Deb Meier v. The Powerful, Dark Phantom that Pioneer is

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on

I can see it now: The heavy-footed, giant, unforgiving Dark Phantom of Pioneer up against meek, never-attacking Deb Meier, who is only armed with a sling-shot to take on her powerful adversary.

On the blog she shares with Diane Ravitch, Bridging Differences, Deborah laments again the oh-so-powerful Pioneer. She continues to show hurt:

You suggest I needn’t worry about annoying those “with more power”. But I felt badly recently when (as I mentioned) somebody took after Mission Hill school as a way to attack me on another issue altogether. So they can “touch me”—but not stop me! Alas, my travels remind me that others have less wiggle room—even for saying what’s on their minds.

Deb, you wrote in a letter what your ideas were. You also misrepresented Pioneer. (I did not say “attacked” Pioneer, as you save your harshest words for Joel Klein.) We responded that your ideas were wrong and that, golly-gee-whitakers, ideas have consequences. The consequences are that the school that you founded had not fulfilled the promise it could or should have. This is about your ideas, not Pioneer dragging down a school.

What power did we use? The pen. Our brains. Just as you do, Deborah. That’s all we have. Now that you are no longer a school official, that’s all you have.

If you would like to argue that standardized tests are not an end in themselves, of course, I would agree. Who wouldn’t. That said, they are one of the few objective measures out there, and they do say something–something significant about the progress being made in a school. And that is because the MCAS ultimately measures whether a kid is able even to access a liberal education: Can s/he read or write? Does s/he have basic concepts down? And I think we can both agree that when a kid passes the MCAS, we should not be satisfied. That is a floor for achievement, not an end goal.

I am sure you agreed when Diane recently raised the issue that Mayor Bloomberg and Joel Klein are overstating their progress–a point she could only make because there was a standardized, objective test that allowed her to do so. In our letter to the Globe responding to your portrayal of Pioneer, we did the same thing regarding a school that you had a hand in starting. To me, all fair game.

Now for the slingshot. I would note that now you have written “some guy at Pioneer Institute” and “someone” in referring to criticism of your letter. Denial of the other and making them into some dark phantom is how politics is played, not how an exchange of ideas occurs.

Inset of the thumb pressed up against the cross-guard and pommel resting comfortably at the base of his palm, M. Stergios smiles and in perfect American whispers: Uh, touche’.