Took two separate shots at the myths: “Mama tried,” Merle Haggard once said.
Well so what? So did Paul Farhi!
Way back in January 2007, Farhi had heard just about enough about our failing schools. He produced that rarest of press corps sightings—a Washington Post “Five Myths” feature about the public schools.
For context, see our previous post. Headline included, here’s the way Farhi started:
FARHI (1/21/07): Five Myths About U.S. Kids Outclassed by the Rest of the WorldTo read Farhi’s full report, click here. These were his five myths:
The usual hand-wringing accompanied the Department of Education's release late last year of new statistics on how U.S. students performed on international tests. How will the United States compete in the global economy, went the lament, when our students lag behind the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong in math and science? American fourth-graders ranked 12th in the world on one international math test, and eighth-graders were 14th. Is this further evidence of the failure of the nation's schools?
Not exactly. In fact, a closer look at how our kids perform against the international "competition" suggests that this story line may contain more than a few myths:
Myth: U.S. students rate poorly compared with those in the rest of the world.Farhi fought a rising tide of bullroar and teacher-trashing. Today, more data are available—and most of those data are encouraging, perhaps even good.
Myth: U.S. students are falling behind.
Myth: U.S. students won't be well prepared for the modern workforce.
Myth: Bad schooling has undermined America's competitiveness.
Myth: How we stack up on international tests matters, if only for national pride.
Farhi spoke up, but the bullroar grew. Four years later, he spoke up again:
FARHI (5/20/11): Five myths about America’s schoolsThese were his five myths this day:
The end of the school year and the layoffs of tens of thousands of teachers are bringing more attention to reformers’ calls to remake public schools. Today’s school reform movement conflates the motivations and agendas of politicians seeking reelection, religious figures looking to spread the faith and bureaucrats trying to save a dime. Despite an often earnest desire to help our nation’s children, reformers have spread some fundamental misunderstandings about public education.
Myth: Our schools are failing.In our view, Merle Haggard’s mother gets too much credit when you look at the ways Farhi tried.
Myth: Unions defend bad teachers.
Myth: Billionaires know best.
Myth: Charter schools are the answer.
Myth: More effective teachers are the answer.
Down through the years, this pretty much seems to be the full effort from the Five Myths feature. That said, the public schools are a huge institution. The amount of bullroar about the schools continues to be very large.
That bullroar deceives the American people and serves highly specialized interests.
American newspapers like the Post should be reporting these basic topics in multi-part, front-page reports. Since test scores are constantly propagandized, they should be explaining the data from the NAEP and from the major international tests—the PISA, the TIMSS and the PIRLS.
Beyond that, would it kill The Millionaire Children of Cable to tackle these very important topics? Tremendous damage is being done by all these myths about public schools. So what was Rachel discussing last night, pleasuring herself as she did?
Who purchased the clothing for Ultrasound’s wife! Sure, it’s good solid fun for us rubes. And when we get served this sweet tribal gruel, it makes us adore Rachel more.
That said, couldn't these tribunes of self-adoration talk about low-income children just once? Or don’t kids like that count?
It’s hard to avoid a bit of disgust when millionaire children refuse to try. After all, even Merle Haggard’s mother tried—or at least, so Haggard said.