Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Is Funding Transparency Enough to Prevent Billionaire Influence in Education Journalism? - Living in Dialogue

Is Funding Transparency Enough to Prevent Billionaire Influence in Education Journalism? - Living in Dialogue:

Is Funding Transparency Enough to Prevent Billionaire Influence in Education Journalism?

By Anthony Cody.
Here is where we stand with the revived controversy over the Los Angeles Times’ 2010 “investigation” into teacher effectiveness.
In 2009, Teachers College, which sponsors The Hechinger Report, received a grant from the Gates Foundation in the amount of $652,493 in order “to support the development of high quality education coverage in the nation’s leading newspapers and magazines.”
In 2010, The Hechinger Report paid a researcher by the name of Richard Buddin $15,000 to develop the VAM system that was used to rank thousands of teachers in Los Angeles according to their ability to raise test scores. It is not clear if this money was from the Gates Foundation grant, but it well could be.
Los Angeles Times reporters Jason Felch and Jason Song published a series of articles extensively quoting “experts” from the Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching project as they justified the use of Value Added systems for purposes of determining teacher effectiveness.
The Education Writers Association, which also receives significant funding from the Gates Foundation,awarded Felch and Song a second prize in the Investigative Reporting category for the series.
In response to my latest writing on this subject, Greg Toppo, Vice President of the Education Writers Association, tweeted: “No. Journos, LAT included, go where evidence sends them, sometimes badly but always independently.
In the conversation that ensued, Caroline Grannan responded: “Always independently? With Broad now funding LAT education coverage?” and “*Appearance of conflict of interest* violates ethics, both LAT and EWA.”
To this, Toppo replied: “Lots of journalism outfits take foundation $. None of them independent?”
To which I replied: “Lots of politicians take lobbyist $. None of them independent?”
Toppo replied: “We’re getting off topic. If news orgs r transparent about $, they can totally be independent. Am I outlier on this??”
First of all, we do have an issue with transparency. While I can make a case that it is possible that Gates Is Funding Transparency Enough to Prevent Billionaire Influence in Education Journalism? - Living in Dialogue:
 



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