Better Education Writing In 2005 (Resolutions)

In the spirit of soul-baring, hopeful optimism that the new year temporarily brings, herewith are six resolutions that I (and other education writers?) might well consider during 2005:

About NCLB

1. The Embarassment Resolution: I will not write any more ridiculous, exception-finding stories about schools that “just missed” making AYP, or teachers who “just missed” being highly certified under NCLB, etc.

2. The Anti-Pundit Resolution: I will not write any more overly speculative, supposedly in the know scare stories about whether NCLB might be rolled back (or expanded), or whether schools might be shut down, or districts might be forced to freeze their tutoring programs, etc. until these things actually happen (which they probably won’t).

3. The Stephanie Banchero Resolution: I will write stories that more fairly capture the mix of federal, state, local, school-level, and individual dynamics at play in the real world, rather than focusing unfairly or narrowly on one or the other entity.

In General

1. The Ira Glass Resolution: I will always make sure that there is at least one line, one quote, or one anecdote that is really mine and makes me smile and want to show the piece to friends, no matter what the editors say. I will not write any more stories that are so balanced and thorough and bland that they are painful to read, provide little new information or insight. I will not only clip but actually read and study others’ articles about education and other policy issues to find out what makes them engaging and illuminating at the same time.

2. The "Real" Reporting Resolution: I will include more views and experiences of real-life teachers, parents, children, and administrators even though they sometimes don’t have much to say by way of dramatic statements (and I will stop belittling human interest anecdotes as stupid tricks that editors require to fool ADHD readers into reading the piece).

3. The Grant Pick Resolution: I will go to more school events rather than reporting everything I can on the phone. I will (always) take the extra minute to ask people I’m interviewing what else is going on, if there’s anything else I should know about, and how whatever I’m writing about fits into the range of other concerns they may have.

Let's see how I do.


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