Edwize is a blog by Leo Casey that is sponsored by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the New York affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. The UFT has tens of millions of dollars at its disposal and thousands upon thousands of members. Jay P. Greene’s Blog (JPGB) by contrast has a $25 registration fee for the domain name and a couple of laptops.
Despite this huge disparity in resources, JPGB has a significantly larger audience than does Edwize. According to Technorati JPGB has an authority rating of 95 while Edwize has a rating of 74. An authority rating measures how many other blogs link to a given blog during the last 180 days, which is meant to capture how much influence a blog has in the blogoshpere. In addition, each post on JPGB generates about 4 or 5 comments, on average, while posts on Edwize generate about 1 or 2 comments, on average. Fewer comments suggest fewer readers and/or material on which people do not care to comment.
None of these measures is perfect, but it is clear that JPGB beats Edwize. Why?
The primary challenge for Edwize is that it has to tout teacher union views on education issues. And those views are mostly junky. So, Edwize suffers because it takes significantly more resources to interest people in crappy ideas than in sensible ones.
In case you doubt that the unions have to push junky ideas, ask yourself whether it is sensible to have a system of education in which students are mostly assigned to schools based on where they live; where teachers are almost never fired, no matter how incompetent they are; where teachers are paid almost entirely based on how many years they’ve been around rather than on how well they do their job; where teachers are required to be certified even though there is little to no evidence that certification is associated with quality; and where all teachers are paid the same regardless of subject, even though we know that the skills required for expertise on certain subjects have much greater value in the market than other subjects.
The mental gymnastics required to sustain the union world view has a much greater “degree of difficulty” than the views that are regularly expressed on JPGB. And the resources required to generate support for these union views are enormous. You need millions of people financially benefiting from these policies to volunteer as campaign workers. You need millions of dollars in union dues for campaign contributions. You need a large team of paid staff in every state and in Washington, DC. It takes an army and a fortune for the unions to hold their ground.
This not only helps explain why JPGB beats Edwize, but also why reformers are able to beat the unions in the policy arena. It’s true that the unions win most of the time. But given their enormous advantage in resources, it is amazing that the unions ever lose. The reason that the unions lose as often as they do is that their policy positions are much more difficult to defend intellectually.
So, we should feel sorry for Leo Casey and his union comrades. They may have a lot more money and a lot more people, but they constantly have to defend obviously dumb ideas.
(edited for clarity and to add photo)
ROFL! Too bad blogoshpere != reality
What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted!
Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just,
And he but naked, though lock’d up in steel
Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
Henry VI, Part II, Act 3, Scene 2
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