Teacher Challenges Lazy Media

Why are mainstream media outlets afraid of the classroom? Last school year Newsweek delivered their professional opinion on improving K-12 education, without actually consulting any K-12 education professionals. Our ASCD Annual Conference Scholars have also taken up this issue, at length (“How Can Educators Take Back the Mic?“)

This fall, NBC’s Education Nation subjects school communities to another sermon from, primarily, a slate of corporate sponsors and entrepreneurs.

In an open letter to NBC, veteran teacher Brian Crosby challenges what’s become a tradition in mainstream coverage of teaching and learning issues: Executives are welcomed on the basis of their credentials alone, whereas real educators must compete for limited, marginalized air time. Here’s a clip from Crosby:

Do you see any irony in the fact that none of the “experts” (speakers) are teachers, students or parents? (Much less many of them?) Could that be part of the problem in American education that “sponsors”, corporations, news people, administrators and others have a prominent voice in education, but all the REAL stakeholders are, “thrown a bone” so that they can participate if they are lucky to be chosen based on their “application” so they can talk during a show at noon on Sunday during football and baseball playoff season? Gee thanks.

It might be more challenging to weave together a cohesive story out of the varied experiences of teachers, administrators, students, and parents from communities across the U.S., but aren’t they first-hand sources on the condition of education in this country? Are K-12 educators not considered education experts?

Laura Varlas is an ASCD project manager in publishing, and a graduate student in the secondary education: English/language arts program at George Washington University.