In the cover story of CJR’s March/April issue, “Tested: Covering schools in the age of micro-measurement,” LynNell Hancock writes, “The best education reporters are skilled at the invaluable art of connecting the dots for readers between policy from on high and reality in the classroom.”

But what does it mean when those “dots” are drawn from dubious sources, and publicly released to incredible controversy? Could this be a rare occasion in which reporters should support less, not more, disclosure of government data?

In this podcast, Hancock—who directs Columbia University’s Spencer Fellowship for Education Journalism—talks to deputy editor Clint Hendler about the limitations of purely statistical analysis of teacher success, and the controversy and challenges reporters face when trying to put value-added data into context for their readers. She also discusses how corporate interests in education research are increasingly pushing the national conversation—and pushing it toward closing schools, firing teachers, starting charters, and removing the job of public education from the public sphere.

Listen to the episode below, and be sure to check out the CJR podcast homepage on iTunes, where you can listen to past episodes and subscribe for free.



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The Editors