One More Time: Editor Defends ‘Rotten Apples’ Cover

By Mark Walsh — October 31, 2014 1 min read
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So, one more post on Time magazine’s “Rotten Apples” cover on efforts to end teacher tenure. Then, we must move on. Time has, with its next edition featuring director Christopher Nolan and the movie “Interstellar.”

But, despite its earlier position that the cover story would speak for itself, Time reversed course late this week. Time Editor Nancy Gibbs used an “editor’s letter” Thursday to respond to criticisms, led by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, that the cover insulted all teachers.

“In fact, Time has nothing but admiration for America’s dedicated teachers and their commitment to excellence. We view education as crucial to America’s success, and it concerns me if teachers who have not had a chance to read our coverage have heard it mischaracterized,” Gibbs wrote.

In case the editor’s letter was overlooked, Gibbs appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where Weingarten had appeared earlier in the week, to defend the “Rotten Apples” cover.

“Somehow the protest is saying [the cover] insults all teachers, so I’m a little puzzled by that,” Gibbs said. “Because the people most insulted by bad teachers are good teachers.”

Meanwhile, Weingarten tweeted about delivering protest petitions to Time:

And for those who really want more about the Time story, correspondent Haley Sweetland Edwards appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” on Wednesday for about 37 minutes.

All this controversy had to sell some magazines this week. But Gibbs had a special gift for anyone wanting to catch up with the “Rotten Apples” story.

“In the interest of an informed debate, I am making the story free for all readers on, (, so everyone can judge for themselves,” Gibbs said in her editor’s letter.

For the “Interstellar” cover and future issues, however, you’ll have to subscribe. Time-Life operators are standing by.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.