Posted by Kristen D. Smith
When the September edition of Redlands High School’s student newspaper was released, little did the teachers know that an editorial would blame them for not “enriching their students’ education.”
In June, decisions for educational budget cuts of 2010-2011 included shortening the academic year by five days. The Hobachi, the monthly paper of the California school, accused teachers in the Redlands Unified School District for being responsible for the five days being dropped.
The article left many teachers in tears, stating that “(Teachers) have opted to save their money hungry skins — aka, resist a pay cut” and that “they have stabbed their stinky, booger-dripping students in the backs and cold-heartedly deceive them by pretending to be role models!”
In this class, we have spent a great deal of time talking about the relationships between writers and editors, and, more importantly, how the clarity of each story needs to be impeccable in order to make the connection with the reader.
The newspaper faculty adviser, Tom Atchley, said he received many complaints about the article, but that there was nothing he could do.
I realize that Atchley is an adviser, not an editor, but the student editors did not do their jobs.
First, even though the article was an editorial, the writer or writers should have done a lot of fact checking. The writer(s) should have investigated to see how many teachers are actually on the Unified School District board, and how many of those teachers voted for the shortening of the school year.
Second, the editors did a poor job of making sure that the real message of the article was conveyed to the readers. The language was so insulting to the teachers that it overpowered the point of the article, which was to express concerns about the value of education.
Third, uh, high school kids complaining about a shorter school year? If they are truly that worried about the effect this will have on their education, maybe their time would be better spent writing articles about how the district can avoid making education budget cuts.
What do you think about the language of the article? Do you think that it was necessary in order to bring the issue to attention? Do you believe that the motive behind writing the article was truly about losing five precious days of education?