Krash Course #1
Journalism is failing U.S. public education. See two examples from Education Week:
Growing Gaps Bring Focus on Poverty's Role in Schooling
This piece perpetuates as experts self-proclaimed reformers who have no or little experience as teachers or scholars. Even when journalists explore a valuable topic—the weight of poverty on education in the U.S.—that examination is ruined by the context (see THIS discussion of the same phenomenon at The New York Times). Journalists need to seek educators and scholars who are credible.
AERA Erasing Line Between Scholarship and Partisanship [blog by Rick Hess]
Here, the same dynamic as above—Hess is by his presence leveraged credibility—merges with the mantra from the Right: The Left is being political/partisan! Without context and without a challenge, these cries of partisanship and politics are allowed to appear "objective" themselves—yet, Hess is being political by calling for no more politics from AERA (see THIS discussion of the fact of teaching being always political and a distinction made between "partisan" and "political").
I recommend four valuable resources about navigating educational research:
Yettick, H. (2009). The research that reaches the public: Who produces the educational research mentioned in the news media? Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. Retrieved from http://epicpolicy.org/publication/research-that-reaches
Molnar, A. (2001, April 11). The media and educational research: What we know vs. what the public hears. Milwaukee, WI: Center for Education Research, Analysis, and Innovation. Retrieved from http://epsl.asu.edu/epru/documents/cerai-01-14.htm
Bracey, G. (2006). Reading educational research: How to avoid getting statistically snookered. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Thomas, P. L. (2011, September 13). A primer on navigating education claims. Reposted at The Answer Sheet.