Be careful what you wish for

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For years, ed reformers have wanted people to pay closer attention to issues that generally make their eyes glaze over—issues like tenure, teacher evaluation and salary schedules.

Education reform has recently been in the spotlight, thanks to Michelle Rhee going on Oprah, Foo Fighter frontman Dave Grohl celebrating DCPS IMPACT results, and Diane Ravitch appearing on The Daily Show.

But we've got to wonder whether the price of getting such attention will turn a heated and important debate into a reality tv show replete with profanity-laced tirades.

Case in point: the interview with Matt Damon at the July 30 "Save Our Schools" rally in Washington, D.C which has gone viral, with over 76,000 views in four days. A shorter clip entitled "Matt Damon defends teachers" has been viewed over 800,000 times. The interview is little more than a confrontation and doesn't add to the discussion, though it obviously has the public's attention. In response, the reporter has received a slew of emails, some positive and others described as vulgar and inappropriate.

NCTQ has shown that it's possible to engage in respectful and no-holds-barred discussions about education reform without them devolving into vitriolic tugs-of-war. In this day of viral youtube videos, can we keep a balanced, respectful discussion alive?

Susan Douglas