Education Letter to the Editor

Lack of ‘Investigative Vigor’ on Reporting Gates’ Role?

February 19, 2010 1 min read

To the Editor:

I am starting to notice a slight bias in Education Week. For example, your article “Turnaround Project Signs Six States” (Feb. 3, 2010) lacks investigative vigor. In it, you discuss how six states have signed up with the Mass Insight Education and Research Institute to spearhead “aggressive interventions” at underperforming schools. Yet nowhere do you mention what Mass Insight wants teachers to do differently in a school turnaround, or the fact that Mass Insight has no prior track record in school interventions.

With a few clicks of the mouse, I discovered yet another omission—the fact that Mass Insight receives major funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It follows, then, that the foundation is one of the main driving forces behind the school turnarounds your article discusses. Significantly, it does have a track record—though not a very good one.

I am also upset that your Feb. 3 issue had nothing to say about the recently announced closing of 19 schools in New York City. I attended one of the public meetings at Jamaica High School, a school slated to be phased out starting next September. There was a lot of passion on display by both students and parents, and not one of them had anything good to say about a Gates Foundation charter school that has been eating into Jamaica’s available building space. What I see at ground zero is a good deal of resentment of charter schools and of the Gates Foundation that your paper is not tapping into.

Why is that? Is it because the Gates Foundation shovels bucketloads of money your way? I have two suggestions: Either call your paper “The Gates Foundation Weekly,” or drop all your sponsors and go back to being objective, the way you once were.

Walter Weis

Forest Hills, N.Y.

A version of this article appeared in the February 24, 2010 edition of Education Week as Lack of ‘Investigative Vigor’ On Reporting Gates’ Role?