Jay Mathews's weekly online column "Class Struggle" looks inward this week in response to the release of a report from the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute that analyzes the content of education news stories in the state of Virginia. (As Mathews notes, the Washington Post is not included though it is the most widely read paper in the Commonwealth.) Most of the stories covered topics favorable to the "public school industry" like school funding, staffing, and teacher pay, and less than 3 percent reported on "public education reforms and innovations such as charter schools, home schooling, vouchers, and tuition tax credits." Mathews says that "the education reporting habits the report describes are common to nearly all newspapers in this country," including a tendency for reporters to rely mostly on "government" sources like departments of education and local school boards, not think tanks or stories from the classroom. "More outside voices, reported sooner in the process," he writes, "would help." Gadfly, of course, is all in favor of this, and willing to lend a quote or two to any education reporters trying to, as Mathews suggests, "do better."
"How to make me a better education reporter," by Jay Mathews, Washington Post, July 26, 2005
"Society's Watchdogs," Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute, July 2005