Monday, March 8, 2010

A Real Race

I can't tell if I should find the coverage of the Race to the Top process encouraging or insulting. It probably depends on my mood, but there's a tone to the coverage that just doesn't quite seem to sit right with me. Namely, the way the judging process is being covered as if it's a horse race or some other kind of sports event.

Take last week's New York Times article on the 16 RttT finalists. If you didn't know that we were talking about the education of millions of children, you might think this was an amusing diversion that we might find playing at the local OTB.

On the one hand, it's nice to see that education is getting some of the breathless coverage that we usually associate with the baseball penant race or Tiger Woods. On the other hand, this is a real issue and it seems like the coverage should reflect that.

The contradiction here is that the Obama Administration's goal in setting this up is exactly to create the kind of buzz and excitement around education nationwide that has so often been lacking. So maybe this is the idea all along.

I'm probably just getting cranky because in the grand scheme of things, who actually cares how the Times covers this particular story? After all, this is the same paper that publishes David Brooks, so it's not like I take their education reporting very seriously to begin with.

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