I like to listen to KUOW's Friday morning round-up of news. It's generally lively and interesting.
I only caught part of this morning's but the part I caught really bothered me because of what I heard.
The discussion was about the alleged cheating by the Bellevue High football staff who were running a "diploma mill" for students they recruited for the football team. It is alleged that those students were attending a private school that was being paid for by team boosters or someone else. It does not appear the students went to real classes or even had teachers all the time. Bellevue has had a winning football program for many years with, at one time, a 67-game winning streak.
The pundits were asked about what should happen to the Bellevue program, given that Bellevue had won games with these students playing. ( I note KUOW also had the H.G. Bissinger, noted author of Friday Night Lights, about Texas high school football).
So in jumps Joni Balter who gives a pretty strange analogy and manages to (I think) to disparage someone. (Balter used to be at the Times but does a variety of writing/advising, mostly on politics.)
She first said that you need high school sports because kids don't
get enough PE/exercise and we have an obesity program in our country. (That's true but I would point out that the kids who want
to participate in sports are generally those that would exercise even if
there were no school sports. All kids need PE.)
She then goes onto this
comparison between the Bellevue football situation and the Garfield
choir field trip situation. She said that the Garfield teacher needed
to go because of her actions but not the entire Garfield music program and that the Bellevue football
staff/coach needed to be disciplined, not the entire football program.
(Unfortunately for Balter and the Bellevue High football program, the coaches knew the rules and those rules include revocation of games if your program breaks them. It doesn't end your high school's football program - it takes away wins.)
My issue is Balter equating what Garfield teacher Carol Burton did on one field trip (using poor judgment) to what the Bellevue High football staff allegedly did,
long-term, to deceive their district and their league to win games, year after year.
I continue to believe Ms. Burton should not have been fired. I continue to believe that someone at JSCEE should have been disciplined or fired if Ms. Burton was. No one at JSCEE was fired for this incident and it's unclear if anyone got any sanctions.
I personally believe that Balter defamed Burton with her statements, given how different the two situations are. Burton has enough problems without other people making it sound like she purposely tried to deceive the district. There is zero evidence of that.
I don't think KUOW realizes that the pundits they have on Friday mornings are people their listeners trust with information. They should be people who the public can trust to couch their comments if they are expressing an opinion. (I also wish that pundits would not weigh in on subjects that they truly know very little about like public education but that's another issue.)