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Steve Brill Headlines Ed Writer Conference: Who's Next --Jayson Blair?

Ohanian Comment: I detailed my own experience at an annual meeting of the Education Writers Association: The Annual Meeting of Education Reporters, Writers and Editors: Plenty of Wattage but Not Much Illumination

For starters, I recount how I was kicked off the Education Writers Association listserv. They had accepted my membership dues for years but didn't want me offering any criticism of Education Week's Quality Counts hogwash.

I went to their annual meeting in Chicago along with parent education reform resister par excellence Juanita Doyon, aka The Button Queen. I paid for a table in the exhibit area--to show reporters about the grass roots resistance to the party line coming out of the U. S. Department of Education and most media claiming to report on education issues.

Reporters attending the meeting were not one bit interested in the material on my table. But it gets worse: Read on.
Norm's report shows that the Education Writers Association knows no shame. None.


Gates Grants
Education Writers Association
Date: July 2009
Purpose: to support media coverage of the education components of American Recovery and Reconstruction Act through the construction and maintenance of the Stimulus Tracker website
Amount: $110,000
Term: 2 years

Education Writers Association
Date: July 2008
Purpose: to enhance media coverage of high school and post-secondary education by offering seminars and online training for reporters, building bridges between mainstream and ethnic community media, and supporting capacity building efforts Amount: $950,962
Term: 3 years
Topic: Advocacy & Public Policy
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia Grantee Web site: http://www.ewa.org

by Norm Scott

Education Writers Association annual meeting May 17-19: keynote speakers this year are Steve Brill, who wrote the worst book ever on ed reform, with factual misstatements on nearly every page, and Colorado Sen. Bennet, DFER's favorite Senator. Wonder how much the Gates Foundation or Walmart is paying for this one.
-- Leonie Haimson

A fast-paced forum for high-octane speakers to explore all aspects of the push to reform the teaching profession
Education Writers Association program

Jayson Blair: Next EWA Keynoter?

In chapter one the author [Brill] pulls the first and worst of a number of journalistic stunts that call his credibility into very serious question. In fact, it should expose Brill as an outright fraud. On page 17, Brill takes a page out of the Jayson Blair/ Stephen Glass School of Fictitious Journalism and describes the horrendous performance of a public school teacher who doesn't exist. Or, if the "teacher" does exist, he is completely unknown and unrecognizable to any of the people who ostensibly work with him. I know. I am one of those people. What makes the matter that much more egregious is the fact that the non existent teacher is the only description of a public school teacher at work in the 400 plus pages of Brill's tome. Such, I believe, is not a coincidence.
---Patrick Walsh, Chapter Leader, PS 149M

I've heard for years from ed reporters I know about the EWA meetings. So many of them go to these meetings. So how are we to judge the organization that would make Steve Brill, one of the most biased ed deformers, one of their keynote speakers and Democrats for Education REform fave Michael Bennet their other keynoter?

Unfair and biased.

Will any reporters publicly raise objections? Or is that too dangerous for their careers?

I admit it. I am on a personal vendetta against the press since I started getting reports of reporters and photographers making surprise visits to teachers' homes after the publication of the Teacher Data Reports.

Then came the Chaz incident last week. People are telling me this or that reporter is really OK. I don't really care. Their names are on the articles. No matter what the editor did to their story they must bear some accountability.

I've been using this phrase recently: The single most important factor in a successful democratic society is the quality/effectiveness of the reporters. Well, that's as dumb as saying the same about teachers. But what reporters are questioning the very concept? Isn't it time for Reporter Data Reports giving each reporter a numerical score based on the accuracy and fairness of their stories? Points off for questions not raised. (Like why the DOE would spend a quarter million to persecute Chaz for an innocuous statement? Or why Believe charter authorizers are not being indicted along with Eddie Calderon for running up $5 million in debt for his charter despite warnings over the last half dozen years?)

Read: Gary Rubinstein Rolls Steve Brill -- a devastating review of Class Warfare.

Check the post from Patrick Walsh's blog (excerpts below) on the open lies Brill told in his book. Patrick is the chapter leader at a Harlem co-located school with an Eva Moskowitz HSA and demonstrates how Brill just made up a lazy teacher for his "non"-fiction book.

Reporters have been banned for doing what Brill did. What does it say when their professional organization honors a guy like Brill? Bring in Jayson Blair?

Message From EWA's Executive Director

Philadelphia is the place to be May 17-19, when EWA gathers an outstanding line-up of journalists and education experts for Learning from Leaders: What Works for Stories and Schools

The early bird deadline has been extended to April 20, so register here today!

The conference will offer three jam-packed days of discussions and hands-on training covering the most pressing topics in education journalism today. Some highlights:

* Top speakers including Steve Brill and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, as well as leading
researchers and educators
* Site visits to noteworthy Philadelphia-area schools
* Debates on topics such as affirmative action, college costs, common standards, school choice and online learning
* A fast-paced forum for high-octane speakers to explore all aspects of the push to reform the teaching profession
* Practical sessions on mining data, observing classrooms, producing enterprise stories on
the fly and new-generation tech tools for journalists
* Presentation of the prestigious 2011 National Awards for Education Reporting, where the winner of Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting also will be announced

Patrick Walsh: Raginghorseblog

Reflections on and Rebuttals of Class Warfare (Or Steven Brill has a Serious Credibility Problem)


For Harlem Success Academy Brill writes almost worshipfully of one Jessica Reid, an admirable, extremely dedicated young woman who Brill describes as teaching her students something called "juicy words" and also, disturbingly, praising a student for making "total eye contact with the teacher throughout the lesson," as if the poor kid was being hypnotized. As in many instances of pointing out differences between a public school teacher and a charter school teacher, Brill seems totally unaware that a NYC public school teacher could be reprimanded and even cited for corporal punishment by the Department of Education for demanding a student maintain "total eye contact" with a teacher -- as well they might be. As a parent I'd raise the roof if a teacher demanded such behavior from my child.

On Reid, Brill spends many, many words -- some of them so sexist and absurdly inappropriate to the subject matter as to be beyond parody. Indeed, he writes a kind of People Magazine style mini bio of Reid built largely of stuff like this: "Standing in front of her new class in black stiletto heels, a black and pink crinoline dress, and a black and gold buttoned jacket not quite covering five different bracelets Reid called on them (students) one by one, to line up at the door." As a product of Wendy Kopps' deeply problematic absurdly praised Teach For America program, Reid, who "has her mother's Swedish face, blue eyes and blond hair", serves as Brill's script perfect model of corporate reform's solution to the problem of poor urban schools: the creation of an ephemeral army of eternally young Ivy league educated white people blessing the classrooms of the ghetto, inspiring them by what the brilliant Linda Darling Hammond sardonically called Teach For America's "innate superiority".

— Norm Scott
EdNotes Online





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