Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dead Tree Journalism

Finally got around to getting the Times-Pic at the house. Didn't have a place where I thought I could reliably get it delivered (Marigny, FQ, etc.), so it took a while. I figure now, though, I should support my local rag a place that still offers salaries, 401(k)'s, and health insurance for its workers.

Best part about dead-tree journalism? As Candice put it, "Not having to read the [] comments."

One of the front page stories today worth reading is this bio of Paul Pastorek. I've been skeptical of Pastorek ever since I heard of the salary he demanded (a little south of $500K/year). Today's article sheds some light on his background and the end includes a classic little vignette that I wasn't aware of.

He called St. Tammany's academic performance "average, " noting that the system had little competition in one of the nation's lowest-performing states.

He then compared the district's schools unfavorably to KIPP charter schools in New Orleans, an affront to suburbanites' pride in the superiority of their schools.

"You're living in a wonderland here, " Pastorek said, noting the system's relative advantages -- affluent families and ample financing. "I challenge you to do this: Go see what KIPP is doing, and what kind of kids they're doing it with."

He had the balls to compare St. Tammany Schools UNFAVORABLY to ORLEANS PARISH PUBLIC SCHOOLS!?!?! I can imagine the howls St. Tammany residents made to that one. It's pretty true. St. Tammany Schools are propped up by the wealth of the district's population. There aren't as many students sent to M.I.T. and Harvard, to give just one example, as you'd expect for the 'best district in the state.' And yet, you St. Tammany residents love bragging about their school and putting down New Orleans Public Schools. Ah, the joy of watching them twist in the wind!

*NOTE: The author is a proud graduate of New Orleans Public Schools.

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