I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

08 January 2013

Civility, Common Ground, Bipartisanship

I have mixed it up with any number of politicos, high-level District suits, non-profits, administrators, and elected officials in my time.  If necessary, I will destroy all of their arguments using facts and data.  I will insist that they explain their suppositions.  I will call them out for privilege.

And when doing this, whether face to face or by written communication, I strive to be professional.  I would say I succeed most of the time.  (I am giving myself credit for responding to the pragmatics of a situation here; what is acceptable in an open comment on Annual Pink Slip Vote Night is different than what is acceptable in an email requesting assistance.  That said, I'm not the kind of person who hisses or even rolls her eyes most of the time.)

(We all fall short of our higher selves now and again.)

(And obviously, my blog is my sandbox: politeness WHATEVER here.)

This is not just me saying so: I ask people for feedback on the issue.  I am smart.  I have a really good memory and I collect facts like a magpie.  I also have ADHD; I think fast, struggle to uphold discourse norms, sometimes lose focus, etc.: feedback is important.

All that said, I think it is often the case that calls for civility are really meant to silence.  Civil behavior is defined by those in power; those in power can be expected to uphold the status quo (or worse), and requiring that one's opponents be civil is an easy way to shut them up.

Somewhat related, I don't think finding common ground is as lofty a goal as some do. Education reformers are actively engaging in activities that make my life harder.  They are working very hard to pick my pocket and my pension.  They are demanding curricula, class sizes, technology and testing that narrow what I can teach my students.  They are silencing important conversations about the commons are, and about race and class in education.  They are attempting to hurt the kids I teach.

It is hard for me to assume best intentions about these people because the data are never in their favor.  Ignoring years of evidence in favor of progress strikes me as an intentional blindness.  I went to fancy college: I'm far too nerdy to accept that one can disregard all known evidence and still be a good bean.

Given all this, I wasn't that interested in watching tonight's Michelle Rheeathon.  She can't be bothered to treat anyone with professionalism, let alone civility.  She uses demands for civility to silence those who argue with her (also name calling and duct tape).  And the things she wants for schools are the antithesis of data-driven and horrible for children.  There's nothing to be said on her that is worth all that bile, blood pressure problem, and time wasted.

No comments: