Thursday, June 19, 2014

Chalkbeat NY---All the Reformy News that Fits

I rarely read Chalkbeat anymore. I appreciate that they send me their Rise and Shine every morning, as I'm kind of an ed. news junkie, but I haven't got the time to plod through their ponderous site and figure out what is new, what is recycled, and what is just glitzy nonsense. The comments on the sidebar used to grab me, but they're not there anymore. Nonetheless, when I see links like this one on Facebook or Twitter, I check them out.

Apparently, a bunch of reformy folks got together and criticized the UFT Contract for not being draconian enough. I'm the first to credit the Chalkbeat staff for their keen perception of the obvious. Michelle Rhee's brainchild, TNTP, and whatever Rheeplacement leader they have determine it doesn't benefit kids. Chalkbeat offers typically trenchant commentary:

The criticism is unsurprising...

I imagine someone at Chalkbeat shouting stop the presses, even though it's a blog. Another brilliant pundit suggests that if the city pays teachers more, there will be less money to pay for other things. Naturally I'm amazed by his financial acumen, and grateful that Chalkbeat deemed his insight worth sharing. I would never have guessed if you spent money on one thing you could not spend it on another.

Yet another pundit suggests that people who have relationships sometimes disagree. I was poised to read about how the world would be better if people were nicer, but alas, no one saw fit to inform the reporter.

The thing that most amazed me, though, was that anyone sees a bunch of reformy people saying reformy things as news. Chalkbeat is the outfit that brought us the world-shattering news that 100 E4E members supported more work for less pay, or some other such thing. I actually asked whether anyone could send a petition signed by 100 people and have it merit a story. One of their writers said yes it did.

At the time, NYC was having ESL teachers grade English Regents exams of schools that contained high percentages of ESL students. My large school had more ESL students than many of those schools, but a lower percentage. I got 100 signatures asking that ESL teachers grade ESL papers citywide. It took me about an hour.

Chalkbeat, or Gotham, or whatever they were called that week, had a reporter call me. She asked me for other names to contact and I gave them to her. She never followed up and the story never appeared.

Because, like UFT rallies when they can't be bothered to walk around the block from their office, such things are not reformy enough to tell people about. It's a shame that an education news outlet with such potential sees fit to push the corporate junk science agenda rather than informing those of us who really care not only about education, but also the overwhelming majority of American kids being educated.
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