Oct
29
2010

David Gregory Loves Michelle Rhee, Hates Criticism

Alan Suderman at Washington City Paper (10/28/10)caught NBC host David Gregory moderating an education event at a Washington hotel, where the Meet the Press host lavished praise on controversial former D.C. schools chancellor (and media darling) Michelle Rhee: Before we begin, we have Chancellor Michelle Rhee here, and I just want to say publicly what I say privately, which is, thank you for what you've done, thank you for your commitment, for your leadership, for your stick-to-it-ness and for the result that you have achieved. Washington, D.C., will miss you greatly…. But your commitment to kids and to education endures, […]

Oct
18
2010

NYT Investigation: Union Leader NOT Satanic Beast

Readers of Saturday's New York Times may have noticed thisthis piece (10/16/10): Despite Image, Union Leader Backs School Change By TRIP GABRIEL In "Waiting for Superman," the new education documentary, the union leader Randi Weingarten is portrayed, in the words of Variety, as "a foaming satanic beast." At a two-day education summit hosted by NBC News recently, the lopsided panels often featured Ms. Weingarten on one side, facing a murderer's row of charter school founders and urban superintendents. Even Tom Brokaw piled on. The article actually doesa pretty good of explaining how Weingarten and others in the union movement have, […]

Sep
24
2010

Unsurprising Raves for 'Waiting for Superman'–a Big-Screen Version of Media's Education Spin

The media accolades that have greeted the new documentary Waiting for Superman confirm what FAIR documented in the September issue of Extra!–that the corporate media debate over education "reform" is heavily tilted in the direction of those who bash teachers' unions, cheer the White House's Race to the Top grants and charter schools, and lionize "reformers" like D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee. Dana Goldstein's review of the film in the Nation (9/23/10) is worth reading. As she puts it right at the beginning: Here's what you see in Waiting for Superman, the new documentary that celebrates the charter school movement […]

Apr
22
2010

'The Money Is Not There' for Education, NBC Says–So Where Did It Go?

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 […]

Mar
09
2010

Newsweek Wants Accountability for Teachers, Not Editors

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 […]

Feb
05
2010

CNN: Secretary Duncan Right to Celebrate Katrina

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 […]

Jul
25
2009

Textbooks as Weapons in Texas' 'Education War'

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. […]

Jul
17
2009

Va. Daily Confesses Racist Role in 'Dreadful Doctrine'

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 […]

Dec
14
2008

NYT Goes Deeper on Education Secretary Search

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.

Dec
12
2008

Dailies Demonize Progressive Education

Education author Alfie Kohn's got a beef (Nation, 12/10/08) with corporate news coverage of Barack Obama's choices for his cabinet, where "progressives are in short supply": When he turns his attention to the Education Department, what are the chances he'll choose someone who is educationally progressive? In fact, just such a person is said to be in the running and, perhaps for that very reason, has been singled out for scorn in Washington Post and Chicago Tribune editorials, a New York Times column by David Brooks and a New Republic article, all published almost simultaneously this month. Depressingly predictable is […]