Where are Educators?: Non-Education Nation is a Phony

I’ll admit it, I went to New York City as a panelist for Education Nation. In the post MSNBC Education Nation 2012 Part II: Demanding accountability from charters I discussed my altercation with Jonathan Alter, a non-education expert journalist, about a peer-reviewed charter study published in the Berkeley Review of Education that he called “cherry picking data.” I profiled the disagreement in the post MSNBC Education Nation 2012 Part I: When data gets in the way of ideology

Here is a photo I took from where I was seated:

2012-09-23 08.34.12

I dutifully performed my job as the research-based alternative to the ideology of reform narrative at Education Nation during last year’s Melissa Harris-Perry program. However, this year it looks like Education Nation is determined to stack the deck with non-educators.

Is Education Nation now a phony? Who is on tap for the panels? See there current list of profiled speakers here.

As an in-class project in the school reform class that I teach on Tuesdays, we searched the web and dug into the backgrounds of all of the speakers listed early this week. What did we find? There were about 65 featured panelist. Of these:

  • ~10 were/are K-12 classroom teachers
  • ~1 were/are principals

Who has a platform as educational experts if not educators?

We will hear perspectives on “What It Takes” from some of the biggest names in education, politics, business, and entertainment…

What!? There is more…

Through individual stories, we will form a collective snapshot of the challenges facing our public education system, as well as some of the real successes being achieved in meeting those challenges.

Note, the vast majority panelist have no experience as K-12 educators… Do you find this strange and/or typical? Who exactly is going to help us form a collective snapshot? How about panelist Lloyd Blankfein, CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs, more than 15 politicians, and a gob of Hollywood panelists without educator experience.

Well, Non-Education Nation has so gratuitously or graciously (they both work here) included the perspective teachers, students, administrators, and parents, not on the panels, but in the audience (to listen to the education experts of course) and via moderated video snapshots:

The teachers, students, administrators, and parents at our Summit. We’d also like to hear from YOU, and we invite you to submit your ideas for “What It Takes;” you can find instructions here

How about we have the “biggest names in education, politics, business, and entertainment” sit in the audience and submit their input via moderate video clips and we have the “teachers, students, administrators, and parents” have the prominent voice on the panels at Education Nation?!? We just might hear a different perspective on the current conditions in schools under NCLB relative to the “expertise” we will get during two days of national TV programming from more than 50 non-educator reformers.

Non-Education Nation is a phony.

Melissa Harris-Perry, You are our only hope.


Update: 9/26/13 2:24 p.m. Let Non-Education Nation know how you feel about this:

Joe Alicastro is an Education Nation senior producer joealicastro@me.com

Also email daria.hirsch@nbcuni.com and kyle.scott@nbcuni.com

You can tweet Education Nation @EducationNation
You can contact Education Nation on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/educationnation

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Twitter: @ProfessorJVH

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Please blame Siri for any typos.

PTII Education Nation


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  • Folks need to join in the Anti-EdNation protest, to be held outside the New York Public Library, 06 October 2013 from 12-2.
    Take your friends, family, teachers, students, and taxpayers! ^o^


  • Please post the best place for parents, grandparents, and educators to register their complaints with MCNBC. This is outrageous and many folks here in Indiana will


  • Recently posted the following on NBC News’ contact page –


    “NBC News program “Education Nation” lacks credibility as a “news” program, but works quite well as propaganda. The selection of panelists for the new program demonstrates a huge bias against education professionals and in favor of inexperienced, self-appointed reformers. NBC News should be ashamed of itself for calling this a news program. It is gratuitous promotion of unproven reform claims by people unqualified to be making such claims.”

    “Where is truly investigative reporting when we need it most?”


  • Has Melissa responded to your request? Uh, maybe she too is committed with the media mogul. Let’s see. I was once the PR manager at Telemundo, Puerto Rico. As a communication strategist, I focused on what was going on behind the cameras. One thing behind the camera? Ads! No way traditional media can survive without them. MSN is no exception. Even my favorite, TRMS (the Rachel Maddow Show). Show. None of them are journalist, including Melissa.
    So, expecting Melissa to come to the rescue … well, I would not be so optimistic. After all, ads pay their salaries or contracts.
    Darn! I am so sorry to be so negative here. Let’s find another network … maybe Core TV? Just saying.
    By the way, after working for big corps and the media, I lost my faith in them, if I ever trusted them at all.
    Keep on with the great job you are doing, Julián.


  • It’s like telling the pilot he cannot land the plane until the passengers tell him how to do it.


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