In the 1990s, before I became a religion writer, I covered education for The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City’s daily newspaper. I wrote numerous stories on the school choice movement, from vouchers to magnet schools to charter schools.
In 1999, I won a two-month travel fellowship from the Education Writers Association to investigate school choice in Oklahoma City and other cities nationally. I teamed with The Oklahoman’s database editor Griff Palmer, now with The New York Times, on that project, which won a Dallas Press Club Katie Award for best series in the Southwest’s major metro dailies. I also reported on the findings at EWA’s national convention in Atlanta in 2000.
I bring up my (ancient) education reporting background because of my recent post titled “WPost: Virginia law highlights stupidity of home-schooling.” In that post, I characterized as “lousy journalism” the Post’s 2,500-word report on a Virginia religious exemption that allows families to opt entirely out of public education.
The Post takes the absolute worst-case scenario — a family that goes the home-schooling route and apparently flubs it — and uses it as the overarching lens through which to view the issue. That’s unfortunate. And biased. And bad journalism.
My post sparked some interesting discussion, some of it predictable — such as a home-schooling opponent who entirely missed the point — but some of it thoughtful.
I appreciated this comment from regular GetReligion reader Ray Ingles: