Thursday, September 26, 2013

Gotham Schools Brings Us the Important Issues

A few days ago, Tim Clifford wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek/ gallows humor analysis of the ponderous and convoluted evaluation system over at Gotham Schools. In order to make it a point-counterpoint kind of thing, the great minds running Gotham Schools saw fit to contrast it with a thoroughly humorless response (by teachers who may or may not be E4E) that does not actually much contradict what Clifford wrote. In fact, it even reinforces Clifford's notion that people choose six observations out of fear. Personally, I chose six too, but I'm not exactly sure why. Had my supervisor asked me to do a formal, I'd have been fine with that too.

The thing about Gotham Schools is when they're fortunate enough get a brilliant writer like Clifford rather than their much-favored E4E hacks, they can't just leave it be. They need to present the other point of view, whether or not there happens to be one. The fact is most working teachers look at this system as a preposterous and incomprehensible nuisance, which I think was reflected, though somewhat low-key, in the Clifford piece.

It's unfortunate that the Gotham "news" pieces, which are largely charter stories, have no balance whatsoever. Tuesday's stories were 50% charter. Monday's were 100%. Most city kids get little attention over there. Reading Gotham Schools, you'd have no notion of what's really going on or what's important to the vast majority of public schoolchildren. Contrast this with NY1, out there telling real stories about the abysmal conditions in Mayor Bloomberg's miserable moldy trailers, the ones he wouldn't place Eva Moskowitz in on a bet.

I can only suppose if Gotham were to write about real issues their funders would wonder how it was advancing their goals.  For them, what's important is privatization and a two-tier school system where working people choose from tests, tests, more tests, or enriching hedge-funders, Moskowitzes, and other non-educators.

It's supremely disappointing that reporters with such great potential, some of whom have actually accomplished groundbreaking things in the past, choose to dish out this soul-numbing, one-sided drek day after day. More disappointing are readers who believe they're getting a real picture of what's going on.
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