Sunday, April 22, 2018

My Next Career

So, I'm retiring shortly-- June 3 will be my last day working for my school district-- and like many retirees, I'm wondering about my next career.

For the immediate future, my primary job will be Stay At Home Dad; the pay is terrible but the benefits are immense. And I'll continue writing here, where the pay is also terrible.

It's odd how this works. If I had only taught for two or three years, I would be qualified to run an entire charter school, or even serve as the education chief for an entire state. But as I understand it, having worked an entire teaching career instead of just a couple of years disqualifies me for that kind of work.

Meeting with my new Board of Directors
I could set myself up as a consulting firm. That seems to be a pretty sweet deal. Take Antwan Wilson. Wilson spent just a couple of years in a classroom, but upped his skills by attending the Broad Fake Superintendent School and then worked several school administration jobs, then got himself hired for the Big Show in DC Public Schools-- and then got himself booted for skirting the rules of the system. But that's okay, because Denver schools, where he previously worked, hired him to be a consultant with a contract that pays $60,000 for 24 days of work (two days a week for twelve weeks)-- plus per diem and daily lodging expenses. The fee is based on a $150/hour rate. And for those of us considering the consulting biz, here's the kicker-- the Denver COO justified the huge no-bid contract by noting that other consulting companies would have been way more expensive. From which we can deduce that $150/hour is the low end of the money that a well-connected consultant could make (meanwhile, substitute teachers in my district make $100/day). That would certainly help put my board of directors through college.

I like traveling and speaking; maybe I can con people into hiring me to travel to where they are and to talk at them. It could be fun to work at a thinky tank and crank out position papers in my robe at home while my board of directors plays on the floor, but most of the thinky tank money is going to tanks that support ed reform. Hardly anybody is operating a pro-public education thinky tank. Whether you're left-tilted (Center for American Progress, the Century Foundation) or right-tilted (Fordham, American Enterprise Institute), you have to be a fan of charters and choice and privatization and busting Those Damned Teachers Unions. NEPC hires actual scholars, and NPE, while they support the values I care about, does not have the kind of money involved in hiring a bunch of tanky thinkers.

Politics? I suppose, but it's a tough path-- look at how few retired teachers are in office anywhere. And of course there's always Wal-Mart greeter.

Like many teachers, I have managed large groups of not-easily-managed individuals, handled logistics and budgeting for every kind of enterprise from elaborate dances to theatrical productions to sales of merchandise that nobody really wants to buy. I have developed a unique constellation of skills (though I don't have the micro-credential badges to show for them). And all of this qualifies me to do.... what?

It has always been a mystery to me-- in the private sector, employers poach people all the time, including people who don't even work in their particular industry. Government hires private sector people constantly. Where is the teacher poaching? We think lots of folks can enter the classroom after a career in other areas-- why doesn't the door swing both ways?

Why do newly-elected governors never say, "I need a new education chief-- get me a list of the top ten teachers in the state!" Why don't government education agencies issue lists of positions that Must Be Filed by trained and experienced teachers? Why do corporations never say, "We need someone who can herd cats and stretch tiny resources to accomplish great things-- get me a teacher." I mean, it's not like a local school district is hard to outbid-- government or the private sector could easily less money than is typical for such jobs, and still be offering a teacher more money than she's ever made in her life.

But not even teaching businesses go looking for teachers. Colleges and universities can rarely be found stalking local high schools, looking for their next hires. And I'll confess-- at one point I thought charters might be good for teachers because a sensible charter business model would be, "Go out and find the most well-known, best-beloved, most successful teachers in the local public schools and offer them top dollar to come work at our charter school." But that never happened; instead, charters have largely built their business model on being cheap bastards when it comes to staffing.

Teachers are widely respected, trained to be trustworthy, experienced at multi-tasking, well-and-continuously-educated. We can learn new things quickly. Most of us have developed a whole set of "extra" skills, on top of skills like the ability to grab and hold a not-entirely-interested audience. Need someone who can sell something? I sold Julius Caesar to fifteen-year-olds. And nobody-- nobody-- knows more about navigating bureaucracies and foolish red tape than teachers do. But still, about the only folks who regularly look to hire teachers are vendors who want someone to sell their stuff to teachers.

