Much Ado About Nothing

Education Week has an article suggesting that Education Sector’s recently released report on Charter Management Organizations may have been massaged to please big donors.  The author of the original draft of the report, Tom Toch, had his name removed, so the report was released without an author.  It’s unclear whether Tom was dropped as the author because he didn’t have time to review the final manuscript (having left Ed Sector for another job), because of a dispute over payment for the report, and/or because he disagreed with the revised content.

Whatever the reason for dropping Tom Toch as author, the attempt by Marc Dean Millot to turn this into a cover-up seems like a reach.  Millot leaked an earlier draft of Toch’s report on Alexander Russo’s blog. 

I’ve looked at the earlier draft and the final report and, frankly, I don’t think the basic message was changed very much between the two.  Both list a series of challenges that Charter Management Organizations have faced and steps that should be taken to overcome them.  Bother versions are just thought-pieces, not analyses of data.  Either version could have been influenced by the political pressures that regularly creep into DC think tank writing, so there is no reason to privilege the earlier draft as pure and the later as corrupted when it could just as easily be the other way around.  Or perhaps both versions are politically tainted.  Or perhaps neither are.

Read it for yourself and decide, but there is little sign of a conspiracy here.

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