Sep 01 2010

First, Bash the Teachers

Media find a scapegoat for educational failure

Writing on the Wall Street Journal editorial page (10/1/09) under the headline “How Teachers Unions Lost the Media,” two education writers praised the press for turning on teachers, showing a “new attitude” that is in sync with today’s politics: Editorial pages of major papers nationwide have begun to demand accountability for schools, despite objections from vested interests. Since the Obama administration took an unexpectedly tough line on school reform, the elite media response has been overwhelmingly positive. But it’s hard to imagine that many people who follow the media would consider this much of a surprise. In fact, one of […]

Sep 01 2010

FAIR Interview with Jonathan Kozol on media and education:

‘A Deeper Truth Than Newspapers and Networks Are Likely to Provide’

Few have championed the rights of children or humanized the need for decent, equitable education like author Jonathan Kozol. In a wide-ranging interview with FAIR’s Steve Rendall, Kozol discussed media coverage of the system’s problems and the radical potential of education. The following is adapted from that conversation.   On the state of education policy The most alarming news regarding public education in America is that the White House, under Barack Obama, has continued most of the benighted policies of the Bush administration, and many of its proposals are likely to worsen those positions. First of all, we’re still faced, […]

Sep 01 2010

Teach for America’s Opaque Agenda

Journalist Barbara Miner confronts a media darling

Photo Credit: Teach For America

Teach for America is Exhibit A for the corporate media’s notion that an army of talented teachers stands waiting to take on the most difficult schools—if only the unions would get out of the way. The Peace Corps-modeled project in which college graduates do two-year stints in low-income schools has been a feel-good media topic since the group’s 1990 founding by young Princeton grad Wendy Kopp. But where does TFA really fit in the debate over education reform? What happens when reporters try to find out? In an interview with CounterSpin (4/16/10), Barbara Miner of Rethinking Schools differentiated between Teach […]

Sep 01 2010

Media’s Favorite School ‘Reformer’

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee

After Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty pushed for a mayoral takeover of the city’s school system and dissolved the school board, he chose a relative unknown to take charge. But it wouldn’t take long before she would become a national media darling. Fenty’s pick was Michelle Rhee, a Teach for America graduate who had taught for only three years at urban schools in Baltimore before founding a non-profit organization, The New Teacher Project (TNTP), where she spent the next 10 years. Under Rhee’s leadership, TNTP promoted the idea that since good education came from good teachers, the way to improve […]

Jul 02 2010

Nancy Altman on deficits and Social Security, Alfie Kohn on education

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: a special look at two issues that seem to bring out the worst in the corporate media. First up, the deficit. Worrying about the budget deficit is a corporate media staple, so President Obama’s deficit commission must appear a godsend. Early reports are that Social Security cuts, another media obsession, have become the commission’s main focus. Somewhat tellingly, the commission has announced that it will not be reporting on its recommendations until after the November elections. We’ll talk about the President’s commission, social security, public opinion and the media, with Nancy Altman, the co-director […]

Apr 16 2010

Ben Lilliston on genetically engineered foods, Barbara Miner on Teach for America

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: A New York Times report gives the impression that the debate over genetically engineered foods is largely over; the paper’s writeup of new research says that, despite some caveats and critics’ warnings, GE crops are good for the environment and the economy. Others come away with more questions than answers though. We’ll hear from Ben Lilliston of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Also on CounterSpin today: On the surface, Teach for America sounds like a great idea: sending bright young college grads into needy schools to teach. But there’s much more to […]

Nov 20 2009

Jodi Jacobson on the Stupak amendment, Barbara Miner on ‘merit pay’

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The Stupak Amendment, a last-minute addition to the House’s recently passed healthcare reform plan, would severely restrict abortion coverage for those on the “public option” part of the plan and those buying private insurance using government money. Many House Democrats journalists and pundits have portrayed Stupak as a sacrifice that must be made to get healthcare reform. Reproductive health advocates and many others differ. We’ll talk with Jodi Jacobson, editor of the RH Reality Check website. Also on CounterSpin today, there’s a lot of talk in the media about education reform. That can mean […]

Aug 07 2009

Alfie Kohn on education ‘reform,’ Iyanna Jones on ‘Disappearing Voices’

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Charter schools raise a lot of concerns for educators interested in the future of truly public education; the corporate press have tended more toward boosterism of charters and their high profile promoter, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. That’s the subject of a story in the current issue of Extra! and CounterSpin discussed the phenomenon on the occasion of Duncan’s nomination with education expert Alfie Kohn, author of The Schools Our Children Deserve, among other titles. We’ll hear that conversation with Alfie Kohn this week. Also on the show: Press handling of the arrest of […]