SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Campbell Brown Exposed by Stephen Colbert

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Campbell Brown Exposed by Stephen Colbert

Earlier in the week when I heard that Campbell Brown was to appear on The Colbert Report I kind of cringed.

I am not a fan of Stephen Colbert's schtick on the show (Though there are some bits I have enjoyed), though I do like him, and more of a fan of The Daily Show. But two things had be concerned.

One was how would Colbert's schtick work with a topic like tenure and education in general, and would real questions be asked. I liked what I watched. A few moments really stood out for me.

When asked by Colbert about  Campbell why she has her guns out for unions and why Partnership for Education Justice has filed it's lawsuit, Brown said; "First let me correct something you said, we are not filing the lawsuit, it is 7 parents in New York State that have kids in public schools are filing the law suit. We are helping them and supporting them. We are finding them law firms." 

That PEJ and herself are not giving any monies but rather, assisting.

Of course there is no money changing hands. But a query Are the parents being paid or reimbursed any expenses incurred while in the midst of this lawsuit? Are food and hotels and travel being reimbursed by the law firm, Campbell Brown, or PEJ? These questions are important. Did these parents seek out PEJ on their own, or were they sought out. If they were sought out how many have volunteered and/or have been employed by Students First? We do know that the lead plaintiff, Keoni Wright was employed by SF at one time.

Campbell even shares that the law firm, Kirkland Ellis, is representing the parents pro bono, but how did these parents know to seek out this particular law firm?

But as I am watching this I am wondering to myself why is Campbell the one being interviewed? Why not the parents from Rochester who "handled" themselves so well with Glen Beck? In fact how did two families from Rochester know to seek out the above NYC law firm?

The best was when Colbert shared that protestors were outside the studios, something which he said has been quite rare. Campbell must have been upset that the spotlight was being taken away from her. The protestors are, according to Campbell; ..."trying to silence a debate. A debate we should be having. I want these parents to have a voice in this debate too."

We are trying to silence debate? How many people has Campbell blocked (#blockedbycampbellbrown )on Twitter? Blocked from multiple Facebook pages? 

But if the parents should have a role in this debate, and no one is denying that, then why then is Campbell the face and voice of the parents? Why not let the parents speak freely? 

"What they are trying to do is to change a public education system in this country that people across the political spectrum believes his in crisis." 

No, it never was in crisis, the crisis was related. See The Shock Doctrine. Campbell and her lackies do not represent my views nor anyone else that I know. Want to see a crisis? We have it in underfunded schools districts, corrupt school districts, and pure incompetency in Albany.

So when asked what is the problem in New York, Campbell replies to Colbert; "If you look at the student outcomes in New York, 91% of the teachers around the State of New York are rated either effective or highly effective. Yet 31% of our kids are reading, writing and doing, math at grade level."

There is a difference between being proficient and being at grade level. How dare she judge by test scores, how dare she base her lawsuit on flawed exams. Exams with a cut score picked at random. 

She is insulting me as a parent and my son as a student. As I have said on these pages in the past he got high 2's in 2013 after years of getting 3's and 4. He, and many others in his grade, were not able to finish 2 days the ELA exam in 2013. My son and plenty like him are at or above grade level. He is entering 8th grade at above grade level in both ELA and Math. Campbell needs to get her facts straight very quickly. 

"I'm blaming the teachers union. Because they are fighting attempts to change laws that are anachronistic."

There we have it. This fight is about unions and to destroy unions, to destroy teaching as a career, and to be rid of pensions.

But Colbert comes back and asks her if all should be equal, shouldn't each child have the same amount of money spent on them? She blabbers; "You're suggesting it's all about the money," when Colbert says, "You're saying it's all about it's equality and money is one of the equations in equality."

SNAP! PW3NED! But she turns it into this, "We should pay teachers more and treat teachers like professionals" Yeah, right.She did not want to talk about money. Why should she. Her boys, Clifford and Harvey go to a school in which their milk is served to them in chilled milk glasses and lunch time is accompanied by a pianist.

When asked about who gets to evaluate teachers she says principals, and parents, especially if they are complaining there must be something to that.

But parents and others are complaining about what Campbell is doing right now and she is not listening. Mustn't there be something to this? 

Lastly when Colbert asks where the money comes from Campbell says that to share that would keep that secret because of the people protesting are "going to go after people who are trying to fund."

The Walton Family, Students First, The Gates Foundation, et. al. are afraid of a bunch of teachers? I can understand if a little old Jewish lady who lives on Sadore Lane in Yonkers and gave $18 a month would be afraid, but the elite of American largess being afraid? Surely Campbell jests. 

Or is possible this blogger found out where the money comes from

This thing happening in New York is a last gasp effort for the deformers to get their way. A first year, pre-law, high school student should be able to expose and poke holes in both the Mona Davids' case and Campbell's as well.

