Archives for category: Media

A few people in Los Angeles who think a great deal about education issues decided to launch a new website. They are real people who are not funded by billionaires Eli Broad, Reed Hastings, the Waltons, Bill Bloomfield, Michael Bloomberg, or Bull Gates. Imagine that!

Blogger Sara Roos writes an introduction:

Dears:

With this I am announcing the launch of the Los Angeles Education Examiner, a site for news about things-educational in LA and beyond.

Included on my blog, RedQueenInLA.com are two of LAEdEx’s first two new postings, attempting to stake out the reaches of our coverage. I am embarking on this effort with friend, neighbor and colleague Damien Newton of StreetsBlogLA.comfame. LA EdEx will be a non-profit, online news website covering the education beat in and around Los Angeles.

So please look here or at la-edex.org at these introductory pieces as we start exploring what it means to educate kids in LA, how their world is at once insular and intensely important within one’s own little family, while also being politically critical in a very big sense, a microscosm of all the whirlings of money, power, and social interactions beyond.

Thanks for your support by reading, forwarding and maybe even considering – gasp – contributing!

-Sara.

http://redqueeninla.com/2020/02/12/rqila-passes-a-marker-launching-the-los-angeles-education-examiner/
http://redqueeninla.com/2020/02/12/schools-reach-beyond-the-classroom/

http://la-edex.org/welcome-to-and-from-the-los-angeles-education-examiner/
http://la-edex.org/schools-reach-beyond-the-classroom/

 

 

This is the most curious news story of the week, written by the GoLocalProv News Team.”*

It says that the fate of the reform of the Providence public schools lies in the hands of the Providence Teachers Union, led by Maribeth Calabro; she, the story warns, may be able to veto the new state commissioner’s  plans to transform the Providence public schools. It does not mention that the state commissioner taught for two years in New York City as a fast-tracked Teach for America teacher, has no prior experience as either a school principal or superintendent and has kept her plans to transform the district a deep secret.

But here is where the article goes strange.

In 2011, newly-elected Providence Mayor Angel Taveras fired all the teachers in Providence — it was a big and bold decision, and it was reversed within days.

Not too many politicians, especially Democrats. will take on teachers unions in this country and especially in the heavily union-based Rhode Island.

The action in 2011 drew national attention. In a statement, the American Federation of Teachers national President Randi Weingarten called the decision “stunning,” especially given that the union and city “have been working collaboratively on a groundbreaking, nationally recognized school transformation model.”

“We looked up ‘flexibility’ in the dictionary, and it does not mean destabilizing education for all students in Providence or taking away workers’ voice or rights,” said Weingarten, whose organization includes 1.5 million teachers and staff. “Mass firings, whether in one school or an entire district, are not fiscally or educationally sound.”

Well, the teachers union claim that Providence Schools were a ‘transformational model’ did not prove to be correct. Providence Schools are considered to be among the worst in America.

Infante-Green has said she believes she has the power to “break contracts.” 

The News Team seems to believe that firing all the teachers in the district is a “big and bold” idea that is worth a try. The mayor wanted to do it in 2011, but the union got in his way.

Apparently the News Team wants the state commissioner to fire all the teachers now and is egging her on to do so.

Exactly how will that improve the district?

Exactly how will that affect morale?

Who will want to teach in a district where teachers are disposable, like tissues?

Will Teach for America supply the new teachers after the existing workforce has been fired? Will they agree to stay longer than two years?

Where is the evidence that firing all the teachers is good for students?

*The original version of this post misattributed the article to the Providence Journal, which is owned by Gatehouse Media.

 

John Merrow has good news for you! 

You have been selected as a winner by his crack marketing team to do a good deed!.

Since he has selected the Network for Public Education as one of his honorees, I urge you to open his link.

The charter industry has lobbied for years to promote the idea that public schools and their teachers and teachers unions are uniquely responsible for denying educational opportunity to children of color. Ever since the propaganda film “Waiting for Superman,” produced by billionaire charter supporter (and rightwing evangelical zealot Philip Anschutz), the charter industry has promoted the claim that supporters of public schools are hostile to children of color while they—funded by billionaires like the Waltons, the Sacklers, the Koch brothers, the DeVos family, and every Republican governor—claim to be champions of civil rights.

”Malarkey!” says FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting).

FAIR offers a “close reading” of media bias against public schools and demonstrates how the charter industry has deceptively labeled any opposition to charters as the work of teachers’ unions, never admitting that supporters of public schools include parents, grandparents, and graduates of public schools, as well as members of the public who understand the importance of public education in a democracy.

After thirty years of charter advocacy, only 6% of American students are enrolled in them.  In the only city that is all-charter, New Orleans, the only choice that is forbidden is a public school. This decision was not the result of a vote by the citizens of New Orleans, but a decision imposed by the white Republicans who control the State Legislature. Southern white Republicans are not typically perceived as concerned about the well-being of children of color.

