Monday, December 24, 2007

Recent News Stories about the LCSD, PIE, Sand Ridge, etc.

I've been lax (read: working almost full time during the last few weeks of my job) in posting about Lebanon news stories and events lately, so I'm just going to do a summary post of all the recent stuff. Commentary, of course, is included at no extra charge...

1. Sand Ridge Administrator not licensed with state

I don't really feel the need to comment a lot on this, besides to note that this sort of thing should be beyond the pale, and arguably grounds for dismissal. Or, at the least, grounds for not inviting the nice Mr. Jackson back as an administrator for Sand Ridge after this year.

And don't give me any "he didn't know" crap. He was supposedly the principal of the school last year, and he surely had a hand in hiring at least one administrator for a PIE school - both of which mean he knew better.

Then there is the Lance Ferrarro issue:

Lance Ferraro, a teacher at Sand Ridge last year, said Jackson has ignored his requests for forms required by the state of Michigan.

Ferraro returned to Michigan early this summer to care for his father who suffers from heart problems and mother who has lost both breasts to cancer.

That crosses the line from uncaring and sloppy to mean - and unprofessional (no matter Jackson's reasoning). If I'm a PIE parent.... or teacher.... I'm wondering how this happened and whether or not I'm going to face the same problem in the future.

2. Superindent Briefs Chamber of Commerce on Lebanon Education

Based on this story, I think the presentation that was given was probably pretty good. At the least, Robinson, Kelley and Zarate are trying to get the LCSD to change the way education happens in Lebanon to be more in line with the realities of the world. The fact that people seem to be interested in shooting the messenger because they don't like the message (or the style in which it's being delivered) is not good.

Kelley says it perfectly:

“We're not measuring the right things in the classroom,” Kelley told the chamber. “It's not right to stuff their heads with facts. We've got to start teaching processes.”

Amen to that. Big changes are coming down the pike in education, and Robinson and Co. are doing their best to adapt and adopt national trends and changing policy orientations to the local environment. Sometimes they are not successful, it's true - but they are trying, and rather than sabotage their efforts, I think it would be far more useful to collaborate. To steer the ship to a new course rather than sink it, in other words.

3. Lebanon blogs target charter school chairman

I thought I'd have something to say as soon as this story came out, what with it being sort of about this blog and all. I was a little surprised when I didn't.

I do have a few things to say now, however.

Put simply, I think this story should never have run. I failed to see that, as written, the story was newsworthy.

Given the subject matter, the DH could have taken two angles: Either a) that Jackson's disciplinary history was newsworthy in and of itself, in which case there was little to no reason to mention the blogs at all; or b) that the fact that said history was reported on two local blogs was newsworthy. If the latter, then the focus should have been on the blogs' revealing of the history - and the blogs certainly should have been named and/or quoted and/or linked to in the story.

So which one is it? For me, the answer is, oddly enough, tied up in the issue of anonymous sources - and Hasso Hering's stated dislike of anonymous bloggers.

Given that the headline accuses "Lebanon" bloggers of going after Jackson (which, from my perspective, is false, since I am not blogging from Lebanon - and while the reporter knows that, I know she does not always write headlines), I'd say the answer is obviously (b), that the supposed justification for the story is the take of Rhetorical Wasteland and LT. But if that's the case, how did Jennifer Moody not end up even naming the two blogs listed in the headline?

My guess is simple: Someone - probably Hering - edited any mention of the blog names or URLs out of the story. It fits too well with his calling anonymous bloggers 'cowards'.

In other words, good journalism practices (in this case, naming the sources/justifications for the story) ran square up against Hering's dislike of anonymous bloggers... and his dislike won out, to journalism's loss.

I don't blame Jennifer Moody, the story's author, for any of this; I know she possesses all the relevant information (my blog name, etc.).

I think the DH needs an ombudsperson/public editor - and yes, I am available.

Full disclosure: Moody contacted me about the story and I essentially declined to comment on the record. If that led to the way the story turned out, I am sorry... but I don't think that had anything to do with it. Surely LT was contacted and had something to say.


Lebanon Truth said...

LT was contacted and responded to Ms. Moody's questions.

Of course, we did it without outing ourselves.

Nice post.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.