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Education Truthiness at the New York Times

Publication Date: 2016-01-01

Taking a look at what article placement says about the education message the New York Times delivers.

On the same day that the New York Times ran an over-the-top ugly editorial, Counterfeit High School Diploma , which was a follow-up to the front page, above--the-fold non-story that's a perfect depiction of damning schools every-which-way (discussed here), the paper ran the exuberant Pre-School without Walls, a description by a Hechinger Report writer of young children whose early school experiences take place outside (rain or shine). We see children among the towering trees of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens in Seattle and on the beach in San Diego. The Times notes that, across the country, this is "part of a larger national trend that goes beyond Waldorf education, which has long emphasized outdoor play, even in inclement weather." And, to top it off, a school is described as having "a choose-your-own-adventure attitude toward learning."

Here's the kicker: This story, which includes a picture of a winsome three-year-old wrist-deep in a wood-chip pile saying, "I love school," is placed in the Fashion and Style section, that newsieness part of the paper whose other articles include: a new party spot in Brooklyn, a temporary-tattoo parlor for hip families, a Xanax for your skin product,a luxury mall across the street from One World Trade Center.

No surprise.

Everybody knows that the Fashion and Style section is fou-fou, and by placing this story there, the Times lets readers know that preschools emphasizing free-play in the woods are for those with enough money to be a bit outré. Preschoolers who live in poverty need time on task: worksheets and drill. They must be taught to obey.

Don't look for a New York Times editorial calling for universal learning based on young children choosing their own adventures outdoors.

Summary: Front page article, above-the-fold, highlighted with the Quotation of the Day by Arne Duncan: As Graduation Rates Rise, Experts Fear Diplomas Come Up Short

Article in the back of the paper, Section D, PreSchool without Walls

Which article do you think was featured in an editorial as a report demonstrating truth?

What do you think putting a reporter to work in tagteam with the Editorial branch notorious for its ugly attitude about teachers, unions, and school deform in general says about the New York Times overall truthiness regarding public education?

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