The Times We Live In

It’s been more than 50 years since I first saw the byline “By Larry Lee” in print.  Believe it was in the Auburn Plainsman, the school newspaper at Auburn University.  I went on to spend more than a decade in journalism before changing career paths.  But writing has been in my blood for a very long time.

Because of this, it has been painful to watch the demise of newspapers and the accompanying shortage of reporters who have the time and inclination to dig into stories.  And whether they realize it or not, the public is the worse for it.  Now we tend to get our “news” in bite size gulps such as a few paragraphs on a web site or a couple of sound bites on something calling itself a TV “news channel.”

Don’t believe me?  Then think back a few nights ago to the reality show Fox News claimed was a “debate” among Republican presidential hopefuls.  This was little more than an oral rassling match between grown men in suits.  No deliberation, no thoughtful discourse of ideas–just a war of sound bites.

And now the Los Angeles Times offers us a glimpse of the future of journalism.  The nation’s fourth most widely-read newspaper, that began in 1881, says they will now have an initiative called Education Matters  (should I tell them I got there first?) that will cover education throughout the country.

According to the Times,The project will cover educational issues, including “the latest debate on curriculum or testing” and “how charter schools are changing public education.”

Funding for this effort will come from donations and grants from philanthropic organizations like the Baxter Family Foundation and the Broad Foundation.  The problem however, is that several of the organizations funding it have a direct stake in reforms such as firing teachers based on their students’ test scores and replacing public schools with privately run charter schools.

Go here for more information.

Just another example of why those who believe in public education must be on their toes.

2 Responses to The Times We Live In

  1. Larry,
    As always, thank you for providing us with straight forward education enterprise information so that we can intelligently process such on our own. You do, in truth, remain a journalist in the service of our society.

  2. Many people have already “thrown in the towel” in the fight for public education. There are a few like you, Larry, that continue to hammer away at the bills and laws coming out of the legislature. “Joe Public” and most legislators do not have a clue as to why or how the AAA came about, nor do they recognize the meaning of Charter schools, much less the fact that they are NOT outperforming public schools. If Alabama public schools could pick and choose their students, they would have 100% graduation rate and be ranked in the top 10 in the nation academically. The men in suits continue to throw up road blocks, smokescreens and distractions and people do not know who or what to follow, therefore the complacency. So, thank you for keeping us informed with facts, statistics and breaking news…without people like you… towel would have been thrown in with my retirement papers.