Diane Ravitch has a piece today on the Times' awful coverage (Why Does the Néw York Times Ignore Parent-Led Mass Opt Out?), not only of opt out but of education in general. I can answer Diane's question - because they are ed deformers.
They revolve reporters out of the beat so often, no one gets a handle. And the few good people they've had,like Mike Winerip and Anna Philips were either shifted to other beats or not rehired. Few knew the beat like Anna, who talked to everyone on all sides. (I attended Anna's going away party when she left for the Tampa Bay Times.)
It was good to see Nancy Cauthen's letter printed. Nancy, who comes from the corporate world, has been an essential cog in our Change the Stakes Steering committee. When NYSAPE, which is helping drive the statewide opt out movement, invited CTS to have a rep on their steering committee, Nancy was the unanimous choice. Here is Diane's piece, followed by Nancy's letter.
The Néw York Times has barely covered the historic parent Opt Out movement. Before the testing began, it ran a story about parents who decided not to opt out for fear their children would suffer. When the opt out was making news across the nation, given the huge numbers, the Times did not deign to report the story. Then, at last, the Times wrote a story about how teachers' unions had fomented the opt out, with no attempt to explain why nearly 200,000 parents from across the state might take orders from the unions.But there was more trivialization and dodging. On Friday the Times published a story about districts that follow a "sit and stare" policy for children who opt out. It quoted several superintendents who disapproved of the opt outs, but not one of the superintendents who were sympathetic.The parent-educator group that led the Opt Out movement published a letter to the editor asking why the Times has been dismissive of their hard work.LETTERParents’ Role in the New York Test ProtestAPRIL 24, 2015To the Editor:From “Teachers Fight Tests, and Find Diverse Allies” (front page, April 21), readers would never know that the 185,000-plus students who opted out of the state English Language Arts test last week did so because of more than three years of organizing by a genuinely grass-roots movement of public school parents.This year parent groups held more than 100 forums across the state; rallied, protested and raised thousands of dollars for billboards promoting test refusal; and engaged tens of thousands more parents via Facebook and Twitter. Sadly, this article epitomizes the media’s preference to portray every education story as a battle between the teachers unions and their opponents.NANCY K. CAUTHEN
New YorkThe writer is on the steering committees of New York State Allies for Public Education and Change the Stakes.