I see now why Campbell is leading this and not Michelle Rhee. Campbell comes off as much more likeable than Rhee and does not have all the skeletons that Rhee had in her closet. We must not relent with Campbell Brown. We must stand firm, must stand strong. Campbell is much more media savvy and much more cunning. But she can, and must, be defeated.


Anonymous said...

We all know what Bill Gates has at stake here. Since he was trounced by Apple in the first phase of computer assisted instruction in the 1990s, he has hitched his wagon to the star of standardized testing. Bill has much more in mind than just the tests that children, parents and teachers have all learned to hate. Bill has already demonstrated programs that can grade essays, content free he claims. How you can grade an essay without regard to content is beyond understanding.

In Phase II many children will be fast tracked into their new models of vocational education after Bill, Joel Klein and Rupert Murdoch get their hands on samples of he kids writing and test scores. By grade 5 or 6, children will be tracked toward
21st Century careers and parents will have no choice. The age of education will be over and replaced by the age of training.

Phase III will involve using the Murdoch database to weed out those with deviant thoughts as defined by Rupert and found in their fourth grade essays. Who knows what the mind retraining will look like, and whether or not families will also be subject to reeducation.

This will then be George Orwell's totalitarian state, where every aspect of the individual is monitored and we are reminded that we are being watched. Every hour of every day you will see Campbell Brown (AKA Alma)on your telescreen, which has no off button. Campbell Brown will be spouting doublethink and espousing the virtues of Great Leader Dan Senor.

There is no such thing as a teacher in Bill Gates new totalitarian state, just education technicians, so if you don't want to fight right now you might as well report for reeducation right now. The Party is already watching.

Gus W said...

Posted on Colbert FB:

CAMPBELL'S ASTROTURF: first, to have such defiant secrecy for someone who founded an operation with "transparency" in the name is sheer Orwellian, Nixonian, Rovian absurdity. It matters, because if it's folks like the Kochs, Waltons, or usual union-busting forces, then this endeavor is exposed as not being parent-driven, not being about tenure AND NOT ABOUT STUDENTS.

Until she reveals her $ources, the public has every reason to assume they are the usual anti-union billionaires, now using our kids as human shields. The secret-donor question looms large not just here but also in elections (see

Second, she has no expertise on teacher quality, and shows it - she complains that NY teachers' effectiveness ratings are high while students are so far behind grade level. This makes perfect sense - the teachers are not the cause, it's more to do with home-based obstacles to learning like poverty, toxic stress, etc.

But even if we did believe teachers were the problem, this only points out that the way we are measuring teacher effectiveness has failed. She is indicting the whole NCLB/RTTT/CCSS scheme as a fraud and waste of tax dollars.

Finally, the entire basis for the argument that tenure is granted too easily is barking up the wrong tree. Unions do not grant tenure, the board of ed does. It's the ADMINISTRATION that has granted tenure to every "bad teacher" there is. The superintendents and districts were supposed to vet these horrible teachers, but did not.

In cities with huge, bloated education bureaucracies like NYDOE or CPS, we're talking about thousands of applicants per year whose tenure decisions are made on a whim in seconds.

Everyone knows the NYCDOE was too fast to grant tenure to teachers for decades, they were not even cracking open the case files. Now, it's the other extreme, they are too quick to deny (or postpone) tenure because they want to look tougher, so we've worsened the problem, now driving away good teachers too.

Brown has already shown the tactic of astroturf, media manipulation, caught trying to blame teachers for a handful of sexual predators. Now she's blaming us for the effects of poverty, for waste and fraud in the DOE, for a failed testing system and more.

Brown is a huge hypocrite and coward, but maybe just gullible. Who knows if they have even told her who the funders are?

Anonymous said...

in her resignation from CNN, prompted of course by poor ratings, Campbell Brown told colleagues, "never had much tolerance for others' spin" so I "can't imagine trying to stomach my own". Apparently she has developed a much stronger stomach.

Unknown said...

Thank you from a public school teacher - Campbell Brown & Co. have the mighty $ on their side. All teachers, parents and students have is the truth.

Bertis Downs said...

great post-- here's another from a PA teacher:

Pete Zucker said...

Thanks for the link. I read that, it was great!

Sue Cavanaugh said...

Okay. This is one of the best writings I've seen on this issue. Stephen Colbert is also very cunning. People don't realize how ridiculously smart he is because of the schtick he does. If you could have seen him speak at the annual White House Press Dinner! He ripped George Bush and the Iraq war to shreds. It was actually painful and hard to watch because it was like he was pointedly attacking politicians, but all within his comedy routine. It honestly was the most brutal attack I've ever seen on a sitting president. He has a razor sharp intellect and he is anti-ed reform all the way! I hope he does a follow-up on this. Thank you for this amazing blog whoever you are.

Sue Cavanaugh said...

My feelings about the interview with Campbell Brown - I didn't think he was tough enough. However, it might be his strategy to go a little easy on her and then just let her have it. She will not know what hit her.

Anonymous said...

can anyone say cockroach ?