Common Core Mainstream Media Coverage: Poor Journalism or Pure Propaganda?
Why aren’t journalists interested in digging deeper for the FACTS about Common Core?
Following is an email from a Missouri taxpayer after a constructive meeting he and others had with his school board president about Common Core concerns:
I just want to thank you again for taking the time to meet with us yesterday. I felt the meeting was very productive. If all it did was open the door of communication to us without a ‘tin foil hat’ perception of critics of CCSS, then it was indeed time well spent.
I read the article you gave me. And if you will indulge me just a bit, I would like to give you my reaction and analysis. I will try and keep it short.
The article was written by The Tribune’s Educational ‘journalist’ Catherine Martin February 8, 2014. The Headline reads “Educators praise new standards. Most states use Common Core”. On the surface, and to the average reader, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong there. But, as we said in the meeting, we feel it is important for YOU to have all the information as you read or digest information about CC and make decisions on behalf of your constituents.
The first line of the second paragraph also says “Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core Standards.” This is like a journalist writing While giving a speech at a public gathering, the floor suddenly collapsed from under Mr. Smith and he was killed while reporting on the hanging of Mr. Smith on the courthouse lawn. At best, this is poor journalism. At worst, it is pure propaganda. And unless the facts are known, the average reader will accept the information on its surface and be left thinking what a wonderful job their state is doing for their children.
The information presented by the ‘journalist’ seemingly suggests that Common Core was thoroughly looked at, vetted, examined, debated, discussed and found to be good for educating children, then ‘accepted’ by a whopping forty-five states. But we know this simply isn’t true. The reality is that the states that ‘adopted’ Common Core were not given a choice. In essence, they were blackmailed with their own money. States that accepted the $4.35 billion Race To The Top grant money were required to adopt the CC standards. Missouri didn’t receive RTTT money, however, adopting a common set of standards was one of the four assurances agreed to by the state in exchange for State Longitudinal Data System funds through stimulus money (AARA). The decision to adopt and implement CCSS here in Missouri was done by one person – the Governor. And for Ms. Martin to either ignorantly or intentionally leave this critical information out of her article raises my eyebrows and probably does yours as well. And for me, it makes all information in the rest of the article suspect of being void of other critical information. (Which it is but I won’t elaborate here). Why is this important?
In their wisdom, the Founders recognized the obvious dangers of a Federal government having control over the education of the entire nation. The US Constitution seeks a healthy balance of power between states and the federal government, and wisely leaves the question of academic standards, curriculum, and instruction up to the states and local governments (school boards) that are closest to the people. Yet here we are. With ‘national standards’ being implemented across most of the states.
Perhaps Common Core is good or at least has some good elements. Fine. But the way in which it was implemented, and the way in which it is structured represents very real dangers seen by the Founders. Our elected representatives in Congress never had a chance to discuss or debate Common Core. Our representatives at the state level never had that chance either. Even you, our local elected representative, was never given the opportunity – on my behalf as a taxpayer–to examine, vet or question the principals behind or the effectiveness of Common Core. That’s not our America. That’s socialism! And even if you had asked for the results of the field test studies, you wouldn’t have got them because they don’t exist. The structure of Common Core essentially sets up a system of control over the education of every child in the country by a handful of people in Washington DC. This is where the data collection element of CCSS concerns me. Social Security numbers or other personal/vital information may not be collected now. But the structure is being put in place. What happens in a year or two or three from now when you are required to start collecting more information or face losing funding?
One other thing about Ms. Martin’s article should be noted. I found her article on line at http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/education/many-columbia-teachers-like-new-common-core-standards-despite-national/article_394dbc14-9088-11e3-b4f4-10604b9f6eda.html . I noticed that the headline had been changed to : “Many Columbia teachers like new Common Core standards, despite national controversy”. If you scroll down to the end of the article you find this: “This article was published in the Saturday, February 8, 2014 edition of the Columbia Daily Tribune with the headline “Educators praise new standards: Most states use Common Core.” I wonder why? Why did she feel the need to change the headline that better represented the actual information in the article? I would surmise that she got quite a bit of backlash from folks who did have the facts and called her on the carpet. Of course, it’s too late though. Why would anyone who read the print version need to go online and read it again. The intended impact of the propaganda had already served its purpose. Or, was it just poor journalism?
If you can, we would encourage you to find the time to attend an informational meeting(s) about CCSS. If you can, I would be happy to drive which would give us the opportunity to discuss the issue.
Thank you for indulging me. And thanks again for your time yesterday.
For more reading on how the press is apparently not interested in digging deep for the facts, read this article, The debate on Common Core rages even as teachers are moving ahead, from STL Post-Dispatch and MEW’s response:
It’s just not that difficult for journalists to find out about information about Common Core absent from the special interest PR spin. Why aren’t they covering the facts about how Common Core was adopted, is funded and how it is not based on research/best practices? Parents and taxpayers are having to tell the truth and deliver the facts to their elected board members about the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Thank you to these citizens requesting time to meet with their school boards to give them the facts and not the PR talking points about CCSSI.