Best of the week: August 17-31, 2018

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🏆  THE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS THAT WEREN’T 🏆

The best education journalism of the week was NPR’s The School Shootings That Weren’t, which revealed that a federal report claiming “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting” was wildly overstated.

Among other things, this means that some of the 53 new school safety laws passed by states in 2018 may have been enacted based on flawed information. It also means a few media outlets need to correct their previous coverage.

Big thanks to NPR’s Anya Kamenetz, Alexis Arnold, and Emily Cardinali for figuring out that something was fishy and doing the hard work of reporting it out!

🚨  PARENT VOICES MISSING FROM TEACHER STRIKE COVERAGE 🚨

This week’s column takes a hard look at a recent think tank report about national media coverage of the teacher strikes. Produced by the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, the report isn’t a broad-brush critique of media coverage you might expect. However, the report authors find that the selection of quotes raised some grounds for concern, both in terms of who gets quoted (mostly teachers) and what they have to say (mostly pro-strike statements).

The finding that really jumped out at me was that just 5 percent of the quotes were from parents or students. Teachers are essential parts of schools. However, parents and students are also important stakeholders. They and their concerns warranted much more than the measly 5 percent. Read all about parent voice and teacher strike coverage here.

📰 TAKING A HARD LOOK AT SCHOOL INTEGRATION  📰

The unofficial contest to produce the best #BacktoSchool story for 2018 seems to have a winner: the new documentary America to Me. The ten-part series is set at a nominally integrated Chicago-area high school in an ostensibly liberal community. Episode 1 of the series lays out the inequalities students of color face. Episode 2 (airing Sunday) lays out the injustices experienced by school staff of color — from security guards to the assistant principal. Chicago public radio’s Linda Lutton described the docuseries as “absolute must-see TV.” I can’t wait for more folks to start watching it and to hear what integration advocates have to say. The series raises serious questions about closely held white liberal ideas about how schools work.

🔥 HEADING CALIFORNIA 🔥

Arizona Republic education reporter Ricardo Cano tell us that he’s joining the nonprofit news outlet CALmatters to cover “how policy and politics at the California Capitol affects the nation’s largest public education system.” He starts Sept. 10.” Congrats — very exciting. Far as I know, the Arizona Republic job is open.

⏰ TEN-CITY DOCUMENTARY TOUR ⏰

“The folks behind the new documentary series “America to Me” are holding town hall discussions around the country, including one next weekend in NYC and the following week in Boston. Chicago and Detroit have already had their events. The other cities include Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Dallas, Charlotte, and Oakland/SF. See the full list here.

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ALEXANDER RUSSO (@alexanderrusso) is editor of The Grade.

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