Thursday, August 24, 2017

All the Cluelessness That's Fit to Print

A few days ago, Diane Ravitch wrote about the NY Times and Trump. They oppose him, both on their editorial and op-ed pages. Ravitch gives particular attention to Charles Blow. Sometimes I like him, but not always. Ravitch herself wrote about him and how misinformed he is on the topic of reforminess. For me, once people spout reforminess, it's hard to take anything they say seriously. This is especially true when being well-informed is a crucial factor of their job description.

Of course Blow is not the only Times op-ed writer who adores all things reformy. Nicholas Kristof, like Eva Moskowitz, doesn't favor teacher certification. Now we all understand Eva wants cheap, replaceable teachers. If she could simply open up a new can every time she needed a few fresh ones, surely she'd be happy. Kristof, on the other hand, is ridiculous and illogical to the point of contending that teacher certification kept Meryl Streep and Colin Powell from becoming NYC teachers.

Have you noticed Streep and Powell coming to your school asking for work? Are their CVs on your principal's desk? Hey, I know it's a strain for Kristof to bang out 700 words twice a week. That's one heckuva burden. Perhaps all that work has addled his brain. Or maybe, just maybe, we need to be united in something more than opposition to Donald Trump.

Every reformy I know of opposes Trump. Even hyper-opportunist Eva Moskowitz was shamed into saying something negative about him after he vilified people who oppose white supremacy. But we have to be careful before we determine they're our friends. A while back I was Facebook friends with a whole lot of people who opposed Common Core. It was pretty clear, to me at least, that a lot of right-leaning people who opposed it would've embraced it had it not been pushed by Barack Obama. I mean, it was nice agreeing about Common Core, but all in all we don't see eye to eye.

I have a similar issue with opinion writers who oppose Trump but embrace all things reformy. These are people who either can't be bothered with cursory research or choose not to accept it. What's the fundamental difference between them and the climate change deniers? How are their beliefs more acceptable than those of people who think the earth was created 600 years ago, or whatever?

They don’t like Trump. We don’t like Trump. But they go along with nonsense like Common Core and charters. This is pretty much what Hillary did, and what she ran on. And this watered down wimpy nonsense is precisely what placed Donald Trump in the White House. Now they're all on their high horses, telling us how bad he is.

Truth is not a box of chocolates. You don't get to bite into one and place it back into the box half-eaten if you don't like it. There are no "alternative facts." You have to pretty much take it all, whether you like it or not, and deal with it. I voted for Hillary against Donald Trump, but I was sickened by her failure to embrace universal health care, college for all, and a living wage. Most Americans favor it, and a whole lot need it.

The point is we’re gonna have to do better in providing a vision for the future, because theirs has failed spectacularly. You can't come into an election with half-assed warmed-over platitudes and say, "Trump sucks so vote for us." More importantly, you can't present yourself as an authority and then pontificate on topics about which you know nothing.

A free press is vital to a democracy. The outrageous ignorance of NY Times columnists is most definitely one of the things that's brought us where we are today. On education, at least, their editorial staff is no better. Their education reporting, with notable exceptions, can be the very worst of any NY paper. On ATRs, it's little better than reformy Chalkbeat.

If we want to educate our children, and if we want to beat Trump and his merry band of white supremacist apologists, we're gonna need better from the "paper of record."
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