The great New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote in a recent piece that if he were a cub reporter today, he’d want to be “covering the epicenter of national security -- but that would be the Education Department.”
Then he goes on to quote liberally from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, taking no account of what veteran teacher Anthony Cody, in a recent piece on his blog, described as a serious mismatch between the secretary's words and actions.
If Friedman the cub reporter had turned this piece in, a veteran education editor would have sent it back, asking him to back up his contentions with research. He’d have a hard time.
Friedman listed the three things young people need to be able to do to thrive in a knowledge economy: "the ability to do critical thinking and problem-solving; the ability to communicate effectively; and the ability to collaborate."
These are not the skills that are fostered when standardized tests become education's focus, When the scores are used for high-stakes decisions on students, teachers and schools, what becomes paramount is test preparation, and, as a result, curriculum narrows while kids spend time learning how to fill in bubbles on answer sheets. We saw this happen in the No Child Left Behind era, and while Duncan often says this is no way to run a school system, his policies are doing nothing to change it.
It matters when important columnists ignore research about subjects they are writing because they have followings and their readers expect that they have done their homework. It’s too bad Tom Friedman didn’t study a little harder for this.
Read the whole Strauss post - I agree with all of it except for that part about Friedman being a "great" columnist.
Given the kind of dreck Friedman regularly has churned out on the Iraq war, the Middle East, globalization, and environmentalism, there is nothing "great" about him.
I don't have the time to show all the Friedman dreck from the past in this post, but let me steer you toward something I did on Friedman earlier this month.
Also Matt Taibbi has done a great job of exposing the Muoustach of Understanding for the buffoon he is here.
Friedman is quite literally one of the dumbest and most hypocritical people working in journalism today.
Considering all the people working at the various Murdoch outlets and all the corporate crap reporting that gets done on cable and at the networks, that's saying something.
Yet, as Paul Harvey used to say, "It's true."