The Times ran an overwrought and overwritten front-page story Wednesday under the breathless headline, “Minority Voters Feel Betrayed Over Schools.” Betrayed? The headline on the jump page where the story continues is even more exaggerated: “Minority Voters Chafe as Democrats’ Charter School Support Wanes.”
The piece reads as if it were dictated by the charter school lobby. Read the story very carefully, if you bother to read to the end, and you will learn that some black and Hispanic voters see charters as a good alternative to public schools, while others are concerned that charters, which serve only a fraction of minority kids, drain resources from the larger number of kids in public schools, as the Prospect has documented.
And if you read all the way to paragraph 38 (!), you will learn that according to a poll by Education Next, a journal that supports charters, black opinion on charter schools is in fact evenly divided, 47 percent supportive to 47 percent opposed. [Correction: The actual poll found 47 percent supportive, 29 percent opposed, and the rest were undecided or didn’t know.] But that kind of nuance doesn’t get your story on the front page, while quoting fervent charter school activists and making unsupported generalizations does.
Other 2017 polling by Peter Hart Associates showed that large majorities of voters, black and white, oppose shifting funds from public schools to charters. Black parents were opposed, 64 to 36. Hart’s Guy Molyneux says there’s no evidence that these views have changed.
Does the Times have fact-checkers? Editors? Do they hold writers accountable?
Back to school!
Bagels Versus Tar Sands
Environmental activists and public health officials in Montreal are trying to destroy one of that city’s cultural treasures—bagels baked in wood-fired ovens. The sin is that wood smoke is a pollutant.
Yeah, but compared to what? Carbon emissions from exploitation of Canada’s western tar sands, maybe? Where’s the Canadian government on that one? Nowhere.
Reminds you of a line from one of Arlie Hochschild’s interviewees in her masterpiece, Strangers in Their Own Land, “The state always seems to come down on the little guy … they over-regulate the bottom because it’s harder to regulate the top.”