take a breath, and start asking questions of those on the other side. I hate the testing stuff -- but a lot of people like it. If it wasn't hardwired into graduation requirements, teacher pay incentives and/or retention, etc. -- frankly, I wouldn't care! Test away, if you think your kids get off on tests and they add to your understanding of their learning levels, styles, problems, whatever.

So -- I say we should talk to anyone out there willing to reconsider the "truth" of what the education reform bandwagon has been preaching!

Sahila said...

Actually F4K... I'm not dug into my opinion... I'm dug into the facts...

Lynne Varner is being paid to stay dug into an opinion that she's persisting in spouting, IN SPITE OF the facts....

And without once coming forward and addressing the concerns of people who are not convinced of the validity of the barrow she's being paid to push...

AS WV says: Ms Varner lives in the land of mythe...

FightingForKids said...

Tomato tomaaato Sahila you interpret "facts" the way you want. Lynne interpret "facts" the way she wants. Both of you are spinning. At least she is reflecting on what she's learned on her trip to NY. She's talking to all kinds of folks who have different lenses on public education issues while you scour the web looking for articles and "facts" that support you opinion.

There is a middle of the road you know because neither of you is completely right. Why don't you take a step or two off your line?

Melissa Westbrook said...

What I didn't see in her editorial column is where and when this discussion will take place. As I said in my comment to it, where are parents in these discussions?

We are never asked our opinions and yet they want our children, they want our fundraising dollars, our volunteer times and yet not our opinions on how to educate our children.

Sahila said...

F4K... so what I find out has no validity because I didnt take a plane ride to the Big Apple???? Wow - interesting thought process going on in your head... not sure I'd call it logic, but there you go...

Here's what parents in New York say:

http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/

and here:
http://gothamschools.org/

and I talk to NY parents and teachers and policy experts most days...

no need to take a jet plane and add to the carbon footprint we humans are inflicting on the planet...

seattle citizen said...

I can't wait for the conversation Lynne asks for. I have my suspicions about her intent - she did slip in a couple of references to some of her (and the Times) agenda items, but if she is willing to have informed people from all sides sit in a room and have a civil discussion, I'm there.

It would be an opportunity I would look forward to with gusto.

But it won't happen: She didn't REALLY want to have a conversation, it was a rhetorical device to appear more conciliatory while getting in a couple subtle rah-rahs for charters and testing:

"Let's acknowledge that not all charters are good, and find the GOOD charters to replace public schools with!" and "Let's acknowledge not all tests are good, and find the GOOD tests to impose expensively!"

Pretty dang transparent- She's still shilling for the Broad/Gates crowd (and F4k, it IS the Broad/Gates crowd, you know it, we know it, everybody knows it. Nothing mysterious there.)

FightingForKids said...

Oh, I get it Sahila, you're never wrong. Ever. And anything anyone else does or says has no validity unless it's in line with your thoughts and your way of doing things.

Must be nice to know everything. Good for you.

wseadawg said...

Could the bickering stop, so we can discuss, advocate, and defend. This is critically important stuff we're discussing and debating. Bring strong opinions all you want. But if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. In the meantime, stop degrading the dialogue with personal attacks and whining, please!

Varner is doing the old Cokie Roberts "voice of reason" charade where she continues to appease and act conciliatory because she has no skin in the game. Cokie didn't do her homework, and parroted the famous lies that Al Gore said he invented the internet and discovered Love Canal. No matter that he never said either, but the result was GW Bush. Go ahead and act all conciliatory and mature, Lynne. I wouldn't want to see you un-invited from any Ed Reform cocktail parties on the horizon, as all the Charter & Reform big-wigs are coming to town soon.

So ask yourselves Seattle parents: Why do you think she's ass-kissing the charter movement right now? Because she suddenly had a revelation, or because she wants access to powerful people?

wseadawg said...

Sorry to be crude. I probably should have said "donkey-kissing" instead, but I don't like dragging innocent animals into the sludge.

dan dempsey said...

Seems like if Ms. Varner or any of those Times folks wanted a discussion they would have partaken in multiple opportunities to do so ---- in the comments section of their numerous puff pieces pushing education reform.

I'll be looking for Ms. Varner to walk her talk.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wseadawg, yes there is the big Alliance for Education Black and Orange Ball next weekend. I'm sure Lynne will be at that event. If only I had a gown, I'd join them.

Charlie Mas said...

It took me a couple days, but I finally figured it out.

Lynne Varner wrote: " In the debate about the future of public education, it seems some of us have been having the wrong conversations with the wrong people."

It appears that students, teachers, and families are the "wrong" people to have in these conversations. The right people are the Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, Teach for America, the Chamber of Commerce (in the guise of the Alliance for Education), the UW College of Education and the legislature. Everyone else should just butt out.

emeraldkity said...

This isn't off topic- but bear with me.

I think it would serve everyone well to read a recent piece by Aaron Brown on the state of TV news- but it also could be applied to the state of local/national public education.

I didn't think much of Brown when he was in Seattle- but I think he learned a thing or two in the big city.

Right now, it doesn't matter what you believe in, it's what you oppose

Anonymous said...

I don't want to have a discussion with Lynne Varner. I do want the Seattle Times OpEd page to allow OpEds that are in contradiction to her columnist views and the OpEd's board as a whole on the topic of education. Why the fear to allow a full range of opinions on the newspaper pages traditionally dedicated to doing just that?

I guess that's why we're all coming to this blog now, instead. I am working subscriber by subscriber on those interested in ed issues to cancel their subscription and just tune in here.

Given the economy as well as the proof-in-the-pudding of this blog, it has been the easiest argument in the world. Let's just say I'm into double digits and counting on "bye-bye Times".

Bet it will be a ***huge surprise*** to them when suddenly there are new people on the board and a new directive to get back to celebrating teachers, partnering for social services that can raise the achievement of our most at-risk youth, and celebrating the involvement of families.

Sign me: Blog Backer and Voter Ready for New Representation

Maureen said...

Blog Backer, Add me to your list. This is part of what I wrote to the Times today:

I first considered cancelling our subscription when the Times endorsed George W. Bush for president but I didn't because I didn't want to lose access to coverage of local news and of education in particular. Of late, your education coverage has been so incredibly atrocious and biased that I can no longer use that as a reason to keep my subscription. As a public school parent I am sickened by your editorial board's mindless adherence to the current fad of education "reform." Lynne Varner, in particular, exhibits an incredible level of willful ignorance. Linda Shaw does minimal reporting and no investigating. I now get all of my school district news from Melissa Westbrook and Charlie Mas at the Save Seattle Schools blog. I will miss the comics and Danny Westneat's column, but that isn't worth the aggravation of reading Varner's, let's say, blathering.

Charlie Mas said...

There are now over 50 comments on Lynne Varner's column, many of them thoughtful, but none of them from her. She is not participating in the conversation with her readers. There's the proof that they are the "wrong" people.

hschinske said...

Are the Times writers even allowed to engage in comment threads? I don't remember ever seeing one do so. Not that I think it gets her off the hook if they aren't (she ought to have at least made it clear she wouldn't be engaging in that forum, given the emphasis on "conversation").

Helen Schinske

Charlie Mas said...

Yes, Helen. The Times writers are allowed to participate on their comment boards and Lynne, in particular, does it a lot. She usually does it in their Et Cetera blog thing.