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Fairfax feign surprise over struggling schools

May 30, 2011

(after two years of trumpeting national standards and league tables)

The front page of today’s Dom Post blames “white flight” for the impending merger of two low decile Wellington schools. It backs the story up with a one-sided editorial and manages to “cover” the entire issue without once mentioning the detrimental effects of national standards or league tables on less wealthy schools. They also refrain from printing a single word of Opposition comment in either piece.

Under the headline “Parents reject ‘ethnic mix'”, we are told that “wealthy parents are shunning the low-decile, ethnically mixed schools”. Well, who saw THAT coming? Only the independent research and the education sector, but let’s not worry about that when we’re cheerleading National Party policy, eh Fairfax.

The Dom have recently devoted a great number of column inches – including editorials – to selling national standards, and thereby league tables, with their usual lack of fairness and balance. They have aided the Government in it’s deliberate campaign of discrediting the teaching profession, attacking teachers’ unions, and ignoring academics in favour of serving up an uninformed defence of the National Party’s flawed, populist and rushed-through education reforms.

Had anyone at Fairfax bothered to read the independent educational research instead of the National Party’s media releases, they would have seen this coming. But, only telling one side of the story is how Fairfax roll, and it would be naive to expect any kind of link between school closures and National Party policy to be published here.

Meanwhile, as pointed out by Martyn Bradbury on the Tumeke blog, Fairfax’s online news site has appointed National Party spin merchant, pollster and blogger David Farrar to it’s stable of one-eyed propagandists in time for this year’s election.

Martyn followed this up with Stuff, and apparently they are “currently recruiting for a left-leaning counter blogger”. I won’t be holding my breath.


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