COMMENTS: Ben Tracy Deserves Thumbs Up

Back in October, Tyndall Report complained about the credulous coverage given to charter schools on all three nightly newscasts. Only the successes get coverage; botched charters might as well never have happened. Simplistic Waiting for Superman thinking portrays charters as a cure-all for whatever ails the nation's public schools.

So a thumbs up for Ben Tracy's latest entry in CBS' Reading, Writing & Reform series. He covered California's so-called trigger law, which empowers parents to convert any ordinary public school into a charter format. Just such a trigger has been pulled over a grade school in inner-city Compton. Even though grades have been improving at McKinley Elementary for two straight years, those changes were not fast enough for 62% of parents. They approved the trigger amid accusations of trickery and intimidation against would-be reformers, and counterthreats of ratting parents out to immigration authorities for deportation.

Guess who is at the center of this "nasty fight," as CBS' Tracy called it: Newsweek's cover girl and Waiting for Superman favorite Michelle Rhee. The onetime Schools Chancellor, NBC Rehema Ellis reminded us in October, rubbed parents and teachers the wrong way in the nation's capital before she was fired after her boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty, was defeated for reelection.


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