Sunday, April 02, 2017

Chalkbeat NY--From Reforminess to White Supremacy

Chalkbeat NY has been showing its colors for years now, but has managed to reach a new low. That's not easy. I once wrote for them, back when they were Gotham Schools, and was subject to the most brutal editing process I've ever experienced. (I found this curious because there was some reformy teacher guy who wrote abject nonsense for them that appeared to flow freely without regard to accuracy, and they had no issue running a blatantly stereotypical takedown of ATR teachers.)

I've always questioned their judgment in links, but it has now started directing its readers to ultra-right wing Breitbart. (It now labels it a "national news organization aimed at ultra-conservatives," but that's not what it said the first time I saw the link. It called them simply "advocates.") For years I'd noticed them linking to every single NY Post editorial on the perfidy of teachers. It made no difference how nonsensical or baseless the attack. Of course every time the preposterous Gates-funded "Educators 4 Excellence" sneezed, there was Chalkbeat NY ready to report where every drop landed.

Naturally, when self-appointed education expert Campbell Brown started a reformy website, Chalkbeat NY eagerly linked to it. I often see "The 74" there, and I figure if that's what their readers want, well, they can have it.

But Breitbart is not merely reformy, or "aimed at ultra-conservatives." It's a veritable cesspool of hatred, and how the hell New York City's students, most of color, are supposed to be served by presenting Breitbart as a worthy source eludes me utterly. I mean, sure you can say "alt-right" instead of white supremacist, but at the end of the day you have to call a bigot a bigot, an anti-Semite an anti-Semite, and a racist a racist. I don't tolerate that in my classroom, but of course I'm a teacher. What could I possibly know about education? That's why you won't see me in Chalkbeat anymore.

Chalkbeat's got a very different point of view, and just blew Trump's Education Secretary Betsy DeVos a big old wet kiss.  Betsy's done a heckuva job in Detroit, and wants to introduce that particular brand of wonder and beauty to America as a whole. While students just like ours try to motivate through neglected rat-infested public schools or abysmal charters with no accountability, you can be sure Betsy's BFFs are profiting handsomely off the misery of the children she claims to be serving.

Donald Trump is a textbook bigot. He appeals to the worst of people, and has managed to capitalize on religious hatred. He has Breitbart founding member Steve Bannon in the West Wing. Does anyone seriously believe that Donald Trump is looking out for the welfare of the kids we serve? Does anyone think that Betsy DeVos holds some exalted philosophy that sets her apart from Trump and Bannon? And if she does, why on earth did she accept a job working for them? I mean sure, she gave hundreds of millions of dollars to GOP pols and bought the gig fair and square, but does anyone believe her philosophy is fundamentally superior to that of the people who placed her where she wanted to be?

Maybe Chalkbeat NY does. Evidently Chalkbeat NY thinks it's perfectly fine to link to "alt-right" sources. Certainly Chalkbeat NY has a right to its point of view. Certainly Chalkbeat NY represents someone.

But whoever that may be, it sure as hell isn't NY City's 1.1 million public schoolchildren.
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