New TV Fad: Bagging on Public Education


After the “Race to the Top” results caused so much buzz this summer and the release of Waiting for Superman seems to have parents fuming this fall, NBC news has been the latest outlet to get on the education bandwagon, with its sprawling “Education Nation” mutli-platform line-up.

NBC has already broadcast major interviews on education with President Obama and with Geoffrey Canada, the New York City educator behind the Harlem Children’s Zone. Canada has been on a roll with good news this summer. He’s one of the stars of Waiting for Superman, and the Obama Administration just announced they plan to spend $210 million to replicate his education model around the country.

(Superman, of course, isn’t the only movie to inspire huge sums of money to be spent on schools lately. We can only imagine that the release of The Social Network, and how he feared it would portray him, must have played slightly into Mark Zukcerberg’s decision to give $100 to Newark’s public schools last week.)

For his part, President Obama used his interview with NBC’s Education Nation to walk the line between demanding more teacher accountability without alienating the teachers unions. He also said he believes part of the problem is that children need to be in school more.

According to the LA Times, the President said “the idea of a longer school year, I think, makes sense.” Obama noted “We now have our kids go to school about a month less than most other advanced countries…And that month makes a difference. It means that kids are losing a lot of what they learn during the school year during the summer.”

Not everyone is happy with NBC’s education coverage, or with how they are giving a national platform to local success stories like Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone. Leonie Haimson, the president of Class Size Matters, is gathering “Angry parents and teachers [to] protest the monolithic and biased presentation of views featured in NBC’s Education Nation” at Rockefeller Plaza today at 4 PM.