Accuracy in Media

Teen Vogue gives us the teachers’ union and educational bureaucracy response to charter schools – community schools. The slight sadness is that Teen Vogue doesn’t understand that this is both a reaction and a propaganda move.

The greater sadness is that very few realize that this is in fact the basic argument in favor of charters and vouchers in itself. That is, even the schools that don’t undertake those programs increase in quality as a result of the competition.

“The concept of a community school, which has been around for more than a century, is quite simple. Any public school can become a community school if the school board, students, parents, and faculty collectively commit to being involved not only in a child’s education but also in meeting all of a student’s needs. “A community school is a decision that students, families, educators, and community members make about the role they want their neighborhood public school to play within the community and within the lives of the stakeholders that touch the school,” a representative from the National Education Association told Teen Vogue in an email. “Because learning never happens in isolation, community schools focus on what students in the community truly need to succeed — whether it’s free, healthy meals; health care; tutoring; mental health counseling; or other tailored services before, during, and after school.”

Apologies for the long quote there but who wouldn’t want every school to be like this? The big question being why has it taken the NEA until now to back it themselves? It’s not as if the idea is only a century old either, Mens sana in corpore sano (A healthy mind in a healthy body) stems from the Roman writer Juvenal two millennia ago and it was applied to education by John Locke 400 years ago. Taking care of the entire child is rather the point of an education system.

So, why this new emphasis on this old idea? Because this is the educational bureaucracies’ response to charter schools and educational vouchers. This leaves that centralized system – the local politicians, the teachers’ unions – in charge of everything, to their great benefit. But it at least pays lip service to what education should be – rather than the usual system of it being whatever that centralized system is willing to offer.

All of this shows the actual value of those charter and voucher systems. Even the schools that don’t take part improve. That’s what competition does, after all, improves everything. The centralized schools have to get better in order not to lose all their students to vouchers and charters.

Teen Vogue markets itself as “educating the influencers of tomorrow” which is an admirable goal, we agree. It is part of the Conde Nast empire and so clearly suffers no shortage of resources in this mission. It gains some 5 million visits a month as it does so.

We do though think that educating those future influencers would be aided by observing the obvious truth here. This idea of “community schools” is being put forward by the old education system structure to deal with the competition from the new one of charters and vouchers. Excellent, that proves the value of competition from charters and vouchers doesn’t it? That all schools, even those that don’t take part, get better? Which is what we want, right, that all schools get better?




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