On June 30th, my kids and I again visited the Wisconsin State Capitol to advocate for education. During 2011’s Act 10, my kids lived at the Capitol, chanting favorite protest sayings and regularly eating Ian’s Pizza. They were actually excited to return to political action.
When done, we looked through media accounts. The story that went rapid fire through the state was this one, an AP story:
Talking with Egan, my older child, I asked what he noticed. He said it was interesting the only person who gets somewhat quoted is the opposition. There were no quotes from Milwaukee speakers who talked about education being “tarnished and perverted” by “increased privatization” funded by millionaires and billionaires. There were no quotes from the rural school leader, who argued current funding guarantees education will not be equal in Wisconsin and expansion of private vouchers will hurt rural schools the most, despite having no charter schools in their boundaries. There were no quotes from the mother of a special needs student who presented the case that when special education kids take their voucher money and leave, they also give up their rights under IDEA. There is, of course, no mention of her testimony that Wisconsin has fallen to last place in financing special education. And there were no quotes from the Green Bay education advocate who noted this change to privatize education comes when the requests for vouchers are at their lowest.
But by all means, only grant specifics to the opposition, and do it as the last and closing lines of the distributed article, granting emphasis.
Then we looked at some headlines, and we saw this:
While most headlines used the phrase “advocates call,” Fox used “advocates blast.” Why? To bring up the images of angry mobs of educators again, the distorted and well-publicized view of teachers since 2011. The AP article uses “blast” as well, a disappointing choice for a press conference that strove for reason, making the argument that education is a bi-partisan issue.
And so my sons learn-again- how hard it is to be heard in a democracy and yet how we must keep at the fight because there is too much at stake.