Friday, July 25, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

In defense of our public schools

By
From page A6 | January 22, 2013 |

By Peter London

“California gets a failing grade on its school policies” is the lead headline in The Davis Enterprise of Jan. 8. But that headline itself deserves a failing grade for journalistic inaccuracy, another failing grade for being tinged with “yellow journalism” and yet another one for providing its readers with headlines that defame (wrongly) the character of  one of the most important “characters” in our nation‚ our public schools.

The subsequent headline on Page A5 even more incorrectly and misleading blares: “Schools: Calif. is given an ‘F.’ ”

Who was it who gave California’s public schools a failing grade? An academic council, a federal educational agency? A respected nonpartisan research foundation? A scholarly society? No. The grade was assigned by a start-up, (2010) already controversial,
conservative, partisan, anti-teachers union, self-appointed, non-vetted, privately funded, group of “concerned citizens” whose first
sentence of their mission statement reads, “American schools are failing our kids.”

As Richard Zeiger, California’s chief deputy superintendent, who is quoted in the same article states, “This (StudentsFirst) is an organization that frankly makes its living by asserting that schools are failing. … This group has focused on an extremely narrow, unproven, method that they think will improve teaching … and we just flat-out disagree…”

The article does go on to detail the many controversial positions of this group and the many states and parent and educator groups opposed to its policies; but the headlines of The Enterprise proclaim a decidedly different state of affairs: “Schools: Calif. is given an ‘F.’ ”

That is bad journalism, it is misleading, a corruption of even the reporter’s own story. It is telling its readers a “truth” that is not
“true” at all, but merely an opinion of a small, recent, but very politically savvy and well-funded partisan outfit of a very particular
political persuasion.

I happen to have another opinion about the quality of American public schools from that of StudentsFirst and its president, Michelle
Rhee, herself plagued by lawsuits and scandals concerning doctored test scores and other abuse of office (See “Frontline” of Jan. 8 for details of Rhee’s career as a school administrator).

Being an educator for more than 50 years — training art teachers, art therapists and artists, visiting and lecturing in hundreds of public schools in more than 40 states and eight countries — I have come to my own considered opinion. This half-century in our public schools, preschool through higher education, has led me to believe that American public schools and especially their teachers, are the most professional, intelligent, dedicated, caring, honest, decent, highly educated, servants of the public good that I have known.

And, and, despite the vast inequalities, racism, sexism, classism and downright pugnacity and mendacity Americans all too readily engage in, all too gladly suffer, our schools and our teachers create the safest, most thoughtful, polite, honest, hopeful, home for intellect, merit and decency in America.

And one more thing: Our public schools are doing a fantastic job given the children they are given to educate. Want proof? How about just this: Be honest now, aren’t your children smarter than you were at their age? Don’t they know more about their world than you did about your world? Aren’t they more nimble in research, aren’t they more friendly with a wider bunch of diverse races, genders, ethnicities and intelligences than you were? Aren’t they less prejudiced than you were (are?)

Whom do you think you have to thank for this step up in evolution? You bet; it’s your public schools and the teachers who have put their lives into in their great work.

— Peter London is a Davis resident. For more information, visit www.peterlondon.us

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Tech Trekkers boldly go into STEM fields

    By Amy Jiang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Decoding breast milk secrets reveals clues to lasting health

    By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    California climate change policies to hit our pocketbooks

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    Davis braces for six days of scorching heat

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Appeals court upholds high-speed rail route

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

    Carwash raises funds for funeral expenses

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Unitarians will host summer camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Artists, photographers invited to support Yolo Basin Foundation

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Sudwerk’s sales grow, floating on a sea of dry hop lager

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Wetlands visitors will see migrating shorebirds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    ‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Explorit: Wonderful wetlands right at home

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Recycle old paint cans for free

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Where your gas money goes

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    STEAC needs donations of personal care items

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Forum

    Trio disagrees on best option

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Commenting system to change

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10, 32 Comments

     
    Support these local restaurants

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Let’s get the bench repaired

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Predicting climate changes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

     
    Clinton’s book is worth a read

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

    Thanks for emergency help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    Hudson solid, Hamels better in Giants’ loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Petrovic, Putnam share Canadian Open lead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Moss powers A’s past Astros

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Enriquez brilliant, but Post 77 season ends with Area 1 loss

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    The un-Armstrong? Tour ‘boss’ Nibali wins Stage 18

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Clyde Elmore: Art in the Wild

    By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    ‘A Most Wanted Man’: Superb espionage drama

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Musicians perform at Sunday service

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A17 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Accord’s latest model is most fuel efficient

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
     
    .

    Obituaries

    Mary Lita Bowen

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    James Thomas Feather

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Richard ‘Dick’ Robenalt

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, July 25, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Sherman Home

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Vaughan Brookshaw

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Ciana Wallace

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Jo Vallejo

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Carol Coder

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Diane Lardelli

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Jason Sull

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Leslie Blevins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    David Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Open House Map

    By jboydston | From Page: RER19

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Open House Map

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER23

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24