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MEDIA: A Front-Page Fairy Tale About Chicago Schools

You'd think that, with a little extra time and a chance to visit the district, the Washington Post's Maria Glod would have a better chance than others for accuracy and insight in her front-page Duncan story today (Chicago School Reform Could Be a U.S. Model).  And indeed there are some improvements over past efforts (like not touting the suspect Chicago test score increases). 

But over all, the piece reads surprisingly like something the transition folks or Team Duncan would hand out as talking points.  Healthy skepticism?  Not apparent.  Verification of claims?  Who has time for that?

ScreenHunter_01 Dec. 30 09.26Three quick examples:  The Post says that the pay for performance program in Chicago is in "numerous" city schools when in reality the number of schools in this new and federally funded pilot program is less than 20. That's hardly numerous.  The Post touts the dubious claim that Duncan has worked collaboratively with the teachers union based -- it seems -- on little more than the word of the teachers union president.  Why pass that on to readers without checking it out?  And -- perhaps most problematically -- it suggests that Chicago schools are a model for the rest of the country when in most regards the schools there have followed other more successful districts like New York.   Two months ago, hardly anyone knew who Arne Arne Duncan was. There's a reason for that.

The Post (and other mainstream outlets) discredit themselves and do a disservice to their readers when they pass along unverified or exaggerated claims like those in this article, and fail to indicate controversy or questions.  Please make them stop. 

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