Education Opinion

Dear MORE magazine

By Nancy Flanagan — September 29, 2010 1 min read
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Dear MORE magazine,

I just received my first free issue. Something about changing addresses triggers a flood of free publications. Your magazine came with a card urging me--a woman of “style and substance” (and, judging by cover models and advertising, a certain age)-- to subscribe to a magazine you felt sure matched my new home and lifestyle.

Here’s the deal, MORE. The “substance” part of me reads all day long--mostly education journals and reports, content knowledge for developing engaging curriculum and lots of blogs written by a range of folks who are passionate about education issues. So it’s kind of nice to have some light, snack reading at bedtime, about shampoo and such.

So imagine my surprise to find, last night, this little gem in your publication: “Are Teachers Ruining Our Schools?” There it was, tucked between an article on Yoko Ono and another on how Sharon Osborne has turned her breast implants into paperweights for Ozzie.

I was sure it was a grabber headline, with some just-calm-down journalism following. But no. It was a series of disingenuous questions with defamatory and erroneous answers:

Q: We know something's wrong with our public schools, but what's the root of the problem? Poverty? Absentee parents? Playstation?

Wait for it...

A: The documentary "Waiting for Superman" follows five families through an educational system seemingly designed to produce dropouts and points the finger at lousy--tenured--teachers. The dirty little secret in [the film] is that middle-class schools are failing as well. They may have manicured lawns, but only a small group of kids is testing well. We have been protecting [teachers] too long.

Since your magazine is targeted at vibrant and energetic women with a little gray in their hair, I wonder if it occurred to you, in snagging some free content from the Superman media machine, that a whole lot of your readers are teachers--or former teachers, or sisters or best friends with a (“lousy,” “tenured”) veteran teacher.

Would you print a little piece called “Are Nurses Ruining Our Hospitals?” or “We Know Something’s Wrong With Grandmothers--but What?” or “We’ve Been Protecting Middle-Aged Women Too Long!”

Since my copy was free, I can’t cancel my subscription. But I can urge friends--people who trust their own experiences, or even research-- to post their thoughts about your cheap shot on the MORE Facebook site.

It’s been a disgraceful and duplicitous week for mainstream media reporting on education.

You ought to be embarrassed by the low-information savaging of a critical and honorable profession. Some of those teachers are--or were--your readers.

Sincerely yours, Nancy Flanagan

The opinions expressed in Teacher in a Strange Land are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.