Blog: The Educated Reporter
This excellent AP story by Libby Quaid and Donna Blankinship about the Gates Foundation’s huge influence on education policy made me even more concerned that many (though not all) reporters tell me how hard it is to get foundation staff to call them back. Today I spoke with Chris Williams, the Gates media officer handling K-12 education. (He returned my call the day I placed it.)
Some of Lamar Alexander’s article in the October 20 issue of Newsweek didn’t work for me (primarily, his attempt to scare people by insisting health care reform will drive up college costs), but he raises a good point when he suggests colleges run a full program year-round. I got a lot done on my summers off from college—performed surgery on lab rats, did PR for a children’s theater, served Fribbles at Friendly’s, wrote mediocre metro stories for the Middletown Press.
In responses to our survey of people who have used the public editor resource, several mentioned they would like a clearer explanation of what I can help with.
Secretary Duncan came down on teachers colleges yesterday. This isn’t a new concern. Yet I don’t think I have EVER read a piece in the media about what exactly people learn, and don’t learn, at schools of education. Can we fix that?
Okay, so I admit I’m always a little taken aback when I am visiting a school and see Latina kindergartners wearing frilly dresses and high heels. I’ve heard more than one teacher snicker at this; it makes it hard to sit criss-cross applesauce and participate in P.E. But after EWA’s meeting on Latino youth issues with the Pew Hispanic Center earlier this month, I get it.
Hours after starting my blog, I heard from Jerry Bracey. If you are an education reporter at any sizable media outlet and never heard from Jerry Bracey, I am surprised. He dedicated himself to correcting, not always politely, what he saw as misinformation in education research and journalism. As a frequent recipient of his long analyses, let me tell you, he found misinformation everywhere.
In his education speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in March, President Obama said, “From the moment students enter a school, the most important factor in their success is not the color of their skin or the income of their parents. It’s the person standing at the front of the classroom.”
To put it bluntly: “He’s wrong.”
When my brother Rick and I were in third grade, we had a teacher named Mrs. Frankiewicz. Mrs. Frankiewicz used to say that she never made mistakes—just once in a blue moon. One day, when she wrote something incorrectly on the board, my brother pronounced, “The blue moon has come!” (Genius then, genius now.) So “the blue moon has come” is the Perlsteinian term for hell freezing over.