Advocacy Disguised as a News Article

[Newspaper Fail]

… and some other stuff:

  • Today on page one of my local newspaper, Foster's Daily Democrat, a long article, headlined Local educators want to take back schools: Will march on Washington July 30. First paragraphs:
    DURHAM -- Kathy Collins has seen firsthand the struggles with budget cuts, standardized testing, and lack of local control schools across the country face.

    For Collins, a literacy specialist who works in the Portsmouth School District in addition to traveling the nation as a literacy consultant, it was this firsthand knowledge and experience that drew her to the Save Our Schools march on Washington planned for later this month.

    "I work in so many schools and the struggles and negativity are shared across schools, both rural and urban," she said.

    The Save Our Schools march and rally, scheduled to take place on July 30 in Washington, D.C., aims to bring attention to and fight many of these struggles.

    Your eyes are probably already rolling, and it doesn't get much better. The march is "hoping to change … the amount of federal control over teachers, schools, and how they are run." And when they say "change", they mean "decrease". And when they say "control" they are specifically not talking about money. They want to keep the Federal money flowing, "equitably," thankyouverymuch.

    The article closes with a pointer to the Save Our Schools website. This group claims to be "grassroots", but it's not hard to find a big steaming pile of teacher union clout behind it. It's an obviously well-funded, slickly professional effort. You won't, however, see any skeptical hint in the Foster's article that the backers might—just might—have some self-interest involved.

  • And (not that it matters, but) the Foster's article identifies University Near Here professor Sarah Stitzlein as the state coordinator for the march. She is quoted:
    Stitzlein said the increased amount of government control in recent years has hurt schools, not helped them.

    "When schools are run by local control, you have a vested interest from parents and community members," Stitzlein said. "Suddenly, no one's listening to local teachers anymore."

    But Prof Stitzlein is also the author of an article "Private Interests, Public Necessity: Responding to Sexism in Christian Schools", abstracted here. She detected "substantial harms" in those festering hellholes, and it led her to conclude that "the state has the obligation and legal ability to intervene in this private domain."

    So, if I could paraphrase: Prof Stitzlein would prefer that there be less "control" (that is, accountability) over such trivia such as student performance in mathematics and literacy in government schools. But if, God forbid, a student might hear anything but feminist gospel in a private Christian school, she's all in favor of the state kicking down the doors and bringing the malefactors to justice.

  • Yesterday, Pun Salad mentioned the "Marriage Vow" pledge signed by presidential candidates Santorum and Bachmann, and linked to a Reason blurb by Mike Riggs that implied that the pledge was looking to ban porn; a number of lefty sites made the porn-banning charge more explicit.

    At the Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan H. Adler takes issue with that, convincingly. (For one thing, if one of the pledges contained in the vow was to ban all porn, the author seems plain-spoken enough to put something like "All porn should be banned.")

    Adler is remarkably fair-minded:

    As a supporter of gay marriage, among other things, I don't particularly care for the pledge and I am more likely to support a presidential candidate who refuses to sign it. But if candidates are to be criticized for signing this pledge, its contents should not be misrepresented.
    Although I didn't misrepresent the pledge myself, I linked uncritically to someone who (arguably) did. Apologies.

  • And in case you were feeling a little too cheerful today, Kevin Williamson will help you with that, pointing out that "The debt ceiling that can be lifted by Congress is not the One True Debt Ceiling."
    I have a feeling that we're going to look back on this debt-ceiling "crisis" as the good ol' days within a year or two, and maybe sooner. When the bipartisan negotiators started thinking big, they talked about cutting $4 trillion off of new deficit spending over the next ten years, or just a tad more than the national debt has increased since Pres. Barack Obama was sworn in. That $4 trillion over ten years isn't exactly chump change, but it's not a game-changer, either. If that's the best we can do, our best probably is not going to be good enough.
    I think we need the Gillespie/De Rugy plan implemented, ASAP.

  • Thirty years of innovation. Heh.

Last Modified 2013-04-01 1:30 PM EDT