Monday, May 23, 2011
President Obama was at Miami Central High School recently to promote his school reform agenda. In news accounts reported across the country he pointed to academic improvements at Miami Central in support of a trinity of "reform" claims. First, that it is schools that make the difference in student achievement; second, that teachers and principals make the biggest difference in whether or not students in a particular school succeed (although lip service is paid to students and parents as being partners); and finally, that current testing and accountability programs can show us which schools need to be "reconstituted." Out with the old, in with the new.
What follows is what I wish the media would do instead of simply reporting the "facts" used in these campaigns. Our fourth estate should not just parrot promoters of particular policies, but should instead seek to provide a deeper context for the overall message being promoted. Miami Central was used to illustrate that the key components of this (and the last) administration's education policies are, in fact, grounded in the real world of education.