New Jersey teacher Marie Corfield, who dared to stand up for teachers and parents, had over $100,000 “dropped on her head” this past fall when she ran for the state Assembly. The dropper was none other than B4K, a super-PAC powered by hedge fund money and run by a professional schmoozer of the rich, Derrell Bradford.
Considering the money B4K spent to buy the defeat of Corfield, I think it’s worth going back and giving a listen to what these guys are all about. To paraphrase Bradford: “The problem with our country today is that we spend too much time listening to the opinions of people who know what they are talking about!”
“1.0 is an era that is like a hundred years long. Where only the sort of like – you know, Rick mentioned earlier – only the sort of experts, only the accredited, all those people, those are the only people who are sort of allowed to talk about schools, right?“
Does Derrell Bradford really think it’s so great that people who have no expertise in education now get to dominate the debate?
Derrell himself is spectacularly ill-qualified to voice an opinion about anything having to do with schools. He has never taught, never been a principal, holds no degrees in education, has done no serious work in education policy, has never written a peer-reviewed paper on education, and holds no degrees in psychology, human development, sociology, pediatrics, or public policy.
Bradford has admitted that he only came into education “reform” because he needed a job (it’s obvious who is referred to in the linked post ). His previous experience before entering the reformy world was writing for a nightlife magazine.
Yet this man served, at the request of Gov. Chris Christie, on the NJ Educator Effectiveness Task Force – a panel with only one working teacher. This group put out a report that proposed using “growth” – which the NJDOE has implemented as “Student Growth Percentiles” – to determine teacher effectiveness. Had Derrell had any experience or training in the field, he would have known that the “inventor” of SGPs, Damien Betebenner – who is cited in the report - has said explicitly that SGPs do not attempt to find teacher effect (or any other cause) for variations in student test scores. In other words, they are the wrong instruments to use when attempting to infer a teacher’s “value.”
I can’t think of a better example of someone who has no idea what they are doing promoting a policy that is detrimental to the children and teachers of New Jersey out of sheer ignorance. Of course, Bradford also stays up at night waiting for the Merit Pay Fairy; he’s never met a reformy policy he didn’t love, no matter the evidence against it.
Bradford was also a secret reviewer of charter school applications early in the Christie administration. Again, he was completely unqualified for this task; I can only hope someone competent checked over his work before anyone acted on it.
So Derrell doesn’t have experience or education or training or research or the facts or logic on his side. But that’s OK: in this world, there’s really only one thing that counts:
“When you start showing up and saying, “Listen, we’re gonna drop $100,000 on your head if you don’t get behind this thing,” it’s a very different conversation about reform at the legislative level.“
Why worry about being competent when you’re loaded?
Journey of the Heart: Armed with her camera, curiosity, and compassion, photojournalist Amie Vanderford joined a medical mission to document the work of a Memphis philanthropy. Read more online at Memphis Magazine.
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This is Smart City Consulting's blog and its purpose is to connect the dots and provide perspective on events, issues, and policies shaping Memphis and its future. Smart City Memphis was named one of the most intriguing blogs in the U.S. by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, it was voted the best Memphis blog in About.com's Reader's Choice Awards, and The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal wrote: "Smart City Memphis provides some of the most well-thought-out thinking about Memphis' past, present, and future you'll find anywhere." If you have questions, submissions, or ideas for posts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.