Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

Education Prejudices

Ohanian Comment: Note the contrast between education forums held by the New York Times and the one held by FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting). The Times has an outstanding education columnist, a Pulitzer Prize winner, some excellent education reporters, and a Pulitzer Prize winning technology reporter. So who from their staff will be participating in this event? David Brooks.

The idea that Lawrence Summers would be selected to keynote a conference on the future of education is startling. Not surprising is the fact that Jean-Claude Brizard would want to escape for a day from the pummeling he's getting in Chicago. Bob Wise was governor of West Virginia from 2001 to 2005. Apparently that means his name is Governor Bob Wise forever after. And so on. Here is a letter about Michael Barber (do we really use 'Sir' in this country?) that the New York Times did not publish [Diane Ravitch included it in a September 2007 Huffington Post column]:

New York Times

Dear Editor,

I have read with interest the report of Sir Michael Barber's address to New York Principals on the lessons to be learnt from Britain on how to improve schools. (NYT 15 Aug. 07) However, may I along with so many in England who have seen the consequences of the innovations led by Sir Michael, urge caution. Not everyone agrees with his analysis, and indeed the £1 million Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education and Training in for England and Wales, which I lead, is not, in the light of evidence, presenting such a rosy picture.

It is not surprising that Sir Michael, having been Director of Standards and Effectiveness at the Department of Education and Skills and then head of delivery in the Prime Minister's Office at No. 10, should have finally moved to McKinsey's, which believes that what is real can be measured and what can be measured can be controlled. In the last few years, England has created the most tested school population in the world from age 5 to age 18. School improvement lies in scoring even higher in the national tests, irrespective of whether these tests bear any relation to the quality of learning, and schools which see the poverty of the testing regime suffer the penalty of going down the very public league tables.

The results of the 'high stakes testing' are that teachers increasingly teach to the test, young people are disillusioned and disengaged, higher education complains that those matriculating (despite higher scores) are ill prepared for university studies, and intelligent and creative teachers incleasingly feel dissatisfied with their professional work. I believe it is no coincidence that, according to the recent UNICEF Report, children in England are at the bottom of the league of rich countries in terms of happiness and feelings of well-being, or that England now criminalises 230,000 children between 11 and 17 each year (the highest in absolute and relative terms in the whole of Europe), or that nearly 10% of 16-18 year olds belong to the Not in Education, Training and Employment group, despite the massive investment in that group over the last ten years. And why should one expect anything else as most of their day light hours consists of preparing for tests, totally disconnected from their interests and concerns, present or future?

The Nuffield Review is starting from the basic question, never asked by Government during Sir Michael's turn in high office, namely, 'What counts as an educated 19 year old in this day and age?'. The answers which we are receiving from teachers, universities, employers and the community would point to a system very different from the one which Sir Michael nurtured and is now selling to the United States.

Yours sincerely Professor Richard Pring
Lead Director, Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education and Training for England and Wales Former Director: Oxford University Department of Education Studies

Don't miss who's sponsoring the two events.

FAIR New York City Event

September 27, 2011

MisEducation Nation:
Corporate Media and Corporate Education Reform

NBC is staging its second annual Education Nation summit at the end of September--a series of events and broadcasts bankrolled by the corporate interests and foundations aligned with the so-called "education reform" movement.

Corporate media coverage of education policy tends to hew closely to the "reform" agenda: promoting charter schools and vouchers, embracing relentless testing and other "accountability" measures, and attacking teachers' unions for standing in the way of progress.

What would a more reasonable conversation about public education look like?

On September 27, join FAIR and four of the most dynamic and thoughtful education experts and activists in the country for a FREE discussion about how the media mangle the debate over public schools.

The panelists:

-Diane Ravitch
Author, NYU Research Professor of Education

-Pedro Noguera
NYU Professor of Education

-Brian Jones

-Leonie Haimson
Executive Director, Class Size Matters

Moderator: Laura Flanders

September 27, 2011
7:00 PM
School of the Future Auditorium
127 East 22nd Street
between Park and Lexington)
New York, NY 10010

Free of charge.

CO-SPONSORS: Class Size Matters, WBAI 99.5 FM, Parents Across America, Grassroots Education Movement, Rethinking Schools, NYCoRE, Coalition for Public Education, Teachers Unite

Here's the Full-Page Ad appearing on the last page of the first section on September 16, 2011.

On Thursday, September 22, the future of
Takes Center Stage

The New York Times is bringing together 400 of the most influential leaders
in teaching technology, government and industry for a one-day conference on
innovation and best practice to shape the schools of the future

Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government
Director, White House National Economic Council for the White House, 2009-2010
President, Harvard University, 2001--2006


Sir Michael Barber
Head of Education Practice, McKinsey, and Incoming Chief Education Advisor, Pearson

Jacqueline Botterill
Head of Social Good, Skype

Jean-Claude Brizard
CEO, Chicago Public Schools

David Brooks
Columnist, The New York Times
Dr. Horn Mun, Cheakh

Director of ICT, Ministry of Education, Singapore

Chester E. Finn Jr.
President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Joel Klein
Chief Executive Officer, Educational Division, News Corporation

Doug Levin
Executive Director, State Educational Technology Directors Association

Michael Resnick
Professor of Learning Research, MIT Media Lab

Harri Skog
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Finland

Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers

Governor Bob Wise
President, Alliance for Excellent Education

For more information and to watch a live stream on Sept. 22, visit http://www.nytschoolsfortomorrow.com

Follow us on Twitter: @nytedtech


University of Phoenix
Carnegie Corporation of New York
The McGraw-Hill Companies

— Susan Ohanian commenting
FAIR and New York Times




This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.