Campbell Brown was a CNN anchor. Then she became the new face of the Education Disruption movement after the disappearance of Michelle Rhee. Brown advocated for charters and vouchers and she opposed teachers’ unions and teacher tenure. She claimed in various articles in the New York City press that the schools were overrun by teachers who were sexual predators, protected by the union. She created a news site called “The 74” to express her views; it was funded by the usual cast of billionaires (Walton, Bloomberg, Gates, Broad, etc.). She is anti-public school, anti-union, anti-tenure and pro-privatization. When Betsy DeVos was chosen as Secretary of Education, Campbell Brown acknowledged that she was a personal friend and that Betsy funded “The 74,” while Brown served on the board of Betsy’s pro-voucher American Federation for Children.

Those with a longish memory might recall that Brown started the “Partnership for Educational Justice” to file court cases in several states in an effort to destroy teacher tenure–a copycat of the Vergara lawsuit in California, which was eventually tossed out by the state’s highest court. Thus far, all of the PEJ lawsuits have also been thrown out by state judges who said that teacher tenure was unrelated to test scores. (There are probably more tenured teachers in affluent districts than in low-performing, high-poverty districts.)

Then Campbell Brown was chosen by Mark Zuckerberg to be in charge of media relations for Facebook.

Popular Information revealed the multiple roles that Campbell Brown is now playing.

The 74 = has heaped scorn on Elizabeth Warren since she released her K-12 plan, which proposes an end to federal support for new charter schools.

The 74 has (not surprisingly) lavished praise on Betsy DeVos.

Now Brown is in charge of deciding what news gets featured on Facebook.

While Brown served as editor-in-chief of The 74, the site featured at least 11 pieces from Eric Owens, an editor at The Daily Caller. Owens “has a long history of penning racially insensitive, sexist, and transphobic attacks on students and teachers.” 

Owens, for example, wrote in The Daily Caller that white privilege is a “radical and bizarre political theory that white people enjoy a bunch of wonderful privileges while everyone else suffers under the yoke of invisible oppression.” In another Daily Caller column, Owens called college students “delicate, immature wusses who become traumatized, get the vapors and seek professional counseling any time they face adversity.”

Owens is also obsessed with female teachers who sexually assault male students, repeatedly writing exploitative stories about the incidents.

After Brown joined Facebook, The Daily Caller was named an official Facebook fact-checking partner, despite The Daily Caller’s history of inaccurate reporting. 

Brown thinks Breitbart is a “quality” news source

Brown’s role with The 74 raises further questions about the ideological underpinnings of Facebook’s nascent news tab, which has not been rolled out to all users. Brown’s team elected to include Breitbart — an unreliable and noxious right-wing site that was literally caught laundering white nationalist talking points —  among the 200 “quality” sources included in the launch. 

Of course, Mark Zuckerberg hates Elizabeth Warren too, because she has talked about breaking up the big tech monopolies, such as Facebook, and taxing the personal wealth of billionaires.

The county leaders in Citrus County, Florida, rejected the library’s request for a subscription to the New York Times. The Times, they said, was “fake news.” They don’t want the local citizens to hear any point of view that contradicts the Dear Leader.
This is the quintessence of ignorance. Do they also censor every cable news station except FOX?

By Antonia Noori Farzan / The Washington Post

Posted at 11:46 AM

The librarians of Citrus County, Florida, had what seemed like a modest wish: a digital subscription to the New York Times. For about $2,700 annually, they reasoned, they could offer an easy way their roughly 70,000 patrons to research and catch up on the news.

But when their request came before the Citrus County Commission last month, local officials literally laughed out loud. One commissioner, Scott Carnahan, declared the paper to be “fake news.”

“I agree with President Trump,” he said. “I will not be voting for this. I don’t want the New York Times in this county.”

In a move that is now generating intense online backlash, all five members of the commission agreed to reject the library’s request. The discussion took place on Oct. 24, the same day when the Trump administration announced plans to cancel federal agencies’ subscriptions to the Times and The Washington Post. While there’s no apparent connection – the Citrus County meeting began several hours before the Wall Street Journal broke the news of the new edict – the controversy unfolding in central Florida highlights how politicians nationwide are parroting the president’s disparaging rhetoric about the media.

While the Citrus County Commission is technically nonpartisan, the area, located amid the swamps and springs north of Tampa, is deeply conservative. At the Oct. 24 meeting, the proposal to budget several thousand dollars for a Times digital subscription was met with immediate disapproval and suspicion.

“Do we really need to subscribe to the New York Times?” Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. asked.

The other men seated at the dais chuckled.

“I actually was going say that,” Carnahan responded. He had seconded a motion to hear the item only so that they could have a discussion about the Times, he said, volunteering his opinion: “I don’t agree with it, I don’t like ’em, it’s fake news, and I’m voting no.”