Why doesn't every government and business office include at least one person who says, "Yes, I had a good career as a teacher going, but the opportunity and money that they offered me here were just too good to pass up." People certainly leave the teaching profession (in fairly large numbers these days), but their Next Career is a matter of their own necessity, not of corporate or government raids on teaching staffs.

Could it be that career teachers are really committed to their profession? Could it be that teachers are seen as too ethical to really fit in some corporate or government settings? Could it be that our cultural disinterest in children extends to people who work with children? Could it be that most teachers are women? Could it be that in the government and corporate world we just don't trust people who come out of the collegiate box not focused on grabbing money and power?

It's a benefit to schools that they don't have to worry about poaching-- a relatively stable teaching staff makes a school stronger and more effective. And most teachers are not even looking for their next career-- at least not until they've hit retirement. It's a win for education that folks don't try to poach teachers, but I can't help feeling that it's a lose for everyone else.


ICYMI: Plain Old Edition Edition (4/22)

Plenty to take in this week. Remember to pass along the pieces that you think are important. Spread the word, amplify voices, and get out the words.

Activists and Parents Demand Smaller Class Sizes

A new lawsuit in NY could force authorities to finally implement one reform that we know actually works- reduced class sizes.

Let Me Explain What Happened

Michigan's Senator Kollenberg is shocked and surprised that there's a teacher shortage. How could such a thing happen??!! Political analyst Jack Lessenberry spells it out for him.

Teacher Strikes Shake Up Red States

Rachel Cohen takes a look at how the teacher strikes could means some political shifting in states. Thanks, Trump!

I Lied To My Students Today

With that title, you know it's going to be about the Big Standardized Test.

Why Textbooks Are a Symbol of Teacher Frustration

A look at one of the most potent symbols in the Oklahoma teacher strike

Minnesota Attempts To Thwart Standardized Testing Opt Outs

How far will some states go to stop the opt-out movement. As Sarah Lahm shows, way too far.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

In which Audrey Watters goes to ASU+GSV and hears a lot of ill-informed baloney repeated.

82 Reasons

Nancy Bailey's growing list of things that schools and parents could actually do to improve reading in this country.

The Movie Most Likely To Succeed Is a Paid Infomercial for Project Based Learning

Well, that pretty much says it, but this post at Seattle Education gets into the details.

They've Got Trouble Up There in North Dakota

Speaking of Dintersmith and Competency Based Personalized Learning Education-- remember how reformsters picked Maine as a relatively low-powered state to turn into a reform laboratory. Looks like North Dakota is in line for similar treatment. This piece comes with some spectacularly researched diagrams for showing the links between the players in this new money grab growth opportunity.

Bias in the Education World

Nancy Flanagan looks at bias in the education world and the many forms it takes.

Recipes for Teachers: A Cookbook for the Exhausted Educator

Finally, this gem from Othmar's Trombone. Includes the ever-popular Fridge-Aged Salad.


Friday, April 20, 2018

DeVos Becomes an Actual Punchline

From the moment she became late night sketch fodder, Betsy DeVos has become something new in the world of education secretaries.

I doubt that the average citizen could name five education secretaries-- maybe not even three. But they know who Betsy DeVos is. She's been Kate McKinnoned multiple times on Saturday Night Live.  She's been a punchline repeatedly on late night tv She's used as an ancillary punchline-- in other words, not as the main part of a joke meant to skewer her, but as a useful barb to skewer someone else.

And the DeVos jokes just keep spreading. If you like to waste time sample the culture on YouTube, you may be familiar with the "Everything Wrong With..." series of videos that snarkily pick part various movies. Yesterday they released their clip picking apart The Shape of Water, and smack in the middle of it is a DeVos joke. If you want to see it for yourself, skip to about the 7:13 mark.

The joke is pretty simple. They run a quote from the movie in which the Evil Russians say, "We don't need to learn, we need Americans not to learn."

Then the voiceover artist simply says "Betsy DeVos."

DeVos is literally a punchline, one considered so reliable that there's not even an explanation attached. It's just one line in one video, but still....

I've written before about how I think it's a disservice to the cause to dismiss DeVFos as a dope-- she's no dope. But there's definitely something curious going on when 1) regular citizens know who the secretary of education is and 2) that secretary is widely understood to be anti-education-- even by people whose understanding of the issues is, shall we say, a bit shallow.

But this is where we are. The United States Secretary of Education is a punchline. Good luck to us all.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Ivanka, Vocational Education, and the Death of Irony

The crunch you just heard may be irony collapsing under the weight of a recent Ivanka Trump op-ed for Fox News about skill-based education.

