Intercepted cryptic secret message to reformers

Though there was a recent article by Mike Petrilli about how people on Twitter generally only ‘follow’ people who they agree with, I try to follow a few ‘reformers’ to stay on top of what is going on.  So I follow Michelle Rhee, StudentsFirst, John White, and others.  I’ve only been blocked once, to my knowledge by a low ranking TFA recruiter.  One person I follow is Chris Barbic, superintendent of the Achievement School District (ASD) in Tennessee.  I was once pretty good friends with Chris and even wrote him one of my open letters.

The ‘reformers’ generally communicate with each other via e-mail, but I suppose there are times where the message needs to get out quickly and in that case they use a public forum to send a secret message on Twitter.

I intercepted one such message, which promptly disappeared.  Fortunately I saved it and am working through various encryption patterns to try to decipher this.

I haven’t cracked this yet, but I’ll admit that I am frightened.  There are two very clear references to ‘Race To The Top’ (RttT) and the puzzling ‘Retrordfrefxz,’ which I think might have something to do with counseling low scoring students out of charter schools.  If there is anyone out there who is skilled in cryptoanalysis, please let me know what you can make of this.

Until this message is cracked, the ‘Danger In Ed Reform’ thermometer will be at ‘elevated.’

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7 Responses to Intercepted cryptic secret message to reformers

  1. Linda says:

    It appears to be a seizure of some sort…haven’t a clue. He is an educational leader? Yikes!

  2. Michael Fiorillo says:

    Part confidence racketeers, part cultists, part social vandals, part technocrats acquiring public assets for the 1%, and apparently also part children playing with their decoder rings: so-called education reformers are quite a piece of work.

  3. Caroline Grannan says:

    Sounds like a butt-post from his smartphone. Of course, that could contain as much truth and common sense as any deliberate post from some “reformers.”

    (Alexander Russo has blocked me on Twitter.)

  4. meghank says:

    On the Achievement School District Facebook page ( ),
    there is part of an article with the words:

    “Identification, Intervention and Support For ALL Learners in Achievement
    Are our schools disabling our students? It sounds shocking, but it might be true. An estimated 80% of students diagnosed with a specific learning disability are diagnosed as such because they never learned how to read, so says the 2002 President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education. That
    source: Straight to the Top”

    The link to that article no longer works. I’m very curious about what it said, and why they took it down. From what you said about what Barbic’s message may be about, I think it might be related.

  5. Profe Clark says:

    Seriously, Gary, I think you’ve gone off your rocker. This solidifies your position within the ranks of whackjob conspiracy theorists…

    How about you spend more time actually contributing something productive to the field of education instead of dicking around with your decoder ring?

    • Michael Fiorillo says:

      Nice trick: unable to come up with your own put-down, you appropriate one from earlier in the thread that was sympathetic to Gary’s post.

      Was that just laziness, or were you hoping the phrase would ricochet back on him? Either way, a fail, and you’re not going to be able to undermine Gary’s credibility.

      If this was my blog, I would probably not have emphasized the likely ill intent behind the message (which for me is a given), but rather the little-boys-starting-secret-clubs meets Department of Defense Acronym-ese absurdity of it.

      Things being the way they are, we public school teachers have to take our humor, mordant though it be, wherever we can find it.

    • Educator says:

      I guess you never learned satire?

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