Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bias in the news? In the Know?

Anyone think that In the Know might be biased? Really!?!

Some time ago I was trying to have a discussion with my cousin about Health Care Reform. In the past I have worked for Kemper Insurance in their claims office, worked for Santa Fe International in their Risk Management Department, served more recently on the District's health care/benefits committee, and have even done some online research accessing such publications as The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). You'd think my cousin would have listened to me... but...

He just called the WSJ a "right-winged, bogus, publication" and dismissed me completely (and loudly). The Journal has been around since 1889 and "The Journal has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the United States." In the Know 5/10/10. Didn't matter what I said or it said.

Does the WSJ have a bias? Sure. (Hey, some might say I too have a bias. And they are right. But shhh... don't tell anyone.)

So does the LA Times and Fox News. If you own the publication, you control the spin. That's journalism.

But what about In the Know where the footer states, "Published by the Superintendent’s Office."

Let's see...

In the Know has two main parts 1) Highlights of the ___________, Board of Trustees Meeting, and 2)We’re Proud That…

Who chooses the highlights? The publisher!

The District is currently in contract negotiations. Attendance is up at the Board meetings, in fact many teachers and parents have spoken! What have the said? Who knows? Let's look at the In the Know coverage, maybe it will put us "in the know"...

May 10

Topics Not on the Agenda
Two teachers and one parent shared their concerns about negotiations and the current budget crisis.

Mrs. Gayle Rogers announced her retirement from the Board of Trustees effective June 30, 2010.

April 9

Topics Not on the Agenda
Several teachers and one parent shared their concern about negotiations, the current budget crisis, and retaining quality teachers.

March 15

Topics Not on the Agenda
Two teachers shared their concern about class sizes being increased.

March 1, February 1, January 11, December 7 : None

November 2

Topics Not on the Agenda
Mr. Najera shared that the Lowell Joint Education Foundation fund raising event on Saturday, October 24, was a success. Many community members attended.

Dr. Howell stated that there is time to sign up for the November 7 Lowell Joint Education Foundation 3rd Annual Turkey Trot.

Mr. Barber extended his sincere appreciation for Dr. Karen Herbst, Director of Special Education, and Mrs. Sandy Jan, Special Education secretary, for their hard work behind the scenes on confidential student matters which may not be discussed.

October 10

Topics Not on the Agenda

Mr. Najera shared that there is still time to register for the Lowell Joint Education Foundation’s upcoming fundraiser events for Saturday, October 24, and Saturday, November 7. Anyone interested may go online at to register for the events.

Mr. Barber shared that he had the privilege of meeting Mr. Jack O’Connell, California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. Mr. O’Connell, while visiting school districts in the Whittier area, stayed for a meeting where the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) was discussed.

September 14

Topics Not on the Agenda

So what's my point?

Wow, so much effort in summarizing what Board Members say under Topics Not on the Agenda and so little effort on behalf of parents and teachers. Really?!?

That looks like... bias.

But wait...

To counter what is not seen in the minutes... In the Know does have room to publish this...

"Mr. Ken Shelton, Los Angeles County Office of Education Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, shared the importance of maintaining fiscal responsibility and commended the Board of Trustees and Administration for their diligence in maintaining the District’s budget during such difficult financial times. He also stated the current financial concerns are not because of mismanagement of the District, but rather the outcome of California’s state of education funding. Mr. Shelton also stated that the community is being well served by the Board of Trustees and Administration and commended the Board of Trustees for their willingness to face tough challenges with transparency."

Wow. Someone took really good notes! Really?!?

And Mr. Shelton was speaking as the invited guest of... who do you think he's gonna applaud? The guys who invited him. They like his bias.

Hey. I spoke at the April 19th meeting. It was really good. I guess the note-taker fell asleep. Really?!?

I'll bet those teachers and parents who spoke at the board meetings, who prepared long and hard to be heard, are happy that In the Know worked just as hard to make them feel regarded, heard, cared about. Really?!?

Because if you read In the Know, you'll never know the other side of the story: the thoughts and concerns of the parents and teachers who made the effort to speak out.

You won't be "in the know," you'll be in the dark... by design? by bias?

Ya think? Really?!?

I expect bias from my paper, TV, and what-not... but "Published by the Superintendent’s Office"? Really?!?

Wouldn't it be nice not to just get the edited/spun Highlights, but a complete copy of minutes of each Board meeting online in 2010 and going forward?

But don't forget... "Complete minutes of each Board meeting are available in the Superintendent’s Office for review."



  1. I can tell it will be a fun roller coaster ride with you here too :) Good luck with this new blog!!

  2. @September: Thanks for the visit and follow! You are the first! Woo-hoo! The roller coaster has left the station...


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