State Education Czar Expresses Concerns About NYT MA Testing Story

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Right before Thanksgiving, I wrote NYT’s Mass. Testing Story Contradicted By Other Outlets, pointing out that the Times story appeared to overstate what was happening substantively and perhaps even symbolically in MA.

There are now a few letters to the editor in the New York Times about last week’s Massachusetts’s Common Core Path story, including this one from the MA State Commissioner also disagreeing with the premise of the piece:

“As the state elementary and secondary education commissioner, I would like to make clear that neither my recommendation to the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education nor the board’s Nov. 17 vote rejected Parcc or the Common Core.”

Other letters argue that the NYT piece under-estimated or mis-characterized the opposition to the tests.

Meanwhile, a district superintendent in Massachusetts was quoted in a local outlet observing that the new plan is going to fall well short of any about-face on the Common Core version of the state test: “I think it’s going to look a lot more like PARCC and a lot less like MCAS,” he’s quoted as saying. “It could be called PARCC 2.0.”

Of course, sources and subjects of media coverage don’t always like or agree with how they’re depicted. Sometimes the reasons are legitimate questions about accuracy and fairness; other times they’re more about subjective views or concerns about the impact of the coverage. Journalists have to work carefully to distinguish between how on-the-ground sources want to be depicted and what’s really going on.

Related posts: NYT’s Mass. Testing Story Contradicted By Other Outlets, Appears To Overstate Decision

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.