Elizabeth Green says "we really do not have 'an agenda,' besides good journalism."
NYC Educator and JD2718 think they do have an agenda. (And an added piece from NYCEducator.)
Good journalism is in the eye of the beholder. While the journalism of what gets covered can be great, what doesn't get covered is indicative of selective journalism.
To her credit, Elizabeth posted these links herself and often posts links to Ed Notes and the teacher blogger world. No one is more informed on the players from top to bottom in NYC Ed, as she ran rings around almost every other ed reporter in NYC at the NY Sun. For one of her first stories, she actually called me and quoted ICE's Jeff Kaufman in an article that got the dander of the UFT. Working in the belly of the conservative anti-union NY Sun, she did some great work in exposing the DOE and made many fans among NYC teachers.
Have things changed at Gotham? I have detected bias at times. Elizabeth recently had a story where she compared the ease with which Eva Moskowitz can get things done with the difficulty faced by the principal of PS 194 due to those nasty union contracts. Call it the "light bulbs to oranges" comparison. There was so much bias dripping out of that story, I had to wipe down my keyboard.
And the current lead side panel quote from Kitchen Sink, (supposedly a charter school principal who has a hell of a lot of time to blog at times one would expect someone to be working at running a school) a noted charter school defender, just might be viewed as bias.
I miss the idea of having a teacher's voice on Gotham. I know people who disagree, but I felt that Kelly Vaughan - former blogger Ms. Frizzle - at least brought the sense of a teacher to Gotham Schools. Now as a Teach for America alum, Kelly did bring some of those biases to the table, but her 7 years of teaching in NYC public middle schools gave her some perspective. She wasn't a hard news person, but she popped up at all kinds of events like ATR rallies, that are not being covered very well at Gotham at this time. Her leaving to go back to teaching, albeit at a charter school, was a loss for Gotham - and us.
Behind Gotham Schools is Mark Gorton. Wiki says:
The financial engine behind many of Gorton's business and civic interests is Tower Research Capital LLC, a financial services firm Gorton owns that he started in 1998, following a 4 1/2 year stint in the proprietary trading department of Credit Suisse First Boston (now Credit Suisse). At Credit Suisse Gorton traded stocks and built sophisticated hedging tools used to analyze markets. Tower evolved these models and specializes in quantitative trading and investment strategies based on proprietary trading algorithms using statistical methodology to identify non-random patterns in the stock markets. Buying and selling is done through an automated trade execution infrastructure, with many of trades placed through another affiliate, Lime Brokerage LLC.
Let's see now, a hedge fund kind of guy. Any chance of bias there?
One thing we would hope from Gotham Schools is a realistic picture of what is occurring in many NYC schools. I love that they have Aaron Pallas from Columbia, alias Skoolboy of Eduwonkette fame, but Ken Hirsch? With about a thousand teacher bloggers out there on the front lines, this is where they get commentary from?
Or how about the coverage of Arne Duncan without ever really examining the awful performance of Chicago schools under his 7 years there? Or the general failure of mayoral control in Chicago after 14 years of mayoral control? Or Paul Vallas following up Chicago with failure in Philly, followed up by the privatization of the New Orleans school system, making Vallas a 3-time loser?
But the UFT cue card case? WOW! What a scoop! Talk about elevating the trivial.
See Daily News reporter Meredith Kolodner's report on the UFT cue card caper with some perspective. Meredith may not be flashy, but since her days at The Chief, she has exhibited a nuanced understanding of major education issues – and without bias.