On a very hot day in July 2011, the pseudonymous blogger Jersey Jazzman went to the huge Save Our Schools March in D.C.. With him, a couple other Blue Jersey insiders, who shall remain nameless. The 3 wandered into the VIP tent. Inside, all the big names behind the national push to save schools from bumbling tycoonery. Plus Oscar-winner Matt Damon. But for a few minutes, among the few dozen worthies there, a rumor ran through the tent that Jersey Jazzman was here, and Which one is he?
I’m a vault; I kept the secret for years. We all did. About a year ago, he unmasked himself when he became a doctoral student in education policy at the Rutgers Grad School of Education, and published An Empirical Critique of “One Newark with advisor Prof. Bruce Baker (also a well-regarded ed blogger. Must have hit Cami Anderson like a stink bomb, well-sourced as it was. And published under Jazzman’s real name: Mark Weber. Educator. Composer. Defender of the needs of students.
Today, the Jersey Jazzman blog is 5 years old. A BFD. In 6 months, Blue Jersey will be 10 years old. Gulp. How should we celebrate?
Here’s how Mark explains how Jersey Jazzman came to be:
People ask why I started this thing. Aside from the vast power and riches that come to one from writing an education policy blog, it was a matter of sanity: I was literally yelling at the radio almost every day. I felt like my grasp on reality was slipping every time I read the Star-Ledger op-ed pages: how could the editorial board of the state’s largest paper get education so consistently, embarrassingly wrong? It’s actually possible this blog saved my marriage, as Mrs. Jazzman was growing increasingly sick of my dinner table ranting.
Jersey Jazzman, in the end, is an exercise in preserving my mental health. In an innumerate, illogical world that shuns critical thinking, I always know I have a place to throw opprobrium at the reformy folks who so richly deserve it.
All this week, highlights from Jazzman’s 5 years. Great stuff – check it out!