With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Messing with the headlines

To close or fix struggling schools?

Here's the headline on yesterday's AP story by Libby Quaid: OBAMA WANTS TO SEE 5,000 FAILING SCHOOLS CLOSE. The same exact Quaid piece ran again today with this headline: OBAMA WANTS TO TURN AROUND 5,000 FAILING SCHOOLS.

The headline was also changed in the online editions of several newpapers, including the Sacramento Bee,. Quaid's piece, which was picked up by global media outlets, offered no attribution for the original headline statement. But the article came on the heels of a meeting between Obama and the three bedfellows, Bloomberg, Gingrich, and Sharpton. Did the novice Quaid simply accept their spin on Obama's position and run with it without checking? Or are Obama and Duncan really pushing such a massive school-closing policy? If they are, then why no direct quotes or White House press releases on such an important policy shift?

To be continued.


Meanwhile, the AFT's Weingarten is making her presence felt at the "reform" table, offering a trade-off with Bloomberg--support for mayoral control in exchange for keeping neighborhood schools open. While the press focused on the Bloomberg's kiss on Randi's cheek (it's Spring and love is in their air), here's the meat of the Daily News story:

Weingarten Saturday proposed a way to turn around failing schools without shutting them down, offering teachers a reason to line up behind the mayor. "If somebody wants to look at it as an olive branch, they'll look at it as an olive branch," she said...

Weingarten's idea for helping troubled schools would be funded with Race to the Top grants, stimulus money from Washington specifically set aside for school reform. Weingarten cited three supposedly failing schools originally slated for closure this year - including Middle School 399 in the Bronx - where reading tests scores skyrocketed as proof that some schools need to be given a second chance.

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