Yesterday, I was falsely accused of paranoia on the firstname.lastname@example.org list by amateur psychologist and professional know-nothing "Haim Pipik," yet another anonymous foe of progressive politics and education. While I and others believe we know precisely who uses that nom de net, efforts to get him to drop his charade and simply admit who he is have been in vain. Of course, in the wake of the travesty of democracy we have witnessed in Ridgewood, NJ this week, thanks to the clandestine efforts of a tiny group of activists, some of whom don't even live in New Jersey, let alone in Ridgewood, "paranoia" becomes a very relative term.
By making anonymous calls and sending anonymous e-mails, this little group of brown shirts undid the legitimate hiring of a top-notch superintendent because he'd written favorably and intelligently about constructivism and was perceived to support the legitimately selected K-5 math program in Ridgewood, INVESTIGATIONS IN NUMBER, DATA, and SPACE. From what I've read, the personal attacks on his integrity and that of his wife were the usual vicious "parents with pitchforks" lies that have been the stock in trade of followers of the leadership of Mathematically Correct and NYC-HOLD. I'm sure those who hold with the beliefs of those groups are congratulating themselves for their "math warrior" victory. The rest of Ridgewood is wondering how fewer than 100 people could cost the town the $20,000 already spent on a job search to land Martin Brooks and the additional money that must now be spent to find a new superintendent.
I had a cordial e-mail from Dr. Brooks this morning and I'm confident that had these unprincipled assassins not been allowed to operate with impunity in Ridgewood, the town would have gotten an outstanding leader for its public schools. The effect of what this band of jackals has done is likely to be very chilling as the town tries to find a person of equal ability in the wake of the unjustified personal attacks on Dr. Brooks and his wife.
This is the Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, and George W. Bush legacy. The good news is that I believe this incident will gain enough local and national attention that perhaps "paranoids" like me will be less easily ignored by people in a position to do something before it's completely impossible for anyone calling her or himself a progressive educator or liberal to seek work in public schools. More importantly, those who have yet to take these hate groups seriously will perhaps now be galvanized into principled and serious opposition to this sort of hijacking of our schools and our democracy.