Sep
01
2010

Knowledge Is Power-and So Is Ownership

This section was originally printed with Media's Favorite School 'Reformer'. The national charter school network KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) is frequently cited by media as an example of the cure for what ails the country’s schools. Few outlets are more zealous in this regard than Newsweek, which makes it noteworthy that KIPP’s D.C. branch boasts as a boardmember Donald Graham, chair of the Washington Post Co., owners of Newsweek until August 2010. (Also on the 12-member D.C. board are David Bradley, owner of the Atlantic, and Suzanne Clark, president of the National Journal Group.) Some of what Newsweek has […]

Sep
01
2010

'Race to the Top' and the Bill Gates Connection

Who gets to speak about what schools need?

Race to the Top (RTTT), announced by President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on July 24, 2009, is a $4.4 billion grant program generating more conversation than its relatively small money amount might suggest. What has people talking is its competitive structure that forces cash-strapped states to make radical changes in education in order to stay in the running—changes a National Research Council report (10/7/09) warned were not backed by research. Instead of dispersing grant money on the basis of greatest need, RTTT chooses a few winners based on the degree to which the states deliver what […]

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 […]

Aug
01
2009

NYT Grades Charter Schools on the Curve

Covering the official spin on education 'reform'

There was something particularly Timesian about the New York Times’ response to an important new study on charter schools—public schools that operate under special rules, seen by some as the main engine of reform for a fundamentally dysfunctional educational system and by others as a thinly veiled effort to drain resources from existing public schools and disempower teachers’ unions. The paper demonstrated both its blinkered deference to official spin and the so-called “liberal” media’s desire to have it all ways editorially, earning conservative credits for supporting “reform” while attaching a fig leaf of concern for any harmful fallout. The peer-reviewed […]

Jul
24
2009

David Swanson on healthcare reform, Harold Meyerson on California's budget crisis

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: "Obama May Have To Wait for Health Reform" explained one July 22 headline. Leave it to corporate media to take a life-and-death issue for millions of Americans and reduce it to an item on a president's wish list. But if they're going to mainly cover healthcare policy as inside the Beltway politicking, how good a job are they doing even of that? We'll hear from activist and author David Swanson about the current state of play in healthcare reform efforts and what the media may have to do with it. Also on the show: […]