Friday, August 12, 2022 Aug 12, 2022
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Education

Why I’m Hopeful the DMN Is Ending Its False Balance on DISD Stories

We'll see what the DMN does this Sunday with its bond coverage
By Eric Celeste |
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FalseBalance

On Monday, I told you that the coverage of Joyce Foreman’s wrongheaded rants against the DISD bond (or anything related to the district, really) generally gives you a false impression: Most sensible people don’t believe what she believes, because what she believes is wrong.

Here’s another example I came across that explains what I mean. See her quote in this story from July, which I’ve pulled out here:

“Why would we move forward talking about new schools when we haven’t talked about attendance zones to determine if some of these children could be moved to other schools?” trustee Joyce Foreman asked.

This went unchallenged. A problem, since it’s not true and easily verifiable. Clicking the June 25 Future Facilities Task Force Draft – Facilities Matrix, you see 23-page document noting recommendations by high school feeder pattern. On page 5, you find the note, “Boundary Change: Preston Hollow and Kramer.” On page 7, you find “Boundary Change: Donald and Bethune” in addition to “Boundary change Tolbert/Webster.” Those two notes apply to schools in the Kimball High School feeder pattern, right in Foreman’s backyard. There are more. All in all, there are seven boundary change recommendations.

So, prior to Foreman’s statement, the group analyzing the bond, the Future Facilities Task Force, researched attendance boundaries and made recommendations to change them. This was on top of all the other bond recommendations.

Which leads to two possible conclusions. Either Foreman’s statement was a) a lie, or b) showed total ignorance based on an assumption of incompetence on the part of the citizen and staff task force making bond recommendations. A statement that, again, went unchallenged.

Why then do I have hope that this sort of false balance might go away? For one reason, it already has (it never really existed) in the editorial board’s coverage of this issue. This week’s editorial in support of a bond “yes” vote was great for several reasons: it was thorough, discussed examples large and small, and was unwavering in its support. But the biggest surprise to me was that it completely ignored all of Foreman’s complaints from Fantasy Land. As it should: Only serious objections backed up by reality should even be discussed.

Now, I believe that on Sunday we’re going to see a big newsroom front-page treatment on the bond package. I’ll be very interested to see if they stick to the pattern the paper has employed too often over the years: quote the same half-dozen looney cranks who fill education post comment sections on the blogs and suggest they represent anything other than their own fever dreams. Or will they discuss policy and financial implications using the preponderance of the evidence? I’m cautiously optimistic it will be the latter.

 

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