Oh yes, It’s a National Crisis-and the Media must help!

Some close to me will find it ironic and surprising that I would suggest reading something from The Florida Time Union, Jacksonville’s main newspaper.

During my tenure as Jacksonville’s school superintendent, we enjoyed great support of primary partners, including the teachers’ union, the chamber of commerce, and philanthropic (and many other) leaders. These partners helped to move improvements in the academic, operational and financial results of the district. Regrettably, the city’s main newspaper repeatedly provided shoddy, inaccurate, and disruptive reports of our work for kids and educators.

Today, the same newspaper provided a great summary on where we stand on issues of our educational system-nationally, and how important it is to quickly improve student performance, and the urgency in which Jacksonville and all our Nation’s cities and states must face necessary improvements and new supports. I strongly recommend this OpEd piece. It is a call-to-action for Jacksonville and for all American cities and states. Link to the article is:

http://jacksonville.com/opinion/editorials/2012-03-27/story/public-education-crisis-extends-widely

As Jacksonville looks to recruit another reform-minded school superintendent later this year, I hope that all factions of this city will support the new work. Jacksonville deserves a great school superintendent, and should work to recruit and keep one for a long time.

Regarding the education crisis, oh yes, it’s a national crisis. One that many of us are keenly focused on, but one where all of us focus must focus on. According to Thomas Friedman, indicators are that we have about 12-15 years left to completely reverse our trend of gradual economic deterioration by creating a new level of American human capital capacity. This can only be achieved through improving our schools and schooling for kids. All of them!

On the issues of educational improvements, Media outlets can help. Media outlets are a great resource for driving public accountability, among other things. Some do a great job already. All other Media outlets must return to standards of factual, context-accuracy, issues-driven reporting. Media outlets’ forced shift in their business models must not be an excuse for misrepresentation of the public issues pursued. Our schools and school districts need better. Our Nation deserves better.

Good work Florida Times Union!

JW

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