On Nastiness

Voices4Delaware Education Action Fund is an off-shoot of the uber-business-friendly education think tank Rodel Foundation. Rodel is a think tank that likes to be taken seriously, but they’re seriously engaging in negative, harmful, and deceitful campaign tactics in the Christina School District.

The first nasty-gram hit on Wednesday. Among other things, the piece — which endorsed candidate Valene Harris over incumbent Shirley Saffer — placed the “failures” of the Christina School District on its seven-member Board. This advertisement may have had no approval from Harris; these PACs can do as they please. However, within 24 hours, Harris should have issued a statement condemning the harsh and inflammatory rhetoric within. She did not.

48 hours later, another negative piece arrived from Voices4Delaware Education/Rodel attacking Saffer and the Board. Question: Why would anyone want to volunteer to run for an unpaid office like school board if they knew they’d be victim to such nasty, vile, and hateful rhetoric?

At this point, it is beyond time for Valene to disconnect herself from this organization that claims it’s “4Education.” The organization could perhaps use a few lessons in kindness, honesty, and respect. Until that happens, and if I were managing Harris’s campaign, I would release the following statement condemning those awful ads:

While I appreciate the work of an advocacy group supporting my candidacy, I completely disagree with the tactics they’re using against my opponent. Serving on the Christina School Board would be a privilege and an honor. Tarnishing that honor by making outrageously offensive and belittling statements regarding the Board as a whole is where I draw the line. I ask Voices4Delaware to apologize for the ad and, further, I ask that they leave me off any further communications sent to constituents in the Christina School District if they are to continue employing such a tone. There is no room for negativity in this race.

That’s all. Valene Harris would come out smelling much better than she is now if she released something to the effect of the above statement. I do accept tips in the form of iced coffee and really good key lime pie, Ms. Harris! 😉

14 comments on “On Nastiness

  1. John Young says:

    Reblogged this on Transparent Christina and commented:
    Amen. She had time in between the two mailings and no disavowing or desire to unaffiliate is apparent. In fact she claim to be simply unaware

  2. Prop Joe says:

    It would exceedingly hard for her to issue such a statement seeing how the puppet cannot tell the puppeteer what it wants to say or even to think independently

  3. Jeannette says:

    OK, I’ll be a conspiracy theorist and ask – what connection does this have to Markell’s nominee for secretary of education?

  4. delawareway says:

    Mark Murphy, according to the Dobo article today, arrived in DE six years ago having ‘fallen in love with the area’. OK But what was he doing here having left Maryland and landing the job with New Schools New Leaders NSNL which he had right up until taking the helm at (Rodel founded org) Vision Network in July 2011?

    Was he commuting to NYC? Or was he really working in DE and if so, where and for whom as a NSNL staffer? I got on the NSNL website and they are very similar to Rodel – Business Roundtable Chamber of Commerce who fund the think tank for education reform while retaining board seats and chairs. Think Charter School of Wilmington and Charters in general.

    Eli Broad is a big funder of the group Mark Murphy latched onto. Broad who famously claimed that he would pour so much money into DE (starting with Christina) school board elections that he would control DE Schools by 2006. That is a direct quote from a 2006 Slate article easily googled for those interested. Broad’s Christina victory emerged in the form of the past three superintendents – all formed under the Broad leadership program.

    Mark Murphy is the newest incarnation of a Broad leadership graduate. And he came to DE for four years under that wing before taking the Vision Network post.

  5. delawareway says:

    oops, I reversed the name – it is New Leaders New Schools (NLNS)

    Charters want public capital funding. No doubt that is the next big deal in Dover. Mark Murphy seems to be on the cutting edge of this next big deal –

    Click to access Vision-2015-5-year-report.pdf

    Mark last worked for this org. – NLNS – its biggest funders below include Broad
    …many of whom have their people on the NLNS board – kind of like Rodel and the State CoC /Bus. Roundtable

    Here is a policy paper published ? this year where Mark is still using his NLNS email address

    New Leaders for New Schools Data-Driven Instruction

    Mark Murphy is the executive director of leadership development for New Leaders for New Schools.

