More Bad Journalism about Bad Edu-Books (and Why the New Media Can Rock)

So Ed Boland wrote a really bad edu-book that all the mainstream media adores because, well, you know, nobody gives a crap what a teacher thinks, but let ANYbody dip a toe in education who isn’t an educator and then everyone is all gaga.

Like our old reliable bad journalism source, The New York TimesThe Myth of the Hero Teacher (note the very serious and pensive opening photo).

But this will be a short post, one that simply notes that I have told you so, again and again—mainstream journalism about education is godawful.

I also want to turn your eyes to the promise of the New Media, where two posts have addressed the bad journalism and bad edu-book very well, I think:

My fear is that this will book will be used as another weapon in assaults on public schools and teacher certification programs. I have no question there are public schools that are not functioning and should be closed, although it would not be fair to make a judgment based on Boland’s report. Boland says he is in no way blaming the students, they are the victims of poverty. He claims the book is about his personal catharsis and is an indictment of the conditions that produce this kind of student behavior. But that is not how it comes across in interviews or what sells books. The focus in “The Battle for Room 314” is on the horrors Boland feels he experienced because of the students and he offers a detailed description of their behavior, at least as he understood it.

The desire for “control” runs through all of our education saviors. Mark Zuckerberg’s well-meaning $100 million gift to the Newark public schools assumed that they could move teachers and families out of the way to make room for his version of “reform.”…

People like Ed Boland and these other reformers are not saviors. They are education tourists. Boland has used his year as an education tourist to launch a book that’s been reviewed everywhere, and is now a sought after public speaker, a supposed expert on education and our educational system.

This is like a student pilot who crashes on his inaugural flight being asked by the FAA about aeronautical safety.

More and more I’m starting to think we need someone who can save us from the saviors.

If you must continue your relationship with mainstream media, add the habit of seeking out the much more nuanced and well informed New Media, please?

4 comments

  1. Michael Harrison

    It is disappointing that someone with a broad audience would spend a single year as a teacher and claim that he has gained some insight into our educational system. It is even more disappointing that people would give credence to the “insight” he allegedly gained.

  2. Pingback: Paul Thomas: Bad Journalism and the “Hero Teacher” | Diane Ravitch's blog
  3. Becca Leech

    I’m just as concerned by the offhand comments embedded in articles that aren’t even about education. Did you read Peggy Noonan’s op-ed piece in the WSJ this weekend that was ostensibly about the rise of the unprotected classes, but contained a paragraph buried toward the end that used, as an example of how the elites ignore unprotected peoples,- “In places with failing schools, they choose not to help them through the school liberation movement – charter schools, choice, etc. – because they fear to go up against the most reactionary group in America, the teachers unions. They let the public schools flounder. But their children go to the best private schools.”
    I mean, really, “school liberation movement”??? This narrative of teachers with an agenda of reducing the quality of education isn’t even logical. How does it persist? Surely we can do something other than just stop reading these outlets. They are everywhere, and insidiously working to embed bias against teachers among Noonan’s “protected” class- those who hold the power (the kind of power I have never seen wielded by teachers unions.)

  4. Pingback: Ed News, Tuesday, March 1, 2016 Edition | tigersteach

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