Shooting the messenger


by John Van Hecke | June 3, 2009 • Conservatives wasted little time refuting Minnesota 2020’s charter school financial audits study by attacking us personally. In a nutshell, it’s not that our research is wrong; it’s that we’re bad people.

Rhetoricians call this an ad hominem attack. Rather than challenge the argument’s reason or its evidence, respondents attack the arguer’s character.

Hindsight is the official blog of Minnesota 2020. Hindsight gives the run down on the news that jumps out at us on the issues that matter. Often times these stories show us how much further we need to go to have the progressive policy realized in Minnesota.

Following Minnesota 2020’s report release press conference on Tuesday, June 2, the Charter School Partners leadership team was waiting to step before the cameras with their response. They could’ve said that Minnesota 2020 was wrong, that our 2007 charter school audit review study was flawed. They could’ve said that we’re not accountants and are unqualified to examine a publicly-disclosed financial audit. They could’ve said we can’t add.

But, they didn’t.

Charter School Partners Executive Director Al Fan and Director of Business Excellence Brian Sweeny instead personally attacked Minnesota 2020’s founder and former board chair, Matt Entenza, calling him a “playground bully” for, um, I guess, being Matt Entenza. They sought to distract reporters from our report’s argument and conclusion, which is that charter schools own audits raise a persistent, systemic question about charter schools financial processes and their accountability for public dollars. On that point, conservatives remain silent.

Shooting the messenger doesn’t alter the message.

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