If salmonella infects the food supply, the nation’s media scream for weeks. How could such a terrible thing happen?! But the schools are churning out millions of ignorant, illiterate children. Why is no one screaming? There seems to be a news blackout concerning education.
Any reporting we do see is trivial. What time should school start? Should we have valedictorians? Which grading system should we use? Can students receive a grade below 50? Where should they build a new school? Superintendent X says, as he always does, that he’s optimistic about the coming year.
Check the archives of your own paper. Try to find something helpful. Odds are, probably not, which suggests an unhappy conclusion: mainstream media rarely provide substantive analysis of educational failure in the U.S.
Prima facie, the Education Establishment and Media Establishment are silent partners. Evidently, neither one wants Americans to know what’s going on in their public schools. If these two provide nothing but silence, how can parents figure out what to do?
The average American would not guess these two behemoths could be scheming together. But how else do we explain the paucity of genuine journalism about education?
If the USA had an honest media, the public would know why sight-words create dyslexia and illiteracy; why Reform Math makes children calculator-dependent and not much else; and why Constructivism leaves children less educated than was normal 50 years ago. The daily papers would routinely explain such mysteries just as they now discuss climate change and flu shots.
Freedom of the press was not meant to be freedom to practice bad journalism, or no journalism at all. But that’s the essence of our malaise.
So here’s where we are: pretend-journalists hide the truth about pretend-education. The public is not allowed to understand what it needs to know: why phonics is essential; why traditional math instruction is more successful than Common Core; and why Americans are typically ignorant about simple stuff they used to learn in fifth grade. How could all this happen?