Jonathan Alter’s crony journalism

The frustrated teacher

It is convenient to blame teachers for America’s education woes because it lets everyone else off the hook. Tragically, this has become the vogue opinion in the mainstream media, and I’m calling bullshit. Jonathan Alter’s latest column in Newsweek pushed me over the edge. Here’s the implicit argument:

Why do kids drop out? Not the stultifying test prep, overcrowded rooms, chronic absenteeism, or lack of personal connection to a counselor. It’s bad teachers.

Why are America’s test scores lagging compared to other countries around the world? Not deep-seated cycles of drugs/violence/ignorance in many neighborhoods or an antiquated school calendar with a ridiculous summer vacuum. It’s complacent, unionized teachers.

Alter works for Newsweek, which is owned by the Washington Post, which also owns Kaplan. That is why “stultifying test prep” gets a pass and unions get the blame.

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