A Little Letter to Donald and Diane

10/10/2016 07:00 pm ET Updated Oct 10, 2016

Dear Donald and Diane,

The more I learn about both of you, the more I wonder if you suffer from the same serious but unnamed malady. The symptoms include, but are not limited to, wildly thin skin, a mean streak targeted at ordinary folks you’ve never met, and an inexplicable need to continue repeating statements that have been shown over and over to be factually untrue.

Despite your wealth, privilege, and the gift of a high profile platform, you both have shown yourselves, repeatedly, to be big babies whose noses get out of joint as soon as we, “the little people” have the courage to call you out. And fight back.

And in contrast to the two of you, the ordinary folk who send you furthest off the rails are those who actually craft their arguments with evidence and without name-calling. Imagine that!

Now you, Diane, have repeatedly criticized Campbell Brown for being too pretty to weigh in on education and you’ve even made a strange habit out of mocking and disparaging her advocacy for children who’ve been sexually abused at school.

But Brown is famous. And like Megyn Kelly of Fox News who found herself swept up in one of your many Trump tantrums, Donald, both women are confident professionals, unrattled by the boorish insults that often come their way. And neither would misuse their platforms to attack regular Americans for challenging them or pushing back on what they have to say.

Because they aren’t thin skinned and mean.

But you, Diane, are. And when a parent who is actually living the school choice debate in Massachusetts has the audacity to comment on your blog and challenge the substance of your assertions, you seem quite literally incapable of letting it go. His credibility as a father whose very own children attend both charter and traditional district schools is too much for you to take and you quickly metamorphosize before our eyes into the schoolyard bully, impugning his motives and rejecting what he has to say.

We saw you first try to silence him by wishing ill upon his children in the comment section of your blog. I’ve got to say, that seemed beyond the pale, even for you.

Upon seeing your cruel comment about his children, he responds with his own blog post and rightly observes and details who you seem to be when you let the mask slip. And so, in turn, you devote a whole blog to him, written as a ‘Dear reader’ letter. And it’s vicious. Because, you, like Donald, have made a life out of putting self promotion over basic decency. By squashing a Massachusetts Dad in a blog riddled with distortions, falsehoods and your usual dash of hypocrisy, you satiate your almost pathological need to vilify even your purest detractors. Parents.

I’ve pasted a short excerpt of your letter to give The Donald a sense of what I’m describing and to serve as a reminder for you; I’d imagine it’s hard to keep track with all the mean things you write about people.

This is a letter to a reader who frequently sends comments defending the privatization of public schools in Massachusetts. On some days, he sends 3-5 comments, filled with references to studies that support charters, insisting that charters will not take money away from public schools, even though as a practical matter, charter schools everywhere have led to budget cuts for public schools that enroll the vast majority of children. His comments are repetitive and he has taken up a lot of space on a blog that opposes privatization and opposes school choice because of the damage it does to a universal, democratically controlled system of public education. Unless you believe that scores on standardized tests are the purpose of public education and the best measure of educational quality, these “studies” are meaningless and lacking in any understanding of democracy, civic responsibility, and the common good.
For these reasons, this letter is directed to this reader.
I will not post any more of your comments about Question 2 in Massachusetts and the glories of charter schools until you answer my questions.
Why do you have so much time on your hands to defend privatization?
What is your day job?
Is anyone paying you for your constant rebuttals?
What are your credentials and your expertise?

LOL. And I mean I literally LOL’d. But you’re actually serious in your indignation over his persistence in substantively arguing the case for Question 2 in his home state of Massachusetts where his own children are being educated in both charter and district schools. And he has gotten so under your thin skin that your only recourse is to cast doubt upon his credibility and hold him to a different standard than others who comment on your site. And so, in totally childish fashion, you pull his ‘commenting credentials’ for your site until he provides personal information about his employment and how he spends his time. And while it may be unbelievable to you that he is battling with you as an unpaid parent advocate, that’s exactly what and who he is.

And imagine my #WTF face when nary a moment after badgering this father, you clap back at folks for being so presumptuous as to assume that you (and your BFF, sweet Mercedes) get paid for your advocacy.

Do you even hear yourself? No really. Do you?

And Donald, you basically did the same with the Khan parents except yours was on a bigger stage and even more, dare I say, deplorable. They challenged your whacked-out campaign promise of a Muslim Ban and used the Constitution of the United States to do it. Remember, when Mr. Khan offered to lend you his copy? I loved that part. Anyway, you, like Diane, just couldn’t seem to let it go. Your need to retaliate was more important than the Khan’s status as Gold Star parents still grieving the loss of their son in the line of duty. For his country.

You couldn’t resist making it all about you.

Diane has the same problem. And it’s getting worse.

Father Knows Best

It didn’t take long for that evil dad from the Baystate to respond to your letter. In a blog post entitled, “He Who Must Not Be Named Responds to Diane Ravitch,” he comes right at you like a rebutting freight train; his words are like the literary version of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. And you lost. Bad. His response is free of ad hominem but loaded with research, analysis, and that pesky little thing you take a fly-swatter to at every turn: the truth. The problem is that no matter how many times you repackage the same tired set of talking points and put them on repeat, that darn truth emerges again.

Here’s just a small taste of his response to you (but it is well worth a full read and I recommend having some popcorn on hand!):

On the overwhelming body of academic research showing superior student outcomes in Massachusetts charter public schools, Diane says…
“… these ‘studies’ are meaningless and lacking in any understanding of democracy, civic responsibility, and the common good.”
Um, statistical analyses do not need to understand democracy, civic responsibility, or what I am sure is Diane’s highly subjective sense of the common good. They just need to be accurate. One really shouldn’t have to respond to gibberish like this. Suffice to say Diane’s mind would appear to have closed a long time ago, and the collective insight from more than a dozen studies conducted in the nation’s leading universities is not going to pry it open.

And Diane, he really does have a point since you ended that very sophomoric letter to him this way:

And so, dear reader, we reject your repetitive defense of school choice.

Looks like you’ve been rejected too. And once you’ve read his whole response, it might sting a little. Or a lot.

And Donald, it kinda looks like your big rejection is coming in about 29 days. And that’s gonna sting too.

In the meantime, you both should really set up a play-date. Because that’s what big babies do.

Gratefully (not) yours,

Erika

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