In a (rather lengthy) open letter to Rene Amy which I recently posted to Amy's private Yahoo! Group called greatschools, and circulated to the media and other interest groups, I have consciously stepped into the debate with a challenge to all parties to reign in the rhetoric.
Amy's [greatschools] Yahoo! Group is archived online and can be searched by members of the group. Non-members cannot read the archives or post to the list, ostensibly to prevent spammers from polluting the list, although I am not sure why he also restricts read-only access to his archive. Anyone who wants to read it can subscribe to the Yahoo! Group for free. Access to the Yahoo! Groups archive requires a Yahoo! ID.
I was extremely ambivalent about weighing in on Amy's list, because he and his main supporters are often acerbic in their public and semi-public "discussions" which often seem more like drubbings. I came down in favor of engaging with him in the (probably naive) hope that I might be able to influence the general tone of things.
In his responses to my letter so far this morning, I find myself kind of looking down and patting all my limbs in amazement. I have not been eviscerated so far. The worst he has leveled at me this morning has been to mild chiding for violating his list etiquette by cc'ing addresses that are not subscribed to his group, and for the length of my letter.
He also asked "that simple opinion not be the focus, rather that facts and educated analysis rule." Fair enough. That's exactly what I am hoping to achieve by weighing in. Let's hope that all the members of his list can take heed of this.
He pointed out that "A diversity of analyses and of information helps make the list strong by allowing community members to read, interpret, analyze, and come to their own conclusions."
(photo: republished from Pasadena Star News bio piece on Amy
edit: 7/6/2007 Todd Ruiz pointed out that the photo was taken by Pasadena Star News photographer, Walt Mancini)