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Posted at 10:37 PM ET, 01/18/2012

Retired D.C. teacher says he was thrown out of ed data summit

A retired D.C. teacher who has written critically about Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Michelle Rhee said security guards escorted him out of an education data summit where the two were speaking on Wednesday.

Guy Brandenburg, who writes the GFBrandenburg’s Blog (which is subtitled “Just a blog by a guy who’s a retired math teacher”) describes in a post how he attended the National Data Summit in Washington D.C. — for which he had signed up to attend — and started handing out a pamphlet he wrote criticizing data-driven school reform.

The summit, which started on Wednesday and starred Duncan and Rhee, the former D.C. schools chancellor, is part of the Data Quality Campaign, a national effort to promote data-driven education reform.

The pamphlet, which you can see here, is titled “Problems with Using ‘Data’ to Fix Our Schools Or, ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out.’ According to Brandenburg, security guards approached him after he had handed out about a dozen pamphlets and told him that he had to leave because the summit hosts didn’t want him there. He was told he could not stay even if he stopped distributing pamphlets, Brandenburg said in an email.

After he left the conference, he wrote this post on his blog:

So much for freedom of speech.

… if it goes against the agenda of the ultra-rich and their acolytes, one might somehow suspect.

There I was, in a neatly pressed and clean suit and tie, having registered early on-line. I had still had my registration documents (not much) and was holding some pieces of paper, just like many others there. The problem is that I was giving some of those papers out.

At a conference on data quality.

What is this world coming to?

I was giving out a leaflet discussing — data quality and information about some of the speakers. Not positive towards a couple of the speakers, to be accurate. Someone in the conference administration asked me to give up the leaflets, which I declined to do. Soon I was talking to security officers, who told me that I was not allowed to be in the hotel, at the specific request of the tenant — that is, the “Data Quality Campaign” management.

Guess that someone over there reads my blog pretty carefully? Just wonderful … wish I didn’t have readers like that.

Let me also point out that DCQ is a Gates-funded group. Arne Duncan, and Michelle Rhee are both on the agenda of this conference today as speakers… I have been highly critical of them and have given the press and the public access to a lot of data that I could only find by pretty hard searching myself, and that most likely, most other people wouldn’t have found out on their own. Data which shows that the goals and methods and conclusions of this Gates/Duncan/Rhee group are all mistaken at best or perhaps malign.

Nobody beat me up or anything, but I was only able to give out a dozen or so leaflets while I was standing near the front of the auditorium, just outside the Kinko’s where I had my leaflets copied. (Most expensive Kinko’s I’ve ever been to! DAAG! 20 cents per page, per side!) So these things I was giving away were worth forty cents each, plus tax. Man, I was being generous! (Or that’s what I should have said, but didn’t think of saying at the time.)

I wasn’t interested in getting into a shoving match or being picked up or arrested.

So I walked outside and gave out a few there and went home and then wrote this.

I’ll ask the people who staged the conference why this happened and report on what they say.

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By  |  10:37 PM ET, 01/18/2012

 
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