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A Primary Source for Ed Reporters

by Susan Ohanian

Now I know where reporters get their boiler plate coverage for the Common Core State (sic) Standards--when they aren't just pasting in press releases from the US Department of Ed excerpts from Bill Gates' Annual Letter.

I went to http://essaytyper.com. As the Lingua Franca blogger at Chronicle of Higher Ed pointed out, once you type in your topic, you can let your cat dance on the keys to get the essay.

EssayTyper provides a box that says Oh, no! It's finals week and I have to finish my American Civil War essay immediately. You type in a replacement for "American Civil War"; whatever you please. I tried Common Core and got a 3,210 word paper titled "Truly Standards? The Modern Common Core State Standards: A Normative Critique."

Next, I put in Bill Gates and got a long essay titled "The Fluidity of Bill Gates.
Gender Norms & Racial Bias in the Study of the Modern Bill Gates."

Arne Duncan produces "Truly Duncan?
The Modern Arne Duncan: A Normative Critique." But the essay machine only produced 542 words about Arne's norms.

Pre-K produced "The Fluidity of Pre-K .
Gender Norms & Racial Bias in the Study of the Modern Pre-K". Race to the Top brought up "Truly Top? The Modern Race To The Top: A Normative Critique." Are we beginning to see a normative pattern here?

Interestingly, the Race to the Top essay concludes thusly: In lieu of an immediate ability to overturn Race to the Top, many grassroots groups have organized to specifically protest Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

And so on. This could get addictive. Lingua Franca gives the game away:

EssayTyper is actually a front end to Wikipedia. When you type your subject in on the underlined part of the initial box, it simply looks those words up using the Wikipedia search function. If there is no Wikipedia page with that title, it warns you that it canĂ¢€™t help. But if there is one, it goes to it and starts blurting out the text of the article, chunk by chunk. The more you rattle the keys, the more it puts on your screen.

I remain convinced that many ed reporters use this handy little device as their primary source.

— Susan Ohanian




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