Timothy Slekar here writes a scathing condemnation of Education Week, our K-12 journal of record, for acting as an uncritical mouthpiece for the Common Core State Standards.
“Other than some of the blogs, EdWeek’s so called “news” is nothing more than propaganda for the corporate reformers. I pointed it out before, EdWeek and its reporters either are clueless about the difference between advocacy organizations that push propaganda and peer review research outlets or they (EdWeek and its reporters) have been purchased by the corporate reformers and have sold out their journalistic integrity.”
I hesitate to criticize Education Week because I had free rein to voice my views when I was a blogger there. Deborah Meier and I exchanged weekly letters at “Bridging Differences,” and I often wrote strong columns about corporate reform, privatization, and the disasters caused by NCLB and Race to the Top. No one ever censored what I wrote.
But I too have noticed that Education Week has become a cheerleader , not only for the Common Core, but for technology and corporate interests. As it regularly discloses, Education Week is subsidized by the Gates Foundation, which is heavily invested in the Common Core standards. Corporate sponsorship matters.
EdWeek doesn’t just report on the conferences of for-profit enterprises, it joins as a sponsor of them. I presented at the EdGrowth Summit in New York City a few weeks ago, and the participants were mostly entrepreneurs. Education Week was one of the sponsors, along with a long list of vendors and wannabe for-profit enterprises.
Its annual reports celebrate the corporate engagement in public education, with nary a critical voice to be found. The latest one is all about the use of educational technology, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on how it is implemented. But wouldn’t it be good journalism to ask one of the high-tech stars like Jaron Lanier (who wrote “You Are Not a Gadget”) or some of the other skeptics to pose some questions and challenges about the mad rush to go digital?
More and more media outlets are being subsidized by corporate interests. When I visited a state on the eastern seaboard a few months ago, a reporter from the state’s public television station told me that they no longer do any investigative journalism because their agenda is compromised by their funding.
This is a worrisome trend. The Common Core standards are controversial. Their flaws should be fully dissected. It is not good journalism to write about them uncritically and to ignore those who question their value and warn of the problems they create.
Value-added assessment is controversial. Give equal time to its critics.
So, to my friends at Education Week, consider this column not an attack, but well-intended words of wisdom from those who want you to be a fearless bastion of journalistic integrity.
We don’t want you to take sides.
We want you to be nonpartisan, fair, and objective.