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Media: Behind The Scenes Of Campaign Season Press Announcement

Cruious about how your education news gets shaped and delivered to you these hazy days of summer? The process isn't quite as convoluted as Congressional sausage-making but it's not straightforward, either. There's lots of schmoozing and advantage-seeking involved, some pecking order stuff, and a certain amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

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If I've got the story right about today's mini-story on the new NCLB waivers, the White House decides last night to announce another five states getting NCLB waivers -- including Virginia.  (They've got potential items like this lined up from around the various cabinet agencies to keep a flow of good news going in general and on the education front hope to erase the memory of Iowa getting rejected.)

The White House press office takes the lead.  The story gets offered to the AP for a 6 am embargo (see story here) The other national education reporters get left out and have to "follow," which papers hate to do with competitors. That's at least partly why, so far at least, we haven't seen anything from the NYT, WSJ, Washington Post, or USA Today. The other reason being it's not that big a story.  

By 9, EdWeek gets a story up -- just about the same time as the official release comes out -- from the White House. As of 11, there's still no press release from the USDE press office.  

Nefarious?  Not at all?  Unusual?  Not the least (for campaign season).  Important?  Probably not. But still good to know what's going on behind the scenes, why stories appear in some places and not others, etc. And it's probably quite annoying to education reporters and USDE folks who are used to doing things their own way.

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION APPROVES FIVE MORE STATES FOR NCLB WAIVERS

24 States Approved So Far; 12 States and Washington, D.C., Currently Under Review: Other States Can Still Apply

 The Obama administration today approved five additional states for flexibility from key provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership. 

 The states approved for waivers are Arkansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia.   Today’s announcement brings the number of states with waivers to 24. Thirteen additional applications are still under review.

 “These states have joined in a nationwide movement toward state-led education reform now embraced by 24 states,” said Secretary Arne Duncan. “Their plans are the product of bold, forward-thinking state and local leaders who have moved beyond the tired old battles and partisan bickering to roll up their sleeves and start working together.”

 Duncan pointed out that many of the new state-created accountability systems capture more students at risk, including low-income students, students with disabilities, and English learners, adding, “States must show they are protecting children in order to get flexibility. These states met that bar.”

 

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And then, if regurgitating another press release isn't your idea of an actual news story, the whole scoop is not much, one way or another.

I think the number of filters all this information goes through is why I always prefer transcripts of what actually gets said at these debates. The government press release biases it all from the very inception.

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