Valerie Strauss, the Washington Post’s other education writer*, takes a look at Education Nation and says it’s not the “ï»¿fair, serious look at public education today” NBC claimed it would be.
It wasn’t even close.
The events, panels and discussions were sharply tilted toward Obama’s school reform agenda — focused in part on closing failing schools, expanding charter schools and using standardized test scores to evaluate teachers. It gave short shrift to the enormous backlash against the plan from educators and parents around the country who say that Obama’s education priorities won’t improve schools but will narrow curriculum and drive good teachers out of the profession.
NBC seemed to take for granted that Obama’s education policies are sound and will be effective. Seasoned journalists failed to ask hard questions and fell all over their subjects to be sympathetic. It was a forum for people to repeatedly misstate the positions of their opponents.
Exactly! Outside of the Teacher Town Hall from last Sunday, it’s nearly impossible to find any voices at Education Nation advocating for anything other than that which solidifies the status quo. Re-creating schools straight out of Leave it to Beaver.
The rest of her assessment of what passes for reform these days is also excellent.
In fact, Strauss only misses on two minor points.
First, there’s really nothing new here. Obama’s education policies are pretty much a carbon copy of those imposed by the previous administration.
Second, she comes to this incorrect conclusion.
ï»¿There will come a time when this current wave of “reform” proves as unsuccessful as past fads — and journalists may look back on their fawning coverage and be very, very sorry that they gave their objectivity on this subject.
This wave of reform will certainly fail but don’t look for journalists, least of all the ones at NBC, to be sorry about any part of their crappy coverage of the topic.
By that time they will be creating a whole new narrative, likely also divorced from objectivity.
*and Jay Mathews’ heir apparent?