Blog: The Educated Reporter
You know that when Mike Petrilli and I talked about the future of education journalism on this Education Next podcast, I meant to say “do more with less,” right?
P.S. My hair looked much better on CNN. And about that bulky sweater: I should have known better.
I saw a story the other day—kills me that I can’t remember where—that described charter schools as funded by a combination of public and private funds. That’s often the truth, isn’t it, at least among the high-performing charters people want to replicate? Yet they are almost never described that way in the press; the shorthand description is usually that charters are “public schools that operate with public funds free from many of the strictures of the school district,” or something like that.
Sometimes turnaround guru Justin Cohen and I are simply on the same wavelength. The same time he was writing this, I was having an e-mail conversation with a friend about the lack of progress in figure skating. The topic was areas that have failed to innovate over time, and my mind immediately went to figure skating.
One of the perils of working from home is that when a CNN producer asks you to come on air in two hours, chances are that your hair, not to mention your eyebrows, will be a hot mess. But hey, I welcome any chance to inject my form of reality into the education conversation.
Katy bar the door: Rick Hess is blogging! Rick is skeptical of fads (no matter which “side” they emerge from), well-informed and sometimes very right. Like, how can I not be excited to hear him articulate this?:
“For what it’s worth, I find K-12 schooling to be one of the few places in life where we suffer a shortage of cynics and skeptics. The cost is a dearth of observers willing to deliver some bitter medicine to a sector gorged on saccharine sentiment.”
Once all students graduate high school able to enter college without needing remedial classes, then we can talk about getting rid of senior year. But I missed the part where we educated students so well that they couldn’t possibly benefit from a fourth year of high school. If senior year is a waste of time, wouldn’t the right answer be making it better, rather than trying to save money by canning it?
Just so you know where I am coming from: I grew up playing and watching lots of sports, and will never forget the lineup of the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers, but in my adulthood I have grown ambivalent if not a bit hostile to the attention and money Americans expend on professional and pseudo-professional (i.e. college) athletics.
This week’s New York Times Magazine has an enlightening piece by Russell Shorto about the frighteningly political process for curriculum adoption in Texas—which has ripples throughout the country, because as the Lone Star State goes, so go textbook publishers everywhere.
Knowing nothing but the zillion things I have read, and setting aside that the charter schools themselves are somewhat of a mystery to me, I think the Harlem Children’s Zone is all sorts of awesome.
A new study from the Civil Rights Project has gotten people talking—or should I say snickering? At National Journal, the analysts pile on, criticizing (fairly so) that the report’s main point is a heaping helping of No Duh: Schools designed as alternatives for children in overwhelmingly minority areas have student populations that are—get this!—overwhelmingly minority.
Does anybody ever read a press release? Is that even a remotely effective way to get your message out to journalists? Do PR people think about whether the recipients of their releases would really, truly be interested in them? Did the person who sent me a release about this have any idea I would only publicize it in order to mock it? (Oh, any press is good press, I know.)