‘ROUNDING THE GLOBE’-11: Critical analysis of Boston Globe education coverage
The RTT Script is Delivered
Please sit up straight and pay attention, because the script has now been written for the continuing Race To The Top (RTTT) competition and the Boston Globe helpfully delivered it to its readership in the form of an April 4 Op Ed (“The teacher challenge”) by Andy Smarick, former US deputy assistant secretary of education and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
The revolving door for conservative think-tanks continues to spin freely on the Globe op ed page.
The script was obvious that day last week that the first-round winners Delaware and Tennessee were announced. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan chose these states because these they have gone the furthest in tying teacher pay and student standardized test performance. The message to other contesting states drooling for this one-time bonanza is: get busy. It’s all so obvious. The Obama position is that testing data must determine teacher pay not collective bargaining and meaningful evaluation.
In a tone suggestive of speaking to second graders, Mr. Smarick sets out the script and assigns the parts. Our job is to memorize. Massachusetts could still win what one blogger called “the dash for the cash” if we just break those unions, get everyone in line, and let the dispassionate data rule.
The notion that a single standardized test is good enough to determine if kids should graduate from high school or how well teachers performs is ludicrous. This is all about undermining unions and attacking public education, both of which are goals that truly excite the American Enterprise Institute and its fellows.
However, as I am merely a self-appointed media critic of Globe education coverage, I will leave the substance of the counter-argument to others.
I just want to point out that there was another play in progress today, based on a different script.
At 4 pm this Tuesday, about a one-quarter mile from the Boston Globe, Diane Ravitch, eminent scholar of American education history and a former assistant secretary of education, spoke at the Boston Teachers’ Union hall. The former President of the Massachusetts Senate, Tom Birmingham, was in attendance, as were the school superintendents of Boston and Lowell. Did the Globe bother to send a reporter over? He or she could have walked. It was a beautiful day.
Ms. Ravitch is on a nationwide speaking tour. Her recent book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, will be ranked in 16th place on the New York Times bestseller list. She will speak at the Harvard Graduate School of Education tomorrow afternoon.
Unfortunately, she has not yet been invited to share her critique of education reform on the op ed pages of our regional newspaper. She has not yet had an opportunity to tell the Globe’s readership that we must resist take the federal RTTT bribe to do the wrong thing. Or to tell citizens that we must mobilize to defend public education.
Self-righteous newspapers give their readers scripts to follow. Courageous ones give their readers diverse ideas to think about.