Suggesting that a lack of resources wasn’t the problem, Carnahan said that the library could take the thousands of dollars that an institutional subscription to the Times would cost and ″do something else with it.” And community members who really wanted to read the paper could simply sign up for home delivery. “I support Donald Trump,” he concluded.

Flanked by a county flag depicting frolicking manatees, all four commissioners who were present agreed to turn down the request. When a fifth commissioner, Jimmie Smith, returned to his seat and learned what he had missed, he took no issue with denying the library funding.

“Why the heck would we spend money on something like that?” asked Smith, a former Republican state representative.

 

Masha Gessen, a Russian emigre and journalist, always has interesting commentaries on U.S. politics.

In this New Yorker article, she writes about Mark Zuckerberg and his flawed interpretation of the First Amendment.

In the course of the article, she reveals a startling fact. Zuckerberg is advising Mayor Pete.

Gessen writes:

What is the First Amendment for? I ask my students this every year. Every year, several people quickly respond that the First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to speak without restriction. True, I say, but what is it for? It’s so that Congress doesn’t pass a law that would limit the right to free speech, someone often says. Another might add that, in fact, the government does place some limits on free speech—you can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theatre, or say certain words on broadcast television and radio. I ask the question a third time: What is the First Amendment for? There is a pause as students realize that I am asking them to shift their frame of reference. Then someone says that the First Amendment is for democracy, for the plurality of opinions in the national conversation.

My students are undergraduates, some of whom will become journalists. Before they leave the confines of their small liberal-arts college, they will develop a more complicated view of politics and the media than the one they started with. The adult world they are entering, however, generally sticks to an elemental level of discourse. Last week, for example, the head of the country’s largest media company, Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook, gave a nearly forty-minute lecturein which he reiterated that the right to free speech was invented so that it wouldn’t be restricted. In Zuckerberg’s narrative, as my colleague Andrew Marantz has written, freedom of speech, guaranteed by technological progress, is the beginning and the end of the conversation; this narrative willfully leaves out the damage that technological progress—and unchallenged freedom of all speech—can inflict. But the problem isn’t just Zuckerberg; more precisely, Zuckerberg is symptomatic of our collective refusal to think about speech and the media in complicated ways.

People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world,” Zuckerberg said in his address. “It’s a fifth estate, alongside the other power structures in our society.” Zuckerberg was appropriating a countercultural term: beginning in the nineteen-sixties, “the fifth estate” referred to alternative media in the United States. Now the head of a new-media monopoly was using the term to differentiate Facebook from the news media, presumably to bolster his argument that Facebook should not be held to the same standards of civic responsibility to which we hold the fourth estate.

This strategy of claiming not to be the media has worked well for Facebook. On Monday, when Bloomberg broke the news that Zuckerberg has advised the Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on campaign hires, the story called Zuckerberg “one of tech’s most powerful executives.” CNN referred to him and his wife, Priscilla Chan, as “two of America’s most influential businesspeople and philanthropists.” Vox’s Recode vertical calledhim “the world’s third-richest person” and observed that he had become so toxic that “accepting a political donation from Mark Zuckerberg in 2020 is nowhere close to worth the money.” (The Times appears not to have covered the story for now.) Any one of these frames makes for an important and troubling story: a Presidential campaign in bed with a major tech corporation, influenced by and possibly intertwined with one of the country’s richest men—that is bad. It’s worse when one recalls Buttigieg’s attempts to go after Elizabeth Warren during last week’s Democratic debate. Warren has called for breaking up Facebook’s social-media monopoly, and Zuckerberg has referred to Warren as an “existential” threat to the company. Now imagine if it were the head of ABC or CNN or the New York Times Company who had served as an informal hiring consultant to a Presidential candidate. It would almost certainly be a bigger story and more broadly perceived as troublesome. Most of us still believe that the media are an essential component of democracy, and that a media outlet that is partisan or committed to a single candidate, but not in a transparent way, is a bad democratic actor.

 

My Favorite morning news summary is Fast Forward, written by Teresa Hanafin of the Boston Globe.

I skip the local sports report, but love her tips from the Old Farmers’ Almanac, and her commentaries on national politics.

I often quote her column. You can sign up here. 

 

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) reports on the New York Times’ consistently biased reporting about Bernie Sanders.

it seems fair to say that the New York Times wants to knock Senator Sanders outif the Race.

Why?

 

Whenever anyone mention an education “miracle,” scoff. We had the “Texas miracle,”  the “New York City Miracle” (that lasted only as long as MIchael Bloomberg was Mayor), and countless others.

Now that Cory Booker is running for President, we will hear about the “Newark miracle.” Don’t believe it.

To understand the statistical legerdemain, read Jersey Jazzman’s explanation here about Newark.

JJ is a teacher who became so frustrated with false claims that he went to Rutgers and earned a doctorate so he could master statistics and put paid to lies.