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Monday, May 23, 2011

More Tedium

The Seattle Times has published yet another moronic editorial about Seattle Public Schools.

This one reflects absolutely no knowledge or understanding of the test scores in our high schools, what those test scores mean, or what can be done to raise them.

Every comment to the editorial so far takes the Times to task for their poor understanding.

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At some point we need to talk seriously with the people at the Times to discover their major malfunction. Why do they have such a broken perception of education issues? Are they unduly influenced by the District leadership? Are they unduly influenced by some local big shots like the Alliance for Education? Are they unduly influenced by some outside entity such as the Gates Foundation? Are they just not very bright? Have they just not given these matters much thought? What, exactly, is going on?

It's not just that they write things from another perspective or that we don't agree politically; they have their facts wrong and their logic is dreadful. Is it a conscious choice or they just stupid? I can't tell.

14 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

I know how rude it is to write that the Seattle Times editorial board are stupid and their editorials about Seattle Public Schools are moronic, but I simply have no other explanation.

When something can only be attributed to either incompetence or evil, I generally presume people to be merely incompetent. Incompentence is so common and true evil is so rare, that the root causes is almost always incompentence rather than evil.

Anonymous said...

And this is surprising -- why? Standardized testing tells you nothing except that the company that created the test is wallowing in dollars from your school system that could have been spent on better things. Go after the scores and demand explanations. You'll get better answers by trying to read tea leaves. The Seattle Times reports exactly what is told to them by the school system. Get used to it.

The Favorite One

drwilda said...

Amen.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Mas, after having re-read my post, I realize it might look as if I were talking down to you. I was not, I assure you. I agree with everything you have said. I just got a little too sarcastic for my own good. Please forgive me.

The Favorite One

none1111 said...

When something can only be attributed to either incompetence or evil

How about a 3rd option: you write what you can because that's all that's going to pass through the editorial management filters.

Purely speculation of course, but one could continue to speculate about how the filters work, and whether they've been bought and paid for, but perhaps that's another post.

One might be tempted to call this "evil", but putting bread on one's table can be pretty compelling.

Patrick said...

None1111, sure the editorials pass through management before printing, but why is it in anyone's interest -- the Blethens or the editorial board -- to whitewash the schools?

none1111 said...

Patrick, that's a good question. But why is it in the best interest of any of the various organizations around town to whitewash the schools? And yet they do every day.

To hazard a guess (and I really dislike joining the choir on this one), money talks in this town, and there are powerful people with agendas.

Is there any more credible explanation?

someone said...

If you haven't already seen this, there's food for thought on why ST among many others don't question the status quo as much as they could - it's rather scary actually, how all the tenacles are so intertwined.

Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/education/22gates.html

SolvayGirl said...

There is also the fact that newspaper staffs have been reduced to nothing, leaving fewer writers to get the job done. I believe there is very little time for investigative work and it's just quicker and easier to paraphrase a press release.

Anonymous said...

After re-reading the editorial, it occurs to me that the Times may actually be insidiously inviting criticism of Susan Enfield.

The fact that they mention her prior job as CAO and and remind us how intimate she is with the problems (that she fired Martin Floe for) may be code for: What did you do about it when it was your job, Susan? They sure don't offer any ways that she had addressed the problems of underachievement and gaps.

I also find the term "dust up" rather sarcastic, in an encouraging way. No doubt, the Times helped Martin Floe's case significantly by headlining it for a week.

Now they are pretending to be back to their "fair and balanced" selves. But read it carefully, and you may see that they get it more than first appears.

Coming from no fan of the Times

Anonymous said...

More on what someone said about the NY Times article on Gates....

In regard to Gates Foundation influence on Education:

It was written on May 21....

"A document describing plans for the group, posted on a Washington Post blog in March, said it would mobilize local advocates, “establish strong ties to local journalists” and should “go toe to toe” with union officials in explaining contracts and state laws to the public.

But to avoid being labeled a “tool of the foundation,” the document said the group should “maintain a low public profile.

========
Here is my case:
The Seattle Times is a tool of the GATES foundation.

Look at the consistent stream of articles and editorials coming from the Seattle Times in regard to WA State education and intelligently apply the relevant data.

ST = Gates Foundation Tool.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Somewhat related - as most of you know, Seattle is not the only city battling this problem with media blindly parroting press releases. I thought you would appreciate this response to Arne Duncan's "Open letter to America's teachers", which is the same-ol', same-ol'. The response by David Reber is spot on, and a breath of fresh air.

http://www.examiner.com/k-12-in-topeka/mr-duncan-you-are-a-shining-example

-Perplexed

Jan said...

Bravo Perplexed! The article you link to is one of the best I have read.

Josh Hayes said...

It's impossible to understand what goes through the head(s) of the people responsible at the ST. I've had similar experiences trying to argue with creationists: no amount of empirical truth can dent their True Belief [tm]. I have to think that ST folks believe whatever the Gates folks tell them, because it's sure a bad move to diss billionaires. If it's about business, of course. If you think you should be telling the truth, well, that'd be different - but along with KUOW, the ST seems to have abandoned that idea.