Brian Williams introduced a report on NBC Nightly News (4/21/10) with this declaration: "Public schools from coast to coast in this country are looking at tens of thousands of layoffs, a lot of them teachers, because the money is not there." Correspondent Ron Allen went on to report: In Springfield, Illinois, thousands of teachers turned out to try to save their jobs and programs; music, art and sports activities all being threatened with elimination. Many school districts are hoping for federal stimulus help, but in the meantime are locked into longer teacher contracts and higher salaries for tenured teachers. Some […]
Newsweek devotes several pieces this week to public schools. But the lead piece, "Why We Must Fire Bad Teachers," by Evan Thomas and Pat Wingert, lays out the magazine's skewed vision: Teacher unions protect the worst performers, while charter schools offer an easy solution. ("In the past two decades, some schools have sprung up that defy and refute what former president George W. Bush memorably called 'the soft bigotry of low expectations.'") Newsweek even finds the silver lining in Hurricane Katrina: It is difficult to dislodge the educational establishment. In New Orleans, a hurricane was required: Since Katrina, New Orleans […]
At the end of January, Obama education secretary Arne Duncan told a cable news show (TV One's Washington Watch, 1/31/10), "I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina." In reporting on Duncan's remarks, the January 30 Washington Post apparently couldn't find anyone to challenge the notion that Katrina was a good thing. CNN aired a segment the same day featuring guests Roland Martin, a CNN regular and the host of Washington Watch, theprogram where Duncan made the remarks in question; and CNN education contributor Steve Perry, a magnet school founder, champion […]
The United Farm Workers have a new action alert (7/24/09) about "an education war going on in Texas" they note has "major national implications as Texas is such a major purchaser of textbooks and their state's required curriculum drives the content of textbooks produced nationwide." Specifically, "the Texas State Board of Education is currently preparing to adopt new social studies curriculum standards" informed by certain "experts" who are arguing that the state's social studies and history textbooks are giving "too much attention" to some of the most prominent civil rights leaders in U.S. History, namely Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall. […]
Editor & Publisher is running a wire item (Associated Press, 7/16/09) on the Richmond Times-Dispatch's recent front-page editorial and website video "expressing regret for supporting the state's fight to maintain separate schools for blacks and whites in the 1950s." The paper's confession of its "central role in the 'dreadful doctrine' of Massive Resistance–a systematic campaign by Virginia's white political leaders to block school desegregation"–functions as testament to both their current integrity and one of the darkest episodes of U.S. journalism. Here's an except: Fifty years ago Virginia had a rendezvous with destiny and came up wanting. It scorned human rights […]
Sam Dillon's New York Times piece (12/14/08) is much better than most of the coverage of President-elect Barack Obama's search for an Education secretary nominee. It's even got some on-target media criticism: Editorials and opinion articles in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times have described the debate as pitting education reformers against those representing the educational establishment or the status quo. But who the reformers are depends on who is talking.