This woman did not go to welding school
I've watched the growing enthusiasm for what we now call Career and Technical Education (CTE) with some amusement. My own district helped launch a county-wide Vocational-Technical School  almost fifty years ago, and the benefits have always been obvious. Students take core classes at their "home" school for a half day, then travel to what is now called the Venango County Technology Center to learn skills from operating heavy machinery to providing home health care. If I needed to have body or mechanical work done on my car, I could take it there and have students fix it up. Other students in the building course work every year; that house, once completed, is sold and moved to its new location. Welding, coding, protective services, and dental assisting are also in the wide range of offerings there.

I've watched the benefits of the school throughout my career. The CTE students are more focused, more goal-oriented, and best of all, have a clear understanding of the relationship between making an effort and getting a result. Studies like the one recently covered by Matt Barnum for Chalkbeat provide zero surprises for those of us for whom CTE is old hat-- the students are more likely to graduate, do better in school generally. They can strain the disciplinary boundaries some times, which is understandable-- it has to be jarring when one minute you are outdoors, operating a piece of heavy equipment and an hour later you're sitting in a desk, required to ask permission to get up and sharpen a pencil.

The benefits are so obvious that it hadn't really occurred to me that many school districts had no such facility.

But hey-- what could give CTE a bigger boost than an endorsement from Ivanka Trump.

Skill-based education is crucial to putting more Americans on a path to promising careers – and filling the jobs of the future, as well as those that are vacant today. Yet for too long, we have failed to recognize the importance of practical, skill-based learning.

On the one hand, sure. On the other hand, this headline....

Skill-based education is crucial to putting more Americans on a path to promising careers.

Because, yeah, Ivanka spent a lot of hours in school learning useful skills so that she could find a decent job. Just like her father.

This is the part where irony is just crushed to death; a woman whose profession is "Heiress" or possibly "Assistant Grifter" wants to extoll the virtues of good, honest, useful skills. She is not wrong about the value of these skills; I'm just not convinced she's the one to deliver the message.

Ms. Trump cites the large number of unfilled jobs as support for her point, and here she is also not wrong-- but like many folks who throw the stat around, she's gliding past an important part of the problem, a part that is captured in he subheading for this CNN/Money article last fall noting the record number of job openings:

American employers are trying to hire, but they can't find the right workers for the right price.

The number was 6.2 million job openings, with 1.2 million in healthcare and education. But let's look at that last prepositional phrase-- "for the right price." Right price for whom? Are we talking about the employers want to pay, or the amount that it will take to make the job attractive enough?

Once again, folks are choosing to remember how the free market works only when it suits them. The true value/price of a commodity is what it takes to get that commodity. Or as I've often said, just because you can't buy a Porsche for $1.95, that doesn't mean there's a car shortage. If you can't buy labor for $8.00 and hour, the invisible hand demands that you offer $9.00 or $12.00 or $20.00 or whatever it takes to get someone to sell you the labor that you want to buy.

In other words, "the right price" is not what you want to pay-- it's what the market dictates that you have to pay.

As when we discuss getting US works to compete with workers in China or India, I'm left with the impression that we're not really talking about job skills-- we're talking about the "skill" of being willing to work for below-market wages. This is not a "skill" that can, or should, be taught in a CTE program. My students work damned hard to master their crafts, and if employers want the benefit of those skills, they should be willing to fork over a damned good wage to those students. If you want to promote American workers with American skills, then offer to pay them instead of having your merchandise made for cheap in China; offering well-paying jobs would be far more powerful than offering weak op-ed essays.

Talking about training and skills and job preparation and career readiness is all meaningless if the actual problem is that corporate leaders really want to be able to get adequate skills for sub-adequate pay. Corporations could solve all of their workforce problems by offering jobs that paid really well. If calling for more CTE and career training is really just code for "we want our labor force to be happy being underpaid," then they (and the President's daughter) are just wasting everyone's time.

Who Will Take the D out of DFER?

DFER stands for Democrats for Education Reform, a group that has the distinction of possessing a name in which none of the words are accurate.

The Democrat part is a fun piece of trivia. One of the key founders of DFER is Whitney Tilson, a big time hedge fund manager (you can read more about him here). Leonie Haimson has a great quote from the film version of Tilson's magnum opus about ed reform, "A Right Denied," and it's a dream of mine that every time somebody searches for DFER on line, this quote comes up.

