The nation’s top superintendent gets charged!


Unless you’re reading the Post: Does politics affect the way new events get reported?

Consider what happened when a bunch of teachers, principals and school administrators got indicted in Atlanta last week.

Last Friday, 35 people got indicted. They were charged with committing crimes in a massive cheating scandal in Atlanta’s public schools.

One indictment went to Beverly Hall, Atlanta’s former superintendent of schools. In 2009, Dr. Hall was named national superintendent of the year by the American Association of School Administrators. Today, she faces a possible 45 years in prison.

There is no doubt that widespread cheating occurred in Atlanta’s schools. For ourselves, we don’t know if Dr. Hall played any knowing or deliberate part in this misconduct.

That said, it’s intriguing to note the way these indictments were treated by two major newspapers. Let’s start with the Washington Post.

On an editorial basis, the Washington Post is in love with modern “education reform” and with so-called high-stakes testing. Perhaps for this reason, the Post gave the Atlanta indictments very little play.

The Post ran an AP report about the indictments—a 1243-word report which the Post chopped down to just 446 words. The report appeared on page A14, the back page of Saturday’s news section.

The report was crammed above a gigantic ad for Next Day Blinds. We’ll admit we didn’t see it, although it was plainly there.

The New York Times had a different reaction to the Atlanta indictments.

On an editorial basis, the Times tends to oppose high-stakes testing, unless such testing is done in New York, in which case it proves Bloomberg’s greatness. Perhaps for this reason, the Times gave the Atlanta indictments very major play.

That same Saturday morning, Michael Winerip’s news report appeared above the fold on the Times’ front page. His report ran 2433 words. It included massive detail.

Which newspaper gave these indictments appropriate play? That is a matter of judgment. But the Post has struggled for years to downplay the amount of cheating which occurred under their darling, former superintendent Michelle Rhee, she of the bogus claims about all parts of her life. As we’ve noted in the past, the Post has given little play to the unfolding scandal in Atlanta.

Friday, the indictments came down. The Times saw this as a huge news event. The Post chopped the story way down.

How big are the Atlanta indictments? This big:

Last night, the topic was discussed, at some length, on The One True Liberal Channel! It’s stunning to see our liberal stars stoop to the level of such a discussion.

To his credit, Chris Hayes led the discussion, which was choppy at best. Tomorrow, we’ll review a few things which were said.

Hayes went where others have not. That said, it's painful to watch American journalists attempt to discuss the public schools. Picture us discussing the Bolshoi Ballet.

That gets you about half-way there.


  1. Winerip is a national treasure. I miss his weekly articles on education.

    FYI - Here's the segment from last night's show:
    The Pitfalls of Testing-Based Education

  2. I was not raised to care much for the notion that even unreasonable standards are tantamount to a set-up for sin.

    There's an obvious truth to that claim, but it's a minor truth.

    Goddamn it, these people were supposed to be better than this. Instead they made test falsifying sessions into pizza parties.

  3. That's kind of a bad analogy, sir. If you discussed the Bolshoi Ballet, you'd *learn* something about it first.