It seems I wasn’t the only one concerned that The Union’s one-sided, in-your-face approach to covering and commenting on proposed teacher furloughs would only serve to polarize the discussion.
The background “Mixing news and opinion (again) at The Union” and “Why teachers opposed proposed school cuts are here and here.
Sure enough, in this weekend’s op-ed section of our local paper, high-school district superintendent Ralf Swenson weighed in with some damage control about the “coverage.”
“My concern about the impact of Mr. Ackerman’s article is that the intent looked very different from the perspective of some of our teachers and staff members. As some of them have expressed to me, this article felt like an effort to put public pressure on them, and perhaps to pit some segments of our community against one another,” Ralf wrote.
“It also felt like an intrusion on the negotiation process, a process that is legally prescribed and which school districts and employee groups across California use to address contract issues such as the length of the work year and other key issues.”
No kidding Ralf. You could hear the discontent all the way over here in Austria.
In his own commentary, Ralf – who has proposed the furloughs all along – makes a more thoughtful appeal for the cuts rather than the “my way or the highway approach.”
As I wrote previously: “A community newspaper plays an instrumental role in providing information to a community, as well as building credibility and trust.
“Providing only one side and showing personal biases only serves to polarize the debate, not bring about collaboration.
“Most of all, it doesn’t seem to working, does it? Maybe it’s time for a fresh approach.”
Thanks Ralf for taking a stab at it.
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