A Blog Netiquette Question

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I seem to run a foul of secret blogger rules of conduct with regularity. An experience six weeks ago has stayed with me and I’d love to read your thoughts on the matter.

On May 6, I wrote, Isn’t It Ironic?, in this blog. I asked why edubloggers, particularly edtech edubloggers, don’t discuss fundamental educational issues, like the fraud and miseducative practice associated with the US Federal Government’s national reading policy.

Many of the most popular, hired and prolific members of the EduBlogosphere (particularly the edtech bloggers) spend a great deal of time, word count and airplane mileage talking about the importance of literacy – old literacy, new literacy, media literacy, superdooper 21st Century Web 2.0 literacy and “literacies” yet to be invented.

Literacy dominates my esteemed colleague’s thoughts about education. Therefore, I find it shocking that there is so little [read: none] discussion of the news that the federal Department of Education has concluded that Reading First, the $6 billion shock and awe approach to literacy education at the core of No Child Left Behind, has FAILED to improve the reading comprehension of American students.

Why the silence among EduBloggers? Is this issue unimportant? Should we ignore the calamity created by Reading First just because it doesn’t mention Twitter, Apture, Ning or other made-up words?

I was criticizing the absence of outrage among the edubloggers I read and wound up incurring the wrath of the blogosphere instead. Non-Americans were defensive in their comments when I was clearly not talking about them. Independent school teachers and educators from affluent school districts protested that they are not affected by Reading First – unless of course you count them as citizens who pay taxes or care for their neighbors.

In the spirit of civility, I did not name the specific bloggers and pundits
who were curiously silent on important matters of policy and pedagogy.

I’m wondering if that was a mistake?

My attempt at discretion apparently led to widespread confusion. For that I apologize.

Should I have called out the specific educators with a gap between rhetoric and action?

Comments

8 Responses to “A Blog Netiquette Question”
  1. Brian C. says:

    No, I don’t think you need to name names. I think we all need to take a look at what the “edublogosphere” truly is… a vast community of practice. Understanding what it means to be in a CoP requires that participants look in the mirror and take gut checks from time to time. I’m not speaking about you, specifically, but everyone within this edtech, edutech, edubloggerworld, edublogosphere or whatever folks want to call it.

    It was your post that alerted me to the Reading First failure. My proverbial “look in the mirror” came when I realized that I don’t track such things.

  2. Jon Becker says:

    It seems to me that you served an important purpose by bringing attention to the issue to many who’d have otherwise not known about it. As I read the original post, it was more a general critique of an amorphous group of folks than a shot at a few individuals. So, while I think there are times to name names, I don’t think this was one.

  3. Tom Hoffman says:

    First off, you’ll get that comment from Stephen 10 out of 10 times you make a blanket statement about “edu-bloggers.” It just triggers a macro in his brain. You just have to start constructing your generalizations to exclude him. Thanks to Stephen’s feedback, I usually use some sort of variation on “US K-12 ed-tech blogosphere” if that’s what I’m talking about, which, while awkward, is more accurate.

    Secondly, I think you give too much weight to a few moderately negative comments.

    The real question here, I think, is, “Is there anything to be done about David Warlick?”

    I don’t really think so.

  4. Miguel says:

    Gary, I think you’re engaging in hyperbole. You keep expecting bloggers to write about you think is relevant, interesting, etc. In reality, the main blogger rule is that YOU write about what YOU want to discuss…if someone wants to join you, they do. If not, they huddle on their lilypads and unsubscribe and make cryptic critical comments. In another way, you’re also playing dumb…you keep expecting interactive conversations, when in truth, many of us are like toddlers playing side by side. Nothing wrong with that.

    There is a new story being told, but there should be no surprise that the telling of it, the sharing of it is as old as storytelling. If David Warlick, Dan Pink, Thomas Friedman have woven a fanciful tale–in your estimation–and people like it, then that’s up to them, right? I mean, lots of folks still go to the Barnum and Bailey Circus (or did they get bought out).

    Reading First is/was a disaster…teachers have known that for years but the Government denied it vociferously. Reading First is also a scandal…and I think I have written about it a few times.

    One district in Texas I’m familiar with implemented a computer reading program at a cost of $80,000 per school, districtwide. Several years later, the Reading Director says, “This was a fiasco. It’s never worked.”

    You can certainly write about these fiascos, but if a teacher-blogger were to do so, they might get fired or censored.

    Finally, I think you mistake that glassy eyed look educators have, that look that is shell-shock to the trained eye, apathy to the untrained (that’s you).

    Your post reads like a person who wants to start a mob. Why don’t you call your esteemed colleague out and challenge the assertions via your blog with research, point by point?

    But then, why bother? We like the storyteller, not because he tells us the factual truth, but because he tells truths that transcend the facts.

    If you don’t get it, that’s alright. You’re not damaged or anything. There’s room enough for us all. I bet your real complaint is that you’re being ignored…yes, by all means, be more transparent and name what ideas you find objectionable and cite who is spouting them.

    Whew, that’s a lot of jumping around.

  5. Gary says:

    Thanks Tom!!!

    You made me laugh hard!!

  6. Gary says:

    Miguel,

    Perhaps I’m still not being clear.

    I believe that if you charge thousands to speak about all sorts of invented literacies, you should understand literacy and have a dog in the fight.

    I’m not worried about being ignored. My audience via multiple outlets is substantial.

    I do however keep hoping that the blogosphere realizes its promise of debate and dialogue, not just playing side-by-side.

    Gary

    PS: Teachers can’t be fired for exercising their rights as citizens on behalf of what is right for children. They should be fired for not doing so.

  7. Louise Maine says:

    Gary,

    Unfortunately, those of us who are outspoken about issues may not get fired, but we definitely pay the price.

  8. Dennis Richards says:

    Names not necessary. I love the edge to your comments. Sometimes you could be more civil…..but that’s style. The substance of your point is important. Silence is not acceptable on issues like this.

    Watched a PBS bio of Walter Chronkite . Remember the 60’s and 70’s? People held strong opinions about public policy. NCLB and reading ~ writing?

    I joined ASCD’s educator advocates http://tinyurl.com/39rbke and in the fall I attend ASCD’s LEAP Institute http://tinyurl.com/5pxca8 to lobby US Senators and Representatives in Washington for educationally sensible changes in legislation that you can read about using the links above.

    I also am actively supporting ASCD’s Whole Child education initiative http://tinyurl.com/5htqlq by organizing in Massachusetts a statewide coalition of professional organizations to pass Whole Child resolutions throughout the state http://tinyurl.com/3zdl5k.

    Finally, I have spent the last 10 years in two school districts implementing core literacy programs that are selected by teachers and that implement the best practices of the profession for teaching reading and writing. Last month in my current district K-6 teachers selected Pearson Scott Foresman Reading Street http://tinyurl.com/63h4q4.

    As Educator Advocates we must Organize ~ Speak Out ~ Take Action!

    Thanks for the prompt.

    Regards,

    Dennis