“The real problem, politically, was not the Republican party, it was the Democratic party. So it dawned on us, over the course of six months or a year, that it had to be an inside job. The main obstacle to education reform was moving the Democratic party, and it had to be Democrats who did it, it had to be an inside job. So that was the thesis behind the organization. And the name – and the name was critical – we get a lot of flack for the name. You know, “Why are you Democrats for education reform? That’s very exclusionary. I mean, certainly there are Republicans in favor of education reform.” And we said, “We agree.” In fact, our natural allies, in many cases, are Republicans on this crusade, but the problem is not Republicans. We don’t need to convert the Republican party to our point of view…”

That's the beauty of a label like "Democrat"-- anybody who wants to use it can use it. Now, there's little doubt that the corporate wing of the Democratic Party has long known that when it comes to education, they were largely indistinguishable from the GOP. At this stage, we can talk about the Bush-Obama education reform program as the one seamless thing it always was, and for some folks, it's a useful way to frame ed reform to look as if the DeVos agenda is radically different (spoiler alert-- it's not).

But recently something unusual happened. Last weekend, the Colorado Democratic state assembly overwhelmingly rejected DFER's agenda and told them to take the D out of their name. Here's the platform amendment they pushed through:

We oppose making Colorado’s public schools private or run by private corporations or becoming segregated again through lobbying and campaigning efforts of the organization called Democrats for Education Reform and demand that they immediately stop using the party’s name Democrat in their name.

The battle, as Erica Meltzer wrote for Chalkbeat "revealed a growing divide among party activists and establishment politicians on education policy." Colorado's DFER chapter is loaded with establishment Dems, while the roomful of actual Democrats was not. Speakers against DFER included people like Vanessa Quintana, whose own high school education had been creatively disrupted by ed reform in the state:

“When DFER claims they empower and uplift the voices of communities, DFER really means they silence the voices of displaced students like myself by uprooting community through school closure,” she told the delegates. “When Manual shut down my freshman year, it told me education reformers didn’t find me worthy of a school.”

Only two people spoke up in favor of DFER, but some DFER supporters are not too concerned. You have to read all the way to the end of the Chalkbeat article, but once you get there, you see the strategy that DFER and reformsters like them have always focused on:

Van Schoales, a DFER board member and CEO of A Plus Colorado, an education reform advocacy group, called it a “symbolic attack,” but he believes support for policies like school choice and charter schools remains strong among Democratic elected officials.

In other words, as long as they keep a hold on the politicians, it doesn't matter what actual Democratic Party members want. This is a symptom remaining from when, as Jennifer Berkshire puts it, "education reform ate the Democratic Party" and somehow Democrats became one more anti-union, teacher-bashing group of public school privatizers. Will the party figure out where it should stand on education policy? The time is ripe for them to get a clue, and with any luck, Colorado is a harbinger of things to come.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Can the Reading Pendulum Be Swinging?

Two articles and some twitter chatter do not a trend make, but a guy can hope.

One of the worst trends to come out of modern reform has been the repackaging of reading as a content- and context-free series of skills, a series of tasks to be completed in a vacuum. This has always struck me as twelve kinds of wrong. Like preparing an athlete by having them practice movements in a padded room without a team, ball or field. Like having a band musician practice alone with just a mouthpiece. Like trying to tune the audio characteristics of a set of speakers inside an airless chamber. I could go on all day with the different kinds of crazy this is.

And I must be clear-- not all reformsters have been on this bus, ever. Robert Pondiscio hollered for years about "57 most important words" in the Common Core. Here they are:

By reading texts in history/social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in these fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas. Students can only gain this foundation when the curriculum is intentionally and coherently structured to develop rich content knowledge within and across grades. Students also acquire the habits of reading independently and closely, which are essential to their future success.

These words appear in a "note on range and content of student reading." They don't carry a great deal of weight compared to, say, the 43-page appendix that spends so much time on "text complexity,"  a term tied to the mechanical content-free conception of reading, suggesting that reading levels are just a matter of how tricky the decoding puzzle is (but unrelated to the actual content itself).

