PBS Frontline took a look at the record of "school reformer" and media darling Michelle Rhee. We'll get a reaction from Diane Ravitch. And a government anti-trust investigation of Google seems to be over. Siva Vaidhyanathan talks about the company's dominance--and what it means.
The Quebec student strike in Anglo-American corporate media
When Quebec students went on strike last spring in protest over an announced 75 percent tuition hike—part of a package of austerity measures by Quebec’s provincial government—U.S. media paid scant attention. The six-month-long strike was the largest and longest student strike in North American history; hundreds of thousands of Québécois repeatedly took to the streets, with thousands arrested. Yet the strike elicited not a single story from any of the three major U.S. broadcast networks, PBS NewsHour or the Washington Post. In Morning Edition’s sole story on the Quebec student movement (5/15/12), NPR’s David Greene characterized the protests against the [...]
A Hurricane Sandy-interrupted edition of the show. With travel and power problems in New York City, this week we bring you two recent interviews from the CounterSpin archives. Also this week: One major issue where the candidates' views overlap is education policy.
Journalists take sides in Chicago strike
Among corporate media pundits, hostility towards teachers’ unions spans the ideological spectrum (Extra!, 9/10). And in supposedly straight news reporting, the policy goals of corporate “reformers”―support for charter schools and teacher ratings based on standardized test statistical models―are treated as common sense instead of contested and controversial. So when the Chicago Teachers Union went out on strike this September, it was never in doubt which side the corporate media would take. The story of Chicago, as they framed it, was that well-paid teachers in an underperforming, cash-strapped school system wanted more money, and opposed any attempt to hold them accountable [...]
This week on CounterSpin: The biggest fight the striking Chicago Teachers Union face is with the school district and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. But the story has exposed, once again, that corporate media have little good to say about organized teachers. We'll talk to Kevin Kumashiro of the University of Illinois-Chicago about what the fight in Chicago is really about. Also on CounterSpin: In a campaign in which economic issues play prominently, the issue of poverty, affecting huge numbers of Americans is almost totally ignored: A new FAIR study finds poverty has been discussed in just 0.2 percent of campaign [...]
Austerity, immigration are the real civil rights issues
During recent campaigning, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have appealed to the Latino community by acknowledging the “Latino education crisis.” Romney told the conservative Latino Coalition that the poor track record of schools serving students of color is “the civil rights issue of our era” (New York Times, 5/24/12). He identified teacher unions as the obstacles to reform (Washington Post, 5/23/12): “The teachers’ unions don’t fight for our children.” His prescription included a federal school voucher program and the expansion of non-union charter schools. Obama has also linked educational reform to civil rights themes (New York Times, [...]
Banning books that promote 'ethnic solidarity'
Orwell observed in his dystopian masterpiece 1984 that "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." As America’s demographic landscape continues to undergo a significant shift toward a more multicultural—and multicolored—reality, political forces representing the past are doing their utmost to superimpose that past onto the future by “disappearing” inconvenient facts of history. In January, the school board in Arizona’s Tucson Unified School District shut down that city’s Ethnic Studies/Mexican American Studies curriculum, with the state’s school superintendent, John Huppenthal, declaring that it violated a recent Arizona state law that prohibits courses placing “ethnic [...]
Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: With candidates from both parties supporting corporate-minded education reform to varying degrees, and with media often skittish about stepping outside the box of the candidates' views, this election season doesn't look good for advocates of strong public education. We’ll buck the trend with an interview with Diane Ravitch, professor and historian of education at New York University, and the author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. Also on the show: U.S. negotiators have been extra secretive about a trade deal they've been [...]