I’ve always wondered just how far I can trust even the local media to report accurately and fairly. That question was partially answered for me over the past two weeks.
On January 22nd, I participated in a six-person panel in front of a joint committee meeting of the House and Senate education committees at the state capitol building in Boise. After spending a couple days focused on my kids I ventured to look in The Idaho Statesman to see how the event had been covered. I was discouraged to find I had been misquoted in, not one, but two separate articles by two different “journalists.”
In the first article, the reporter misquoted me as stating, “Kindergartners were going to be expected to do complex algebraic equations.” In reality I said that Kindergarten students would be expected to do complex algebraic thinking. There’s a BIG difference between thought processes and performing equations.
Here’s the second misrepresentation, this time by Bill Roberts: “The standards are confusing.” Printing that leads a reader to believe I was speaking only about the standards themselves when, in fact, I was referring to the fact that these standards will most adversely affect special needs and children from lower socioeconomic classes who generally lack a strong parental and community support network. To his credit, Mr. Roberts called me back right away – on a Saturday while in Disneyland. However, after discussing my concerns with him, he insisted he didn’t misquote me and wouldn’t make any changes or corrections. Well, I disagree. But, I’ll let you be the judge.
Here’s my complete thought in response to a question about how Common Core standards will affect special needs students: “I spoke to a teacher who had worked in inner city schools. And she had tears streaming down her face as she told us that she was really concerned for what Common Core was going to do to these inner-city kids who didn’t have the family life and the structure that they needed behind them to help them navigate this new, confusing set of standards.”
This experience has reinforced that the admonition, caveat emptor (buyer beware), still applies to modern journalism – even in good old Idaho.