Podiscio and I long disagreed about the importance of those 57 words. The argument of many rich-content supporters of CCSS has always seemed to me to boil down to, "This must be crucial, because without this, the Core is bunk." My argument is that the 57 words are a minor cosmetic adjustment, a feeble attempt to patch a gaping hole, and the Core is, in fact, bunk. The most telling detail-- "rich content knowledge" appears nowhere on the CCSS-related Big Standardized Tests. As I've pointed out a million times, I can prepare my students to get good scores on the BS Test by spending the whole year reading excerpts from the newspaper and practicing BS Test-style multiple choice questions (and never learning anything about writing, but that's a gripe for another day).

Not only do the BS Tests not respect rich content knowledge-- they bend over backwards to negate it, deliberately choosing test items whose content  is highly unlikely to intersect with student prior knowledge (elementary test excerpt about Turkish village economics, anyone). BS Tests are designed to be the higher-complexity version of the dreaded DIBELS test, a test for young readers that tests their reading skills by asking them to read words that aren't actually words (because that way they can't "cheat" by already knowing the word and recognizing it).

But while Pondiscio and I and others have long disagreed about the Core (and charters and a bunch of other stuff), we agree about the importance of content when it comes to reading. Knowledge matters. Content matters. To state what seems obvious to me, it's hard to read or learn to read if you don't know much. It's easier to read or learn to read if you have a wealth of background knowledge. New learning is most easily acquired when it can be connected to old knowledge. So if you want to teach children to read, building up their storehouse of prior knowledge is a critical-- maybe the most critical-- thing you can do to build a foundation.

This point of view has never gone away, but it seems to be gaining traction lately.

Note, for instance, this piece from Louisiana's education chief and committed reformster John White. White's point is that the NAEP is a faulty test because it doesn't measure "what students know."

The trouble is that by not requiring knowledge of any specific book or facts, reading tests have contributed to the false impression that reading is mainly about having skills such as being able to summarize, and not about background knowledge. Walk into many English classrooms today and you will see students capably identifying an article’s main idea. But you’re less likely to find students learning the historical context for a novel or discussing the novel’s broader meaning. By not requiring knowledge, tests create no incentive for particular knowledge to be taught.

This is not fair to adolescents, who need knowledge to become effective adult readers. It’s particularly not fair to students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, whose summer breaks rarely involve trips abroad or afternoons at museums, and who are thus at a disadvantage on any test that, whether it’s acknowledged or not, measures background knowledge. And it’s not good policy for a nation struggling with the influence of falsified news reports over its citizenry.


Meanwhile, Natalie Wexler took to the pages of the Atlantic to watch a panel ask (and answer) the question, "Why American students haven't gotten better at reading in twenty years." The answer again addresses the very basis of reading instruction:

On a daily basis, teachers have their students practice skills and strategies like “finding the main idea” or “making inferences.” And teachers select books that match the given skill rather than because of the text’s content. Rarely do the topics connect: Students might read a book about bridges one day, zebras the next, and clouds the day after that.

Cognitive scientists have known for decades that simply mastering comprehension skills doesn’t ensure a young student will be able to apply them to whatever texts they’re confronted with on standardized tests and in their studies later in life.


Wexler is only partly right-- students are more likely to be reading short excerpts of those books, rarely reading any entire works at all. But yes-- we've known for a while that this approach is backward. If you want to check out a golden oldie, take a look at the Recht and Leslie baseball study, in which it turns out that low reading skills plus high knowledge beats high reading skills and low knowledge. Here's the chart:
















The panel included Dan Willingham, another writer I don't always agree with, but who gets it when it comes to the importance of content.

Current education practices show that reading comprehension is misunderstood. It’s treated like a general skill that can be applied with equal success to all texts. Rather, comprehension is intimately intertwined with knowledge.

As Wexler puts it:

The best way to boost students’ reading comprehension is to expand their knowledge and vocabulary by teaching them history, science, literature, and the arts, using curricula that that guide kids through a logical sequence from one year to the next: for example, Native Americans and Columbus in kindergarten; the colonial era and the American Revolution in first grade; the War of 1812 and the Civil War in second grade, and so on. That approach enables children to make sense of what they’re learning, and the repetition of concepts and vocabulary in different contexts makes it more likely they’ll retain information. Not to mention that learning content like this can be a lot more engaging for both students and teachers than the endless practice of illusory skills.

Yes, that, please.

