Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Super-Reformy Chalkbeat Gives Both Reformy Sides

Naturally, I'm impressed that Chalkbeat went the extra mile, quoting not only Eva Moskowitz, but also the so-called Families for Excellent Schools, an astroturf org whose primary function appears to be supporting Moskowitz. Sometimes it's not enough to only get Eva's side, and it's important to also know how her professional cheering section feels. (In case you're wondering, they support her.) That way, we get a more thorough understanding of the pro-charter side of the issue.

What might you lose when you go out of your way to focus on both reformy sides? A commenter at Chalkbeat offers a taste:

This Chalkbeat article left out the information that Mayor de Blasio offered space to some of these charter schools and the charter schools rejected it because it was not in the expensive neighborhood where it would be much easier to market to the affluent students they prefer to teach.

Odd how the ace reporters at Gates-Walmart funded Chalkbeat forgot that part. Essentially, the story says that charters wish de Blasio to show his good will by giving up and surrendering space. Given the comment, I guess it can't just be any space. After all, Eva needs to be particular. And she can't really complete her rampant expansion plans without  precisely the right space for her private schools that can't be bothered following city regulations. So why shouldn't the taxpayers foot the bill so she can go wherever she goshdarn pleases? You can't expect Chalkbeat to delve too deeply into questions like those, because you know, their reporters are busy, and haven't got time to think about all that stuff.

The important thing, though, is that Eva get her space. After all, Mayor Bill de Blasio ran on an anti-charter platform and won an overwhelming victory, but screw him and everyone who voted for him (and don't even mention that, ever). Governor Cuomo mounted his white steed and rode to Eva's rescue, passing a law that NYC had to pay for Eva's charter schools whether the city wanted them or not. (And for the record, I don't recall UFT leadership raising a peep in protest.)

Not to belabor the point, but Chalkbeat reporters have a lot of things to do. It isn't easy running a Gates-Walton funded operation. They don't have time to find answers to nagging questions,  let alone speak to lowly teachers. If you read yesterday's comment section, you'll see they actually don't even know any, so they asked a commenter who teaches in LA whether he could put them in touch with NYC teachers. Because, you know, they're Very Important, and he's a teacher. Therefore he has nothing better to do than find them contacts in their own town. That's the sort of bold, proactive journalism we've come to expect from Chalkbeat.

In fact, because they pay a whole lot of people a whole lot of money, the charter folks have gotten this story out to a whole lot of local press. You'd think maybe Chalkbeat, with its sole focus on education, might provide a little more depth to the story, but you'd be wrong. From reading Chalkbeat, you'd think there was space all over the city, just waiting for Eva to appropriate it.

Evidently, Chalkbeat is unaware of issues like oversized classes and overcrowding, because honestly, who cares about that stuff? Not Walton and Gates, who fund Chalkbeat. So why should they bother looking into stuff like that? I mean, how would that help Families for Excellent Schools or Eva Moskowitz? How would it help E4E, the Gates-funded group Chalkbeat turns to when it needs the vital opinions of former teachers?

Here on planet earth, I work in a school that overcrowded to the point of bursting. We're slated to have over 4,700 students, more than ever, and I have no idea how we are going to accommodate them. With the help of UFT, we were able to negotiate an annex that will provide us with ten extra classrooms after we lose the trailers. But that will take a few years, and while we wait the DOE has generously provided up with hundreds of extra students, pretty much canceling the value of the extra space before we even get it.

But hey, why worry about that? The important thing is that Moskowitz get her space, and that paid charter shills drown out the voices of those of us who actually do this work. Why on earth would we give extra space to actual public school students? Who lobbies for them?

Actually I do. So do people like Leonie Haimson, Diane Ravitch, Carol Burris, Jeanette Deutermann and others. So do a whole lot of working teachers. What do they think about this?

If you're relying on Chalkbeat for information, you'll never find out.
blog comments powered by Disqus