Jon Brion – Play the Game
Once again, Howard Blume shows us in this YouTube video summary that yes, the media can, in fact, actually report education issues in a civilized and rational manner. His reasonableness applies not only to issues that are generally agreed upon by all (for example, more funding would definitely be a good thing), but also more contentious issues (such as charter schools – fast forward to about 1:20 to see).
Unfortunately, this method of reporting seems to be in the minority, as his colleagues have at times given up on taking nuanced positions in favor of headline-grabbing declarations, such as today’s “Teachers who just don’t care”. While I can empathize with the op-ed author’s frustration, expressing it in such virulent language does absolutely nothing to either inform or progress the conversation in a way than anyone desires.
And after being unsatisfied with the damage done after publishing their own value-added data rankings of LAUSD elementary teachers (see “Ratings, again” about halfway down the page), it looks as if some of the editors at the Times may now be trying to do the same using the district’s own value-added metric, which is designed to be confidential between teachers and principals (click to download our superintendent’s response).
While this move may sell some more newspapers (though I doubt why, given the newspaper industry’s brilliantly astigmatic decision to give all their content away for free online), it will do nothing to further the discussion in a meaningful way, but rather will only undercut and further polarize what it is that the district (perhaps galvanized by the Times’ first exposé into teacher rankings) is actually hoping to do.
Apparently, some folks need to have their cake, eat it too, and then vomit it all over the room.