To the Editor:
Your front-page article “Philanthropies Add Weight to ‘i3’ Effort” (May 12, 2010) clearly illustrates the bias and myopia that taint so much of Education Week’s reporting. This story is about the decision of 12 large foundations to dovetail their grants this year with the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) grant program, and it features quotes from Education Department and foundation officials, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
The only other people quoted are Chester E. Finn Jr., Frederick M. Hess, and Robin J. Lake. Messrs. Finn and Hess are both well-known neoconservatives who advocate what amounts to privatization of public schools through marketization. Ms. Lake is a charter school researcher and advocate. While the values and views of these three are not identical, they certainly are situated within the same ideological camp.
And Mr. Hess and Ms. Lake say pretty much the same thing, as does Mr. Finn, who also adds a more politicized piece of critique. Three voices from the same camp saying essentially the same thing.
None of the other millions of Americans involved in schooling policy and practice gets to speak in this article, nor does even a single voice with a different value orientation get included. Not one.
When subscribers read Education Week “news” stories in the future, they should pay attention to who is quoted. I suggest that this same bias, as illustrated in this story, is common.
A version of this article appeared in the June 09, 2010 edition of Education Week as Quotes in ‘i3' Story Were Only From One Camp