    And here’s his work since joining Vision Network. I just wonder what he was doing in DE in the four years before that.


    Click to access Vision-2015-5-year-report.pdf

  6. delawareway says:

    I have a comment in moderation Mike, too many links.

  7. Thanks for the digging, Nancy. Such PRETTY reports, but what are they really saying?!?!

  8. snewton929 says:

    While I don’t actually disagree with what you’ve written, Matt, I have to ask: why doesnt the virulent hate-site against Valene Harris, which predated anything Voices 4 DE ED did, make your list for the general “nastiness” of the campaign? Why is nobody (but me, apparently) interested in denouncing that nastiness and finding out who started accusing Ms. Harris of all kinds of scurrilous filth? Why hasn’t there been an public outcry to ask Ms. Saffer to denounce that site?

    I realize that the comparison is asymmetrical–Voices mailed its flyer to everyone in the district, while only people surfing the net would find the hate site (except that at least one anti-Rodel ed blog made SURE people would know about it (and didn’t denounce it, either)–but c’mon, Mike, if everybody is going to be playing the “denounce awful things said by my supporters game,” shouldn’t Saffer and DSEA both be asked to do so there?

  9. Here’s the difference, Steve: Who is behind that hate site? I actually had this discussion with another CSD Board member (not John Young) earlier this week and I said it was stupid and offensive and a damn joke and should be taken down. But I don’t know who’s behind it, so I’m not going to go on some flailing crusade wasting breath and calling it out.

    The Voices piece supporting Valene is very much not like the anti-Valene site. it’s a legitimate piece produced and funded with money from legitimate sources. Or, not-so-legitimate considering some believe the anonymity behind the money to be in question.

    To sum up: Who do we call out on the website attack? Yes, it sucks. Yes, it’s awful. Yes, it’s inappropriate in this dialogue. But WHO are we calling out? I’d say it’s pretty toothless “shame shaming” someone we can’t even identify, who has no reason to be afraid because they’ve used that veil of anonymity.

    On the other hand, we’ve connected Voices to Rodel. They’re very much a visible body, even though their Citizens United/501(c)4 means we probably won’t really know who’s funding their advertisements. So it make pointing out their nastiness that much easier — and more productive.

    So, to reiterate: That nasti anti-Val hate site is awful. It should be removed and the person behind it should be ashamed. Does anyone really feel better now that I’ve condemned it? Of course not. The person is still anonymous and we will go about our lives.

  10. To your point: Saffer probably should denounce the site. It’s unnecessary and adds nothing to the dialogue. However, like I said above, what does this accomplish except making the anonymous thug think he’s actually worthy of the attention?

    Why should DSEA denounce it? Do you know something I don’t? Are they in on it? Or are you saying because they’ve supported Shirley Saffer that they should apologize merely by association? I’m confused about that one. I haven’t asked other Harris supporters to apologize for the Voices/Rodel ad they had no control over. I don’t see where DSEA or any of its folks are behind that site. If they are, please provide some evidence and I’ll go visit Frederika myself and ask for an explanation.

  11. snewton929 says:

    Mike, I said the two were asymmetrical, and for the record I don’t believe for a moment that anybody even remotely connected with DSEA had anything to do with the hate site. i should not have suggested DSEA make any statement (frankly, I didn’t know but only assumed DSEA backed Saffer because Rodel didn’t).

    I was primarily pointing out the bizarre moral equivalency argument to be made: nobody jumped to Val Harris’s defense against that site, nobody (until you just now) said her opponent should condemn it.

    Have all the questions and opinions you want about Rodel, just as I have them about DSEA’s political activities. Both are good for the dialogue.

  12. […] usual, Kilroy, Delaware Libertarian, Delaware Way, The Mind of Mr. Matthews and Transparent Christina are all over these stories, and well worth your time to […]

  13. […] Our current head of the Department of Education, Mark Murphy, hails from a group NLNS funded by Eli Broad […]

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