And yet most of the major newspapers wrote editorials in support of George W. Bush's war that credulously swallowed the lies his White House sold.
The Chicago Tribune, 2/6/03:
The Washington Post, 2/6/2003:
AFTER SECRETARY OF STATE Colin L. presentation to the United Nations Security Council yesterday, it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. Mr. left no room to argue seriously that Iraq has accepted the Security Council's offer of a "final opportunity" to disarm. And he offered a powerful new case that Saddam Hussein's regime is cooperating with a branch of the al Qaeda organization that is trying to acquire chemical weapons and stage attacks in Europe.The Wall Street Journal, 2/6/2003:
The Secretary of State [Colin Powell] had to provide this smoking proof because some people still refuse to believe what they see with their own eyes. An example is the way many, including U.N. inspector [International Atomic Energy Agency director general Mohamed] El Baradei, have accepted Iraq's explanation that its import of high-strength aluminum tubes was for conventional rocketry, not uranium enrichment.The New York Times, 2/8/03:
Even the New York Times managed to suppress its doubts and cheer on the war. Now, ten years later, we have a $6 trillion bill on our books, 4486 American casualties, several hundred allied casualties, over 32,000 military personnel seriously wounded, and over 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians on our nation's conscience.
This was, again, a failure on the part of the press to do its job and accurately assess the information that was freely available to them at the time. So why do I bring this up on an education blog?
Because the same editorial boards that blew it on Iraq are now blowing it on education "reform."
The Chicago Tribune, 3/25/13:
Chicagoans understand that charters are the future of public education in this city. These schools draw excellent young teachers. They funnel money into the classroom, into serving students, not into a school district bureaucracy. And they often reap superior results where it matters: in student performance — not in kowtowing to local politicians.Yet in the Trib's own city, there are many examples of "successful" charters that owe their "success" to student demographics and high attrition rates. Even then, charters as a whole do no better than publics in raising student achievement.
The Washington Post, 7/28/12:
As Matt DiCarlo has written repeatedly, Washington D.C. does not release test scores - only proficiency rates. These rates can actually rise as test scores decline, making them anything but "unmistakable proof." But The Post's editorial page has a history of presenting only the data that help it tell its preferred tales. And it remains strangely silent on the burgeoning cheating scandal that began under mayoral control.
The Wall Street Journal, 9/16/12:
The union had demanded a pay increase of 29% over four years, but the 25,000 teachers will still get 16%, which is far more than most workers in the private economy get these days. Chicago teachers already make on average far more ($71,000) than the average private worker ($47,000), not counting benefits and summer vacation, and this deal will increase the wealth redistribution.Does it make one lick of sense to compare the salary of a college-edeucated professional to the average of all workers, most of whom do not have a degree? Continuing:
Teachers won big, however, on what they really care about (other than money), which is limiting the degree to which student test scores count in teacher evaluations. Student performance will count for only 25% starting this year, moving up over the next two years to 35%. This leaves the rest of the evaluation to the kind of subjective judgment that has long kept the worst teachers firmly in place.The overwhelming research consensus is that test-based teacher evaluation is too prone to error to be used in high-stakes decisions.
The New York Times, 10/15/11:
Education Secretary Arne Duncan says the progress made by New Orleans’s school reform effort in the six years since Hurricane Katrina has been “stunning.” And there are many reasons for optimism about a system that is overwhelmingly made up of poor and minority students — just the sort of place where optimism is in short supply.
What's "stunning" is that RSD-NO remains a "failing" school district, ranking last out of all districts in Louisiana. Further, the district appears to have created a segregated system for special education students.
The information I am using to challenge the assertions of these editorial boards is publicly available and widely discussed among those of us challenging the corporate reform status quo. It is as accessible now as the news reports doubting the Bush Administration's claims about Iraq were accessible back then.
And yet, just as they did back in 2003, these editorial boards are rushing to push an agenda that has no evidence to back it up.
They do not care about the facts. They have no room for doubts. They want what they want, and they will stick their heads in the sand if that's what it takes to drown out the naysayers. It's what they do - since at least 2003. Let's pray that people are smart enough to ignore them so we don't have to face another avoidable disaster.
Editorial boards on education "reform."