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Media: Two Great Education Writers You May Not Know About

ScreenHunter_01 May. 09 13.22Two of my favorite education writers right now write a lot about education but you may not know their names because they don't usually have bylines. Karin Klein of the LA Times (right) and Kate Grossman (@kategrossman1) of the Chicago Sun-Times  (left) are editorial page writers whose work often comes out in the form of unsigned editorial page positions. 

What do I like so much about their work? They take nuanced, sometimes unexpected positions on the issues.  There's not much extremism in their views (and they don't spend much time addressing extreme elements and positions that get so much coverage elsewhere). They write in plain English for a general audience that may or may not care about education in a day to day way.  They're not trying to grab attention.

This is the smart middle ground that is so hard to find online these days -- even in traditional news coverage of education events.  It's reasonable, reasoned writing that neither conveys nor quotes extreme views, focuses on immediate events rather than speculation, and is basically pragmatic. The focus is simple: What's the current situation, best as we know it, what are the viable options, and realistic outcomes?

In the past, there would be more of this kind of education writing in the news section and wire services also.  (Used to be that AP education coverage was so frequent and so "down the middle" that it was sometimes hard to read. But it served as a useful reality check when political opponents and pundits were saying the sky was falling or that they'd discovered the next big thing.)

But the AP education team has been turned over and decimated for the past few years. Reuters' education coverage has been fascinating to follow but has seemed hyperbolic rather than steady since the arrival of Stephanie Simon. The Washington Post's coverage skews local rather than national.  The Huffington Post's Joy Resmovits still does great work but is clearly under pressure to attract attention as much as to provide steady, reliable coverage.  PBS's John Merrow seems more and more of a commentator than a moderating voice of late.  

I don't always agree with Klein or Grossman. And being in the middle isn't glamorous or appealing when the next-door blogger can put out ten posts and generate scads of attention during the time it takes to write a careful editorial. But I, for one, am very glad they're out there right now. That steady, thoughtful voice, without any obvious self-interest or desire to advance a particular cause or outcome, is refreshing.  Maybe there are others?

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I respect your generosity toward other writers on the education beat, Alexander, but could you say more about what you meant when you said about Klein and Grossman, "There's not much extremism in their views"?

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