Why might the pendulum finally swing back from reading "skills"? The answer is hinted at in the two articles [update: and you can add this one to the list]-- White wrote to get out in front of bad test results, and Wexler wrote to explain them. We've been doing reading "skills" for almost two decades, and it simply hasn't worked. Not only that, but it's been shown to not work by tests designed by the principles valued by reading skills fans. In other words, the set up the game according to their preferred rules, and they are still losing.

And finally some folks are asking, "What else could we be trying?" And lots of folks on all sides of the education debates already know the answer.

Content-based reading instruction will never be clean or easily implemented. For one thing, as soon as we start trying to come up with lists of content that "should be" taught, huge fiery debates will break out, and they will never, ever be settled. But we would at least be moving in the right direction (if we really want to get crazy, we could let students choose the content-based direction, thereby harnessing both the power of prior knowledge and the power of interest). Core knowledge cannot be tapped without unleashing and addressing political issues.

But we should not let disagreements about content scare us away from asserting clearly and effectively that content matters, and that it is properly the foundation of reading. Maybe if we keep insisting, the pendulum will finally swing.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Debates and Tribes

I'm not a huge fan of meta-posting on the subject of navigating the education debates, but it's unavoidable because the ed debates involve such a mish-mosh of tribes.

I agree with what X says about Y, but I'm worried he's just trying to create support for Z-- particularly because he belongs to Organization Q.

I've seen some variation on this a gazillion times-- from more than one side of the debates.

It's understandable because all sides have always consisted of alliances. It's people who can only really agree for half a sentence. For instance, common core opposition included a bunch of people who could start a sentence, "Common Core is a terrible idea, and therefor..." but then would finish the sentence with "...it should be abolished so that public schools can return to their proper mission" and "...it's the final proof that the government can't be trusted to run schools at all."

Sometimes the alliances are barely alliances at all. Lots of folks see the Big Standardized Test as a huge blight on public education, but while some folks want to see those tests abolished, or at least reduced in importance, others see the opposition to the BS Test as a good motivation for jumping into Personalized Competency-Based Learning Education, which is just another heaping pile of corporate reform.

Many people cope with this kind of confusion and tension by simply sticking to their tribe, or focusing on which tribe they oppose. If it comes from our team, it must be good, and if it comes from that other team, it must be bad.

But there are several problems with this.

First of all, tribalism leads to focusing not on the issues or the message, but on the classification of the source. Instead of listening to what Pat says and deciding whether it's bunk or not, I spend my time trying to suss out which team Pat belongs to.

Second, and perhaps worse, it leads to people agreeing with really dumb things just to stay on the right "side." This is the current problem of many so-called conservatives-- they've defined conservatism or "the right position" as anything that makes liberals upset, which has led to sudden bizarre changes in direction like "Russia is swell" and "cheating on your third wife with a prostitute is totally okay."

Ultimately we end up with people hugely overthinking things to their own detriment. We are sitting in the living room of a house that is on fire, and we can see through the front door a swimming pool and an ambulance, and somebody is arguing, "How do we know they didn't set the fire on purpose so that we would go jump into the swimming pool which is actually filed with sharks we just can't see from here? Let's just stay here in the burning house. That will show them." Or even worse, "It was one of their people who yelled that this house is on fire, so I'm not convinced these flames are rea." This is crazy talk. If the house is on fire, get out. Once you're out, check the swimming pool out carefully and make your next choice accordingly.

Pay attention. Watch, listen, and think. Use every available piece of information to get a picture of the road ahead, but don't just make shit up, and don't just take somebody's word for it.

Most of all, keep your eyes on the big picture and the important issues. Don't put tribe ahead of that.

[Update: It seems worth adding that the impulse of many people in the comments section was to try to assign me to a particular tribe and then reject or accept what I said based on that assignment. That tribe assignment included the assumption that if I said something mean about conservatives, then I must belong to the anti-conservative tribe. None of that discussion really considers whether what I said was actually true or not, or if it could be negated by saying something similar about the other tribe.  Though, for the record, anyone who reads regularly would find plenty of criticism of the Democratic brand of misbehavior and the faux progressivism that masquerades as "liberal" school reform. I just happened to pick up the most recent phenomenon of conservatives selling their principles for a ride on the Trump train.

At the end of the day, that's another side effect of tribalism-- in addition to actual conservatives and liberals, we have a lot of people whose only real interest is self-interest, and they'll happily pretend to be a member of whatever tribe they think will further their cause.]