I was one of those people. You know, the obnoxious, self-righteous tweeter who tries her darnedest to pack a power punch of snark in 140 characters or less. Chasing the high that comes from that little blue circle with a number in a center. The bigger the number the greater the validation, amirite?
No. It’s exhausting and worse you end up emotionally bloody without reward or solution. At my core, I do not like conflict. But I detest what I perceive to be injustices, particularly as it relates to education, upon those who can’t or don’t know how to fight for themselves. Real talk, I can’t think of one knock down, drag out Twitter battle that led to a positive outcome.
Unless you think getting blocked and unfollowed is a positive outcome. This seems to happen only after I’ve defended myself. It’s troubling to think that an adult believes they can say whatever they want to me and I not respond. For instance, just this past weekend, a precious Rhode Island ELL teacher (I tagged her because I’m still a little petty), who often trolls my tweets, called me ignorant among other things and when I asked about her obsession with me she blocked me.
I’ve also been disconnected from many former Nashville friends who don’t like or buy into my “choice” advocacy. Some think I’m bought by Ed Reformers while others think I have an ax to grind because of a certain school board member. Go ahead and question my motives, just don’t mess with the babies or their families.
And therein lies my Twitter transformation. I’m out here for mamas, daddies, and grandparents who are doing what they do for their children. What’s insane is that most of the people I’m targeting are not even on Twitter. Talk about an exercise in futility!
While I’m not looking to restore social media frenemies on the whole, I am looking at one such former Twitter-ship with local blogger Thomas Weber, author of Dad Gone Wild. During last year’s school board elections, the two of us went head-to-head leading to our Twitter break-up. However, in the months since, Weber has experienced a bit of a transformation of his own.
“I say pivotal because the election was quickly framed as being the defenders of public education vs. the privateers. People quickly fell into one camp or the other with defenders making the argument that nothing worse could befall our school district than to be taken over by private interests, while the privateers made the argument that the status quo had to go. Much to my chagrin, I must admit that I quickly grabbed a uniform and joined a team. And for that, I owe an apology to Jane Grimes-Meneely, Miranda Christy, Jackson Miller, and Thom Druffel.”
It takes a big person to publicly admit wrongs, extend an apology, and announce an ideological shift, of sorts — all this following a highly publicized battle where he played a significant role.
But in recent months, I’ve detected a mutual respect for each other’s platform to inform our respective target audiences. He has not been shy about referring to my blog (usually with disclaimer “we don’t always agree, but”) and I have zero problems with what he publishes these days. Weber admits he is kinder to the choice crowd in Nashville even as he remains relentlessly loyal to traditional public schools. I get it, I love MNPS, too, but I’ve curtailed that devotion for the sake of the kids.
Still, it appears that Thomas and I have more in common than that on which we disagree. So, maybe it’s time swallow our pride, erase the lines in the dirt, and lift our Twitter blocks. Or maybe just have coffee?
Our children deserve better than what we’ve given them. They deserve adults who fight poverty, underperforming schools, racism, and classism. Not adults who fight each other.