What a bargain. The Bush Administration had to pay Armstrong Williams but the NEA gets New York Times education columnist and prolific No Child Left Behind Act disinformation machine Michael Winerip for free!
In today’s column Winerip returns to his favorite storyline: the school not making adequate yearly progress and the unfairness and horror of it all. He also employs a method familiar to long-time readers: misleadingly conflating state and federal requirements to paint a Kafka-like nightmare. There is no doubt there were hassles for the principal he describes, but they’re really because of state and city officials though most readers can’t be expected to piece that together on their own in a column basically attacking the federal law. He also continues a USC-like streak (with no Texas in sight) of failing to offer readers any reason for the inclusion of provisions about special needs students in the federal law or that groups representing these students want them.
Finally, it’s really two columns forced together to make one. The bulk of the test pressure at this school is because of the intense competition for slots in good middle schools in the city. Winerip mentions this but then proceeds to pile on NCLB. Fair enough, but again can lay readers, presumably the column’s primary audience, be expected to sort all this out on their own? Should The Times force them to? Repeatedly?