John Thompson wishes @JusTheFaks — some anonymous person with 267 Twitter followers — would choose facts over rhetoric. (MorgueFile.com)
When I first came across The Whistle (@JusTheFaks) in the #oklaed Twittersphere, I was intrigued by his or her knowledge of school reform. So I became one of the anonymous tweeter’s 200 or so followers.
Ominous musings from July
Back in July, about the only thing I knew about incoming OKCPS Superintendent Aurora Lora was that she seemed to have played a constructive role in brokering a compromise over KIPP charter school expansion.
Thanks to The Whistle, I learned that Lora attended the Broad Superintendents Academy. That could be disconcerting because the Broad Foundation is perhaps the most cavalier conveyor of fact-free corporate-reform spin, and the last Broad graduate to become an OKCPS superintendent was an unmitigated disaster. But I have no taste for guilt by association.
At that time, a battle was raging over charter conversions, and it could have become a mortal threat to the system, but I saw no evidence that Lora was engaged in anything but a wise effort to steer the district through the storm.
I understand why The Whistle seeks to connect the dots and link local policies to national reform organizations funded by the Billionaires Boys Club. It is true that Aurora Lora came from Dallas, where a Broad Academy superintendent sowed discord and failed to improve schools. If Lora or anyone else were to mandate the type of doomed tactics that have damaged Dallas (or Houston or Atlanta, which The Whistle correctly cites as urban schools that have been hurt by test-sort-reward-and-punish policies), I would argue against them.
The Whistle implies there is an effort to bring the Broad policies imposed on Dallas and Houston and/or the corrupt Atlanta testing regime to Oklahoma City. If such evidence exists, it should be reported and debated.