The elitist strain in US education journalism

Some years ago, during the heat of a presidential campaign I assembled some policy-relevant and time-sensitive research on the top education policy topic of the day. I could have published the work myself as, it so happens, I ended up doing anyway. But, I thought the work would get more traction from a sympathetic organization with a higher profile.

I sent the research to a nationally known advocacy organization to use as it saw fit, but then heard nothing from them for weeks. Meanwhile, they published other research on the same topic. I wrote to inquire what had happened to what I sent, and why they hadn’t used it. It was an innocent question; I wanted to know if I should bother communicating with them in the future.

I received a reply from one of their research analysts. His answer had nothing to do with the research material I sent. Rather, he wrote that he had been a senior editor at a national education news publication and had inquired about me at both his current organization and among his colleagues at his former news publication. No one at either place had heard of me. Ergo, anything I sent them was not worth wasting any of their time on. It wasn’t that what I had sent them that didn’t matter. What didn’t matter was me. I was simply not important enough to merit a moment of their attention.

A couple of months ago I sent Politico Morning Education a batch of five reports collectively entitled, Common Core Collaborators: Six Organizational Portraits Common Core Collaborators: Six Organizational Portraits. I had written the reports, and they were published after editorial review in the Nonpartisan Education Review.

Four times I requested that Politico add a notice of the reports in the “Report Roll Call” section of its daily Morning Education. Thrice, I requested that they inform me of their rationale if they chose not to publish the notice.

Other curated “overview[s] of education policy news” published a notice and links to Common Core Collaborators, including: Truth in American Education’s blog, Education Views, Donna Garner, Jim Zellmer’s, the National Association of Scholars monthly newsletter, and Fritzwire’s daily Public Private Action.

Over the span of time I was communicating with them, Politico Morning Education’s Report Roll Call directed the public’s attention to reports from the following individuals and groups: 

  • American Federation of Teachers
  • American Institutes for Research
  • Bush Institute
  • Century Foundation
  • Center for American Progress
  • Chiefs for Change (2)
  • The Conference Board
  • Education Next
  • Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education
  • FutureEd
  • Rick Hess
  • OECD
  • Rand Corporation (3)
  • Southern Regional Education Board
  • Third Way
  • Urban Institute

Notice a pattern? The individuals and groups Politico’s Morning Edition deems worthy of mention are well-funded and politically well-connected—those who can “pay to play.” They tend to be individuals and organizations that donate funds to support education news outlets. They tend also to be organizations with their own public relations personnel. Finally, overwhelmingly they are individuals and organizations that have accepted money from the Gates’ and other foundations to promote Common Core.

Were any Common Core opponent individuals or groups represented over these two months in Report Roll Call? None that I could see.

Despite repeated requests, Politico’s Morning Education never mentioned Common Core Collaborators, and never explained why. Despite their complaints about others, it would seem that some journalists are perfectly capable of censorship and information suppression themselves. Perhaps, if I were more important ;-)

P.S. Later, I would receive the same cold shoulder from Education Dive.

This entry was posted in Censorship, Common Core, Education journalism, Richard P. Phelps. Bookmark the permalink.

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