Education Letter to the Editor

Parroting the Party Line on Standards and Testing?

January 17, 2006 1 min read

To the Editor:

The article “Nationwide Standards Eyed Anew” (Dec. 7, 2005) gives new evidence of your newspaper’s bias in favor of the standards-and-testing obsession currently defacing American schools. It cites eight sources who support standards and testing and would like to see these implemented nationally (all the usual suspects: Chester E. Finn Jr., Michael Cohen, Diane Ravitch, and James B. Hunt Jr., among others), but includes only a single comment from a source opposed to national standards.

Rather than reporting the complexity of views on this issue, Education Week far too often serves as a cheerleader for the received wisdom of the failing standards-and-testing model. The pattern is almost always the same: one, or at most two, disagreeing voices set within the words of six or eight or 10 sources who all concur in one way or another with the party line.

It’s the Pravda version of journalism, with an American twist—a dissenter or two for show. One would think that your reporters could find the phone numbers of a wider range of sources, given the Internet.

And can Education Week possibly write a story about policy without quoting Mr. Finn? This does not seem possible.

David Marshak


College of Education

Seattle University

Seattle, Wash.