I also love NPR, I listen to it everyday. I think Melissa Ross is a city treasure and Lindsey Kilbride does a good job with her education coverage even though recently she seems to be pulled in a lot of different directions.
With all that being said, how did WJCT get it so wrong with their recent education event? Two words and they rhyme with merry carcans.
WJCT wanted to get a conversion about education going and I agree we should be talking about education as there are few local subjects that are more important or play more of a role in our lives. However to start the conversation they showed the first part of a documentary series called School Inc. A self serving, far right, blame the unions and public schools film, to do so. Unfortunately they chose this as their starting point.
Why would our local public station choose such an awful film, one that never mentions poverty by the way and strings together a bunch of self serving and out of context anecdotes?
That takes us back to our rhyme and if you figured out I was talking about Gary Chartrand you hit it right on the nose.
You see its not us citizens who are in charge of education it is the ultra rich who drive education policy with their
I looked at the panel they assembled. Micheal Boylan was the moderator and his stations education coverage is financed by the Chartrand foundation, the station also routinely plays commercials about how the Chartrand foundation supports the Jacksonville Public Education Fund and Trey Csar the president of JPEF was on the panel as well but they weren't the only ones. With them was the executive director of KIPP Jacksonville (and folks KIPP is as shady as they come) Jennifer Brown and then there was school board member Becki Couch, though I would hazard to guess he thinks that was a poor investment now.
At least three members of the panel had deep ties to Gary Chartrand who has some disturbing views, I would call it a loathing of public education.
Now do I think he called up Boylan and said Mike, this is what I want you to do. No, Chartrand doesn't operator that way, but I do think his close relationship to the station made this kind of show and these panel members acceptable. He is using his influence to mainstream the abhorrent.
We need to be having community conversations about education, we do, but WJCT shouldn't be lauded for trying to have one, and instead they should be chided for the direction they took, there was nothing fair nor balanced about the film they chose.
There are lots of problems in public education, I believe solvable ones but as long as people like Chartrand buy influence, things will get way worse before they get better.