Nov 19, 2015

Agenda Journalism By The Morning Call

Regular readers of this blog know that I often complain about the Morning Call. If it's an infomercial for the NIZ, or regularly giving some serial Israel basher space in Letters To The Editor, I'm not shy about complaining. I think that the paper again took some liberties with yesterday's article titled, Allentown teacher: Schools are in chaos. In the web version it was titled, Allentown Teachers Speak Out: Disruptive Students Run The Schools. The reporter tells us that she sat down with 20 teachers from all the grade levels, from schools across the city. One must wonder how she coordinated the meeting. From the title, we know that the school administration didn't set it up, that would leave only the union, which is currently negotiating it's contract. One school board member, Scott Armstrong, confirmed that it was believed that the meeting with the reporter was set up by the union. Consequently, one reader of my post yesterday suggested that teachers should receive combat pay. Another solution suggested by yesterday's Morning Call article would be more teachers. What we appear to have is the newspaper, inadvertently or not, promoting the teacher's positions in the contract deliberation.

A number of years ago The Morning Call did away it's editorial page. Although readers may assume that there would be a firewall between news and outright opinion, perhaps that's an assumption that should no longer be made about the Allentown paper.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Michael, first of all, the ASD teachers union would HAVE to be involved in planning such a gathering. It is the only source who could put together a group such as this on such short notice. And, of course, why would teachers not be interested in expressing their views on any topic they know so well? It's what they do.

The more relevant point is, WHO REQUESTED THE MEETING. I have good reason to believe, that was the Morning Call. I made direct coverage suggestions to the Morning Call staff after an article was printed a few days ago. Speaking with current classroom managers was one of my suggestions. I surely hope my suggestion played a role in such a critical analysis of this issue.

Disruptive behavior in the classroom is an important issue that MUST be discussed with those directly involved. Persons actually IN the classrooms daily know more about actual practice than those OUTSIDE.

This is the type of coverage that's been missing from the Morning Call for far too long. Like you, I believe the Morning Call has failed the citizenry during recent years. This effort, I believe, was an outreach and I applaud them for doing so.

Everything I read about current student and parent behaviors sounded legitimate to me. All have been typical for years. Now's a good time to face them straight up.

Certainly, contractual items are related. But, I doubt those interviews were part of a preplanned negotiating strategy. Admittedly, I don't know for sure.

Fred Windish


Anonymous said...

Fred,

This meeting was very likely arranged as just the latest part of an ongoing effort by union leadership to discredit the administration for their own purposes.

Scott Armstrong

Bernie O'Hare said...

Regardless how this meeting was orchestrated, and I am sure the union played a big role as Fred suggests, this is an important story that needs to be told. The Superintendent's responses show he is completely out of touch with what we can see for ourselves in other reports of violence.

Anonymous said...

You could be right, Scott. I'd like to add another curiosity about recent coverage of this topic.

Publishing these stories and generating public comments in response, here and other places, does NOT blend well into the usual cheerleading about living downtown!

In any case, I believe an examination of recent reports is necessary and helpful in identifying corrective action. So far, most of the blame is being laid at the feet of dysfunctional families. I agree there.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

I too know what is going on here, the teacher's union wants to replace the superintendent and some of his top administrators with people they can control. For those on the inside this has been clear. The paper routinely sees the union as the good guys and reports from that perspective. Better grab the ankles taxpayers.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie @8:09, what it shows is that the superintendent is trying to protect the reputation of the system as best he can, and also deal with a union that's willing to malign it's own school system. mayo knows full well what the problems are, but must also manage many competing interests. there are limitations to what taxation the homeowners can absorb. there are bogus lawsuits from ineffectual former administrators claiming racial bias.

Anonymous said...

The last past Superintendent was a real autocratic battle ax-----her one specialty was keeping a lid on bad public relations.
(Perhaps her other was terrifying her staff into compliance and surrounding herself with manager/thugs.)
A lot of this is fallout from her reign of incompetence and terror.

michael molovinsky said...

@9:23, you're actually one director behind, the previous was john zahorchak. he contributed to present problems by transferring a very effective principal at allen high, keith falko, to the main office on penn street.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about the union aspect of this. It was the first thing I thought of when I read the Morning Call article, although I'm not sure everyone reading the story would have read far enough into the article (or even beyond the headline) to find out that there were even negotiations going on.

Given today's story about the girls drinking at Trexler Middle School, I wonder if the union isn't trying to get a story printed every day about some problem in the schools.

Maybe the fact that the girls were drinking in school makes the Trexler story newsworthy, but it seems like they were caught quickly and it was handled properly.

What isn't news is that underage kids drink. I'm sure the Morning Call will balance things out with in-depth coverage of the next keg party in the suburbs.

Anonymous said...

keep in mind that mr. mayo holds a minor in school law. he knows how to play poker with school law . the bottom law is that the students are acting like street criminals. because they feel they can disreguard settled law. we can not act this way. we should have modern civics classes in grades 4 to 12 . a 1 hour class teaching school law and civil law. these students are being misled in their rights to protest. I went to Allentown high school 1963-65 .I was a brick layer student in mr barbarian class of shop masonery ,brick laying. he would take each one of us ,when we went out to work on co-op projects and explain to us .if a cop stops you and asks you questions ,answer him with respect and say yes sir or no sir . if I find out you did not obey the cop, I will throw you out of school.and we were stopped some times by the police ,wanting to know why we were out of school and on a construction site .we were taught by our teachers to obey and cooperate with police, public safety was the issue, plus we all felt pride cooperating with the Allentown police, and the police felt pride also.i just love Allentown cops thank you andy the brick layer

Anonymous said...

Fred,

When I can talk about the leadership of the AEA I will.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Hi, i am the person who made the remark about combat pay. I made the comment after news about the teacher being pushed down the bleachers or slipping. I don't have any association with the teachers or the union. I'm just a taxpayer who is disgusted with Allentown in general.

Monkey Momma said...

It's always wise to question motives.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Regardless of how the interview with the Teachers was organized, it does not and should not water down the importance or veracity of their message. The schools are out of control..... and there is danger in the walls for both teachers and REAL students.

The sad thing is that while I many times think its theater to quote anonymous sources and :hide their identities to protect them", I think it is a very real concern here. As screwed up as the School Administration is and head in the sand, protect the offenders.....does anyone not really believe they would punish these teachers?

Anonymous said...

1:03,

Those would make the claim that any teacher could or would be punished for anything they might say has never been to a school board meeting. There one can see routinely teachers saying what ever they please. Casting aspersions,repeating false narratives and calling out district people by name for alleged offenses.
So anonymous 1:03, why not make sure you know the facts first? then you could write from an informed perspective. That would also provide a benefit to those looking for insights from being mislead by an anonymous writer making false charges.

Scott Armstrong