Boston Globe Watch: A Two Source Town

To: Globe editorial staff, writers in all departments

Re: Mandatory use of Paul Grogan and Sam Tyler as sources in ALL stories

It has come to our attention that some writers are failing to follow the recently implemented policy requiring that either Paul Grogan or Sam Tyler be quoted AT LEAST ONCE in every Globe story or editorial. Note: the new policy is mandatory and applies to all departments, including food and sports. Some of you have questioned how best to incorporate Grogan or Tyler into stories on subject matters upon which they may have no expertise. To clarify: Grogan and Tyler are experts ON ALL TOPICS and should be treated as such. (See forthcoming: Grogan Impatient with Pace of Red Sox Turnaround; and Dinner with Cupid: Will this Financial Watchdog Find Love? (And how can he get out of picking up the tab???).

It’s time now for a regular feature I like to call Boston Globe Watch, in which EduShyster reads the Globe so that you don’t have to (although you probably wouldn’t anyway). To sum up, this was not a glorious week for our once great metro-daily. In fact, whatever the education equivalent of a shark is, this week marked the moment that the Globe jumped it.

Trouble started midweek with the news that the City of Boston and the Boston Teachers Union had at last reached a contract deal. Reporter James Vaznis, hewing closely to the Globe’s policy outlined above, was careful to include quotes from go-to-source Sam Tyler (who alternates between his role bashing teachers and other public employees on behalf  the Boston Municipal “Research” Bureau, and groveling at the public trough for tax breaks to benefit the bankers that employ him.

But hold on a sec! That’s only one gold-standard source. What about our other go-to-guy, Paul Grogan, head of the Boston Foundation? Thankfully, there was room for him to portend ominously that the reform for which he is so impatient may not be possible as long as teachers have a voice in the process.

“The city may have done as well as they possibly could,” Grogan said. “Fastening our hopes for dramatic changes on the collective bargaining process is a vain pursuit.”

The dynamic duo were back the very next day, this time in a his-and-his show of editorial prowess. In the Globe’s official editorial, Tyler raised the question of whether real school reform can be achieved through collective bargaining. Meanwhile, on the other side of the page, Scot Lehigh was having a similar thought, that “The Way to Better Schools is Around Unions.” He lacked only an expert source to confirm his suspicion. Thankfully, Paul Grogan happened to have time to chat in between squash games. Said Grogan “This is a confirmation that you cannot achieve significant school reform through collective bargaining.”

Seriously Boston Globe? A real newspaper does not trot out the same two people–neither of whom is anything like a neutral party–day after day. And your jihad on behalf of charter schools is frankly getting a little strange. In fact EduShyster has a little game that she likes to play (yes haters, it is a drinking game). Every time the Globe raves about another miracle charter, I take a sneak peak at the data that is publicly available to all, except apparently, to reporters at the Boston Globe.

I’m usually stunned by what I find (and that’s not just because of the box of wine I keep at my side). Charters in Massachusetts are not educating the same kids that are in our public schools, and the number of students they lose is staggering. Now that’s something you won’t hear from Sam Tyler and Paul Grogan.