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Hear much about education in the news? December 21, 2009

Posted by Connie Chow in Executive Director Musings, For parents.
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Sociedad Latina just came out with a call to action since the Boston Globe failed to report the participation and testimony of youth and adults around the “Acceleration Agenda” for education reform in the Boston Public Schools. (Click for pdf of their email appeal).

The Brookings Institute published a report a couple of weeks ago about the scant attention that education gets in national news, that number being around 1.4% in the first 9 months of 2009.

Sadly, most of the coverage is around violence, health (H1N1 this year) and budget. Very little around curriculum, education reform, teacher training, and other substantive issues around EDUCATION is actually reported. (NPR’s series on school reform last month hopefully upped the percentage. There is much more coverage in local news outlets, since education as it is structured is still a “local” issue.)

One reason for the lack of coverage could be that schools tend to be “secretive”, argues Linda Perlstein, public editor for the Education Writers Association, so reporters have little access to information about what really is going on.

Indeed, the Brookings Institute report suggests that “some school officials discourage student reporters from asking difficult questions or raising controversial issues” as well. They recommends that students serve as important citizen journalists and insiders who often clue in the professional media to substantive education stories.

It is clear that the youth are aware that their future relies on education reform. It is sad that the Globe chose not to use these “insiders” to represent serious discussion around such an important issue. What are we doing about making sure that substantive debate occurs and is shared?

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