The Step Up for Students employees who write for their redefinED blog usually don’t take quotes out of context to engage in political hackery, but they have now. Lets track the anatomy of a social media hit.
At 630 AM this morning, whomever is managing SUFS’s redefinED account tweeted this and linked a post from SUFS pubic affairs director Patrick Gibbons. Here’s the text:
Gibbon’s post was published on Friday. There was actually only one board member who said that. Here’s the portion of Gibbon’s post which the tweet refers:
Robert Runcie, the superintendent of the Broward County School District, wanted to help low-performing charter schools by partnering them with high-quality charter operators. He and his staff brought the idea to the school board and helped secure a $3.3 million grant from the state. But Runcie’s bosses on the school board opted to turn the grant down. The reason defies logic.
“It’s not our job,” says board member Laurie Rich Levinson. Board member Patricia Good didn’t want to help either because, according to the Sun-Sentinel she believed, “it was up to individual schools to bring up their own grades.”
Here’s what Levinson actually said in the Karen Yi’s Sun-Sentinel story which Gibbons tweaked to create the angle.
“The whole idea behind charter schools is that they can do it better than us,” said board member Laurie Rich Levinson, who also opposed the grant. She said 37 percent of charter schools had C, D or F grades. “It’s not our job to match up management companies with low performing schools and turn those schools around.”
A middle school journalism student – and yes, SUFS, one from a Florida public school, could see that this is a clear example of taking a quote out of context. The salaries of SUFS employees who orchestrated this smear come from Florida taxpayers via the Florida voucher school program known as the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program. But SUFS is engaging in political activity 0n behalf of the for-profit charter school industry. Its obviously time for them to admit they operate to promote their industry.
Its not unprecedented for political professionals to engage in political dialogue as this. Every legislator has a spokesperson on staff. SUFS has objected to this blog’s characterization of them as hacks in the past. But taking a SB members quote out of context to smear a SB member and school boards in general is political hackery at its finest.