Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Daily News Lies, Another NYC Public School Dies



Once again, the Daily News has run an editorial following in fawning lockstep behind the Bloomberg/Klein schools agendea. This time, the subject is the new, “value-added” teacher report cards that claim to reduce teachers’ effectiveness to quantifiable measures drawn from (yes, again) standardized test scores. The Daily News is now cheering on the advent of these test-driven report cards as the way to root out “bad teachers.” Unfortunately, but hardly surprisingly, the Mort Zuckerman editorial board has stooped to an all-time low to make their case, generating dishonest propaganda in a manner that would make the Communist Party editors at Pravda (Moscow) and Xinhua (Beijing) proud.

No doubt unable to find a NYC teacher from whom they could extract a positive, supportive quote, the Daily News resorted to excerpting the blog posting of a first-year teacher named Ruben in the Bronx (although they appear to have missed the delicious irony in citing a blog site entitled “Is Our Children Learning?”). Here’s what they quoted from poor, young Ruben (without, of course, letting him respond):

"I wasn't really expecting a great report. What I didn't expect was how low my percentile score would be, even after my rating was adjusted for years of experience. And while it was a blow to my self-esteem, it was also a way to focus my expectations for this year. I know I've come a long way since last year, so I expect a big improvement on the next report card I see."

The Daily News editorial finished with this little congratulatory line: "That's the spirit, Ruben." As if the young man was in full agreement with their position and their (mis)statement of his position. What Ruben says is rather more ambiguous than the Daily News would have us believe. Ruben doesn’t say the report card will make him a better teacher; he says he now understands how to "focus his expectations for next year" (i.e., how to improve his score on the report card, not necessarily how to educate his students better).

But that’s far from the worst thing the Daily News did, not by a long shot. Here’s more of what Ruben actually wrote in that very same blog posting, in the very next paragraph!

That said, the whole thing has to be taken with a grain of salt. As much as my job has been overwhelmed by testing, I refuse to judge my performance on test scores alone. Ultimately my job is to prepare my students for a life of learning and success. Tests that measure students' academic performance is one way to assess my own performance. But I'd like to believe that there are intangible aspects to my job - for example instilling a love of learning and proper work ethic - that can't possibly be measured quantitatively. I think any attempt to rate teachers without accounting in some way for these aspects of teaching will be fatally flawed. [Emphasis mine]

Of course, the Daily News conveniently overlooked Ruben’s bottom line assessment of the teacher report cards, scrambling instead for any convenient piece of text that even remotely suggested that teachers (as in, all teachers) support it.
This is first-order journalistic fraud, a major metropolitan newspaper engaged in propaganda disguised as reasoned opinion. Shameful, disgraceful, appalling. Somewhere, the likes of Joseph Stalin and Deng Xiao Ping are smiling. And why not? Their side is winning.

5 comments:

Chaz said...

The NYC newspapers practice "see no evil", "hear no evil", or "talk no evil" when it comes to Bloomberg and Klein's dismantling of the public schools.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Red-baiting the Daily News. How 1970s.

Anonymous said...

Let's have some real world accountability here. How many millions of dollars in advertsing revenue does DOE invest in the
the three major daily newspapers?

Once you follow the money trail,
everything else makes perfect sense. New Yorkers don't have a clue what is going on in their own public schools. Principals are under the gun to quash all in-house scandals and silence all teachers who speak out.

What is needed is a Congressional Sub-Committee to hold hearings and grant immunity to teachers and principals who are fearless and brave enough to speak out and expose the truth.

But Congress is too preoccupied at the moment, rescuing other sacred institutions and pillars of our great democracy. We need a Seymour Hersch to step forward and blow the lid off of this monumental cover-up of a scandal and witch hunt against teachers.

Anonymous said...

Let's have some real world accountability here. How many millions of dollars in advertsing revenue does DOE invest in the
the three major daily newspapers?

Once you follow the money trail,
everything else makes perfect sense. New Yorkers don't have a clue what is going on in their own public schools. Principals are under the gun to quash all in-house scandals and silence all teachers who speak out.

What is needed is a Congressional Sub-Committee to hold hearings and grant immunity to teachers and principals who are fearless and brave enough to speak out and expose the truth.

But Congress is too preoccupied at the moment, rescuing other sacred institutions and pillars of our great democracy. We need a Seymour Hersch to step forward and blow the lid off of this monumental cover-up of a scandal and witch hunt against teachers.

ruben said...

I just found out that my post had been quoted by both Randi Weingarten and the Daily News. Thanks for setting the record straight. Feel free to read my own rebuttal at www.bronxteach.com.