This NYT story on yesterday’s skills commission report is a museum quality classic of the education story genre: It’s got the big set up, the breathless quote from Jack Jennings that confirms the general storyline (in this case, this is a really important report! It could change everything!), the dismissive brush-offs from the teachers’ unions about how wrongheaded it all is, and the sober middle-of-the-road quote at the end. Why mess with perfection, I know…But how about some, you know, analysis on why the unions don’t like it (it proposes to reallocate teacher compensation*), what its prospects are (it could change nothing), what happened with the last report from the same gang, or whether it’s significant that this blue-ribbon panel essential embraced the contracting model for delivering public education? NYT, you’ll never move past #4 with stuff like this!
Incidentally, CSM’s Paulson steps-up and here is a really good story on the report that actually tells us something (and has a storyline confirming quote from Jennings as a freebie bonus!).**
*In fact, in this case the story is unfair to the unions because it makes them look more reactionary than they actually are (so that’s an accomplishment worth noting). They have legitimate reasons to be concerned about that part of the report, but surely support some of the more milquetoast stuff around adult education and pre-k education.
**Here’s that quote: “I think we’ve tried to do what we can to improve American schools within the current context,” says Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, who says the commission has sparked an important debate. “Now we need to think much more daringly.”
Not sure I agree. I think we need to think more daringly, yes, but I don’t think we tried everything or nearly hard enough to improve American schools within the current context. But I think that is sort of irrelevant today because the context has changed so much and consequently more of the same amounts to trying to make the current system work to do things we don’t want it to do anymore anyway.