Jun 132007

Time to pick on the Kalamazoo Gazette and Julie Mack some more.

Bureaucracy or efficiency? Granholm would expand role of intermediate districts; critics say they are a waste.

One reason given for ISDs is that they do things that school districts themselves cannot easily manage. And to some extent, that’s true. It’s hard for smaller school districts to run specialized facilities and hire highly specialized workers who serve only a few students. That doesn’t mean ISDs are the best way to deal with it, though.

A couple of  paragraphs from the article:

Olson, the education analyst for the Mackinac Center, said ISDs are a waste of money and should be scrapped. He said local districts could pick up services such as vocational and special education, but acknowledges a funding mechanism would be necessary.

“We could have an incentive structure that would allow schools to compete for the privilege of educating special-education children,” Olson said.

There is a sneaky put-down of this Olson here.  It’s those two words, “but acknowledges.”  Given what he is quoted as having said, Julie Mack could as well have written “and suggests a funding mechanism.”  Or even more exuberant words, such as “can barely contain his enthusiasm for the possiblilities.”  But instead she makes it sound as though she did a gotcha that put him on the defensive.    It’s a good ploy, if your editor lets you get by with it.

 I mean, it’s as if I tell her I’d like to go on a bicycling vacation in Russia (which is true) and then she goes back to her office and writes, “…but he acknowledges that he will need to travel outside the country to do this.”  Well, duh.   But if she wants to make it sound as though I’m being defensive about some huge flaw that I hadn’t planned on, that’s the propaganda technique to use.

I hereby propose a journalism reform.  News writers should not be allowed to say “but acknowledges.”  Maybe they shouldn’t even be allowed to use the word “but”.   Most of the time “and” would do just as well, and would be more neutral.