The Clap Back

One of the surest signs that you know that you are winning is when folks start to attack you personally, then they attack your organization, then they attack your funders, they get their facts wrong and when they are really desperate they try and link you to one of most unpopular persons in America — the current Secretary of Education.

Nice try, Maurice Cunningham — but I don’t like her either. 

My people? Massachusetts moms who are demanding better education and they won’t be deterred by hacks like you.

So take a seat, Mo — class is in session — and today’s lesson is called THE CLAP BACK.

Now, I’m intentionally not linking to “Mass Political Professor” Maurice Cunningham’s piece today because this blog is incredibly popular and I’m not interested in giving him the pageviews courtesy of my audience.

The reader’s digest version? Edu-elitists are the only ones with the right to have an opinion about education because they have *degrees in education* — and by the way his graduate degree is better than yours.

His opinion, and everyone else with a PhD or an EdD means more and they know better and are entitled to make decisions about your children because they have the pedigree — and you don’t. How dare you organize and think you should have a seat at the table?

You are just a pathetic, pitiful parent. A peon. Clearly not intelligent enough to have done something truly worthy with your life. Therefore, you will take what they give you and like it.

And this my friends, is the typical nasty, condescending attitude that leads parents to disengage with educators and is a critical reason why kids don’t actually get the education they deserve.

Because y’all think know better, you don’t need us — and in fact, we’re all just in your way.

I don’t know about you, but this bizarre conversation doesn’t seem to be connected with any reality I know.

And like, are there really groups of people who argue about whether folks who have degrees from Harvard Business School are as cool as people who have degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education?

BECAUSE THAT PRETTY MUCH SEEMS LIKE THE MOST RIDICULOUSLY ELITIST BULLSHIT THING I HAVE EVER HEARD.

Is this what rich and fancy white males seriously bitch at each other about?

IS THIS REAL LIFE RIGHT NOW?

Now, I’m one of Maurice’s favorite punching bags because I don’t fit into his convenient little narrative. He LOVES to call me the “state director” of MPU as an intentional misogynistic slight to my position as the founder and CEO of an organization that I manifested, created and funded about a year and a half ago with $4000 of my own money.

To be clear:

I built it.

No man did it for me.

No man hired me.

No man gave it to me.

Me, a woman.

I did it.

And it’s FIRE.

This condescending dig at me is actually quite clear. I know it’s hard to believe, but women are capable of developing an idea, creating our own organizations and getting them off the ground. You don’t have to like it, but you should respect it.

Maurice also likes to act as if he has mysteriously uncovered the funders of Massachusetts Parents United and they are all tied to “dark money.” He did nothing of the sort. I literally and intentionally put every one of our funders right up on our website. Not because I have to — and lord knows, every other astro-turf “education advocacy organization” that is union-funded certainly doesn’t, but I have nothing to hide.

Maurice didn’t dig through anything. MPU is fully transparent and all right there for the world to see. Why not go after Citizens for Public Schools? Or FairTest? Or MEJA?

Anyone who disagrees with Maurice’s worldview about education, who is allowed to get a say in what happens in education and interferes with his efforts to protect his precious union friends could be subject to a Cunningham “dark money” hit piece.

But I’m not the one, honey.

Speaking of funding, Maurice fancies himself an expert on dark money.

What is dark money according to Maurice? Literally anyone who gives money to a non-profit organization that Maurice, a member of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, does not like.

Does Maurice write about “dark money” in the environmental justice space? No.

Weed? No.

Casinos? No.

Only education.

We see you, Mo — and we know where your bread is buttered.

Listen, we can disagree on charter schools. You don’t like them and I am for parent choice. You have a vested interest in seeing them get shut down. You don’t have a personal stake in changing the education system at all because your children are not potential victims of the systemic racism that keeps them at a disadvantage because of the color of their skin. Your family is all set — you make money off of education and your kids are served. We got it.

But let’s get something clear — I am a parent. I have three children. They are latino little boys who could be potentially prime candidates for the school to prison pipeline. I’m here because this is the job I have to do. It is the job WE have to do. I have every right to have an opinion about what happens during the course of their educational experience and I have every right to empower other parents to have a voice in the experience of their children.

Your fancy degree, beautiful house in Cambridge and wonderful union pension does not make you better than me, entitle you to any additional rights or give you the power to override decisions I make for my children. You don’t know me, you don’t know them and frankly — you’re just not our people.

So nice try, Mo — and no, I didn’t go to Harvard.

I went to Temple University in Philadelphia. And I’m here for justice.

What do you think?

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