ERIC Number: EJ708387
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Dec-1
Reference Count: N/A
Washington Commentary: Spinning the Message on NCLB
Lewis, Anne C.
Phi Delta Kappan, v86 n4 p260 Dec 2004
This column is about a city with two tales--one of spin and the other of sputter. No matter who occupies the White House for the next four years, the past four have borne witness to some of the most ludicrous uses of taxpayer money ever, as the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has tried to spin its message on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) across the country. What was amusing ineptness at first finally became hardball strategy and put the department in the same league as other federal agencies in its efforts at manipulating the media. It seems that the Education Department paid a public relations firm a tidy sum to rate media coverage of NCLB. Lumping news stories and editorials together, the analysis gave points to articles, reporters, and states according to how positive or negative the coverage of NCLB. ED's media strategy plays to the audiences it wishes to reassure. The most recent issue of a regular electronic newsletter from the Office of Innovation and Improvement, for example, carried only stories about Bush Administration priorities--choice, charters, alternative teacher certification, and so on. For policy makers and district and community leaders trying their best to implement NCLB and to deal with some of its irrational mandates, this Pollyannaish leadership on an incredibly complicated and challenging piece of legislation makes the work even more difficult.
Descriptors: Federal Legislation, Educational Legislation, Politics of Education, News Reporting, National Security, Public Relations, Public Agencies
Phi Delta Kappa International, Inc., 408 N. Union St., P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402-0789. Web site: http://www.pdkintl.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001