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NYTimes Deceptive Headline and All But One of Their “Picks” Mislead Readers

November 27, 2019

The NYTimes headline to an article written by Erica Green and Eliza Shapiro reads:

Minority Voters Chafe as Democratic Candidates Abandon Charter Schools

There are at least four problems with this headline and the article.

The first is this fact, which is buried near the end of the article:

Black and Latino approval for the (charter) schools remained basically steady at about 47 percent for each group.

47% hardly constitutes a majority of “minority voters” and I daresay if you asked them a narrower question, one that reflects the actual position of the Democrats, they would lean toward the positions the candidates are actually, taking, which is not “abandonment” but rather “regulation”.

Which brings me to the second point: each and every candidate quoted was not opposed to ALL charters. Indeed, the most progressive of the candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, made it clear that they opposed deregulated and/or for-profit charters.

The third problem is that the NAACP, arguably a voice for African Americans, took a stand against charter schools in 2016 that is, in fact, the basis for both Warren’s and Sanders’ positions, a fact that the article DID highlight:

Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders say their education plans would address the causes of educational inequality, in part, by significantly increasing funding for high-poverty schools.

Both plans echo the N.A.A.C.P., which called in 2016 for a moratorium on new charter schools. Mr. Sanders has gone further than Ms. Warren by linking charters to school segregation.

Josh Orton, a spokesman for Mr. Sanders, said the senator believed that “all students deserve a world-class public education, regardless of their ZIP code.” He added that “too many charter schools are unaccountable and contributing to privatization.”

Finally, the article references the progressive candidates’ position of cutting federal funding for schools without noting the facts referenced in yesterday’s post noting that nearly 25% of the $4,000,000,000 allocated went to schools that never opened!

To make matters worse, the article went overboard posting fingers at unions as the driving force behind the shift away from charter expansion. And not only did they do so in the article, they amplified this position in the comments they selected as “picks” with the two leading ones deriding unions as greedy and uninterested in the welfare of children.

I could go on… but instead I am going to paste in a comment by Chris Gray, of Chicago that captures my thinking on the NYTimes coverage of this issue perfectly:

This is a very deceptive article. The data point given shows that fewer than half of black and Latino Democrats approve of charter schools, even as they’ve plunged much lower among white Democrats. Most of the “activists” cited in this article are simply representing the interests of their financial backers and racializing support for charter schools because they know how that plays in Democratic quarters and liberal media outlets set up to focus on identity politics. These faux activists aren’t really representing blacks and Latinos, they’re representing money. Charter schools provide a means to privatize and capitalize on public schools. They divert tax money from the socialized system into one that is set up for the benefit of capitalist investors. They cherry-pick the best students and leave the rest in the old system, and even then they don’t show better results overall. The problem with the education of low-income minorities is one of poverty and institutional racism. The problem is not public schools. Setting up a separate system where Wall Street receives a dividend primarily helps Wall Street, which is paying for this astroturf activism.

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