Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Depths of the Stupidity of the Seattle Times Editorial Board

I have read some genuinely stupid things in the Seattle Times, most of them on the Editorial page, but this editorial takes the cake.

The Times writes:
Sounding the alarm on consistently low test scores should result in more attention paid to struggling students. Contrary to what wary teachers unions believe, the issue is less about getting rid of teachers and more about catching flailing students before they drown.
How thick are they?

How thick do they think we are?

If the use of value-added analysis were primarily to identify struggling students then why hasn't the District been using it for that purpose?

More to the point, if the use of value-added data were about students' education instead of teachers' jobs, then why is it in the teachers' contract? Why does it only appear in this context and no other?

Finally, what will the District do with these "flailing" students after they catch them?

Just when you think the Seattle Times cannot write anything more gullible, disingenuous, or stupid than what they have already written, they go and amaze you.

11 comments:

Melissa Westbrook said...

An excerpt from my comments to this editorial:

What is that whiff in the air? Ah, it is the smell of desperation as the Times tries over and over, via its own flaccid editorials as well as the editorials by the Seattle establishment, to try to get traction that they are right.

The Times could be right but it is VERY hard to take them seriously when they don't even ATTEMPT to take an even-handed look at the issues, report on them and THEN do sincere analysis before they publish their opinions.

Thick? Stupid? Hard-headed? Willingly ignorant? Disingenuous?

Hard to say.

dan dempsey said...

Perhaps we could get the Times to push the Value Added Model ... but instead of applying it to Teachers apply it to the Superintendent's discriminatory High School Math materials?

Check it out here.

Eric M said...

Perhaps the Superintendent and School Board plan to help struggling students with a private party with carving station, a band, and $100 gift certificates.

That would be perfectly in keeping with her one-size-fits-all, what's good reading for students are Rainier Beach is good at Roosevelt, accountability-for-all plan.

You! Kids with the bad teacher! Get to the carving station! NOW!

:)

LA Teacher's Warehouse said...

“Doubt and skepticism are signs of rationality.” Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, page 2.

kprugman said...

iag Diane, you put your objective cloak on and finally understand the problem.

LA Teacher's Warehouse said...

Back to the editorial. This is just spin. It's exactly what I expected from the ed reformers--actually, you're seeing it all across the web and, of course, in the traditional MSM. The SEA has its own spin, too.

The reality is that the contract was a compromise for both sides. That is the nature of bargains. No side ever gets all it wants, and both sides view the contract as imperfect. Both sides are dissatisfied, even as both sides declare victory.

This is not over. The district caved, the union caved--take your pick. Both sides are coming back to the conflict, and the intensity of conflict will rise soon enough.

The SEA could have gotten an even better contract if it had been politically strong. Unfortunately, it is politically weak due to years of being led by politically naive and inept leaders. That has not changed. Some people see SEE as an alternative, but they are equally, if not more, naive.

The place to begin is for Olga Addae and Jonathan Knapp to admit to themselves that they need to learn from those who have extensive experience in the real world of politics. For example, they don't have the foggiest idea of how to support a political campaign or to organize a ground campaign for a candidate. They need to learn and to stop thinking they know better.

SEE, in case anyone thinks they're a viable alternative, also doesn't have the foggiest idea of how to support a serious political campaign or to organize a ground campaign for a candidate. I'm sorry to be the one to say this, but it's time for everyone to let go of childish pride and to figure out how to make the SEA a politically effective organization. Only then will we have better contracts.

gavroche said...

LA Teacher's Warehouse said...

SEE, in case anyone thinks they're a viable alternative, also doesn't have the foggiest idea of how to support a serious political campaign or to organize a ground campaign for a candidate.


That's not what I've heard. In fact, some SEE members have been involved in political campaigns already.

What are you referring to exactly?

Check out what recently happened within the teacher's union in Chicago with the election of Karen Lewis of CORE. (http://coreteachers.com/category/chicago-teachers-union/)

What makes you think that can't happen here?

LA Teacher's Warehouse said...

"In fact, some SEE members have been involved in political campaigns already."

Which ones?

"What are you referring to exactly?"

I'm speaking of campaigns for public office, such as the legislature, school board, city council, etc.

Teachers, as a political constituency, have been weak. That needs to change. They need to stop assuming the SEA and WEA will do their political work for them. They need to work on campaigns and influence elections. I get that teachers are busy--extremely busy. So maybe they devote four hours a year to supporting a campaign--that would be more than many are doing now.

"What makes you think that can't happen here?"

I know what happened in Chicago. Seattle isn't Chicago (thank goodness!), and there is no Karen Lewis here. The idea that SEE will take over the SEA is a pipe dream. For one thing, the contract, while imperfect, wasn't imperfect enough to cause widespread discontent. For another thing, the SEE leadership is too radical for Seattle teachers. Finally--and I'm trying to be kind--the political associations and histories of SEE leadership will be exposed if they attempt a takeover of the SEA.

WenD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WenD said...

I stopped paying attention to the editorial page of the Times years ago, mainly due to their political endorsements. Many key endorsements were over the top and the opposite of reality. There's opinion based on weighing the evidence. Then there's endorsing someone in spite of evidence to the contrary. This isn't opinion. It’s PR that runs contrary to the civic responsibilities the Times pretends to fulfill.

Journalism has changed, and this blog is evidence of that change. The relevance of city dailies has diminished. Dailies like the Times and what's left of the P-I rely on bloggers for local news, and that’s ok, as long as they’re delivering news in its purest form. Gads, many former career journalists are bloggers. What drives me away from papers like the Times is their insistence on using the editorial page for blatant PR. This is nothing new, but I don't have to buy it.

Every generation gets to parse the Heart-style journalism of the day. In terms of hard-core players, Times can't hold a candle to the deceptive propaganda of FOX or the hard-right stance of the Wall Street Journal opinion page. Still, journalists who aren't writing or investigating often find their best paychecks in PR. The Times is no exception to this widespread practice. It's a service they provide, to the "community."

Charlie Mas said...

Actually, talk about unaccountable, when does the Seattle Times editorial board ever have to engage the community about their opinions? They don't. They never have to defend their opinions or support their assertions with facts, details or logic. They can say whatever they want and - no matter how many people disagree with them in the online comments, the Times statement is louder and reaches further than a hundred comments proving them wrong.