The Bad News Eradicator

Spin is all the rage these days, in education and pretty much everywhere else (yes, including the media). The funny thing about spin is how obvious it is. As a reporter or a private citizen, it can make you crazy if you don’t find a way to call it for what it is.

That’s what a blogger for The Dallas Morning News did after spotting an article in the August issue of The School Administrator magazine titled, “Eliminate Bad News by Eradicating Negative Language.”

No more straight talk. Euphemisms, all the way.

In response, blogger Tawnell Hobbs, gives some advice of his own: “THIS DOESN’T WORK.”

You can read the blog post here.

I’m sure each of us has seen the “bad news eradicator” in action in OUSD. “Right-sizing” schools (not closing them) comes to mind…

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Cathy Norman

    Bad news will diminish when the Good News is welcomed back to school.

  • Catherine

    Did a representative from the district offices write the article?

    In Oakland we have been hearing the “positive spin” right up to the minute the State took over our school system.

  • Catherine


    Please help!

    My daughter took standardized tests in the Spring of 2008. We were told that our child’s individual test scores would be mailed home over the Summer. We have not received our child’s test scores – I have scoured the OUSD website for information, called the main number only to be given other numbers which send me to voice mail hell – – – honestly, the answer to this question could easily be put on the frequently asked questions page.

    Do you know where I can find the answer? This was the first year our daughter took “the test” – I promise to keep the information for the future.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

  • peter

    These test scores are mailed directly home by the state, or by the testing company. The district itself received most scores on Friday, and is frantically trying to disaggregate the data and disseminate it to schools as they get ready for the school year. If you still haven’t received your daughter’s scores from the state within the first few weeks of the school year, you can perhaps approach the school for the information. However, the schools have not yet received any individual student scores.

  • Catherine

    Thank you Peter!

    I think she did fine. However, one of the academic programs she takes as enrichment requires the scores from this grade forward.

  • Katy Murphy

    “Frantically trying to disaggregate data” sums up my afternoon so far, too.

    The 2008 STAR results, by school and by district, are released publicly tomorrow, but we journalists get a whole extra day to analyze them. I’ll post a link tomorrow, and there will be a story in the paper on Friday.

    I don’t know about individual student results, though.

    Wait! I meant to say: My knowledge is limited, but I know a couple of things about that. Let me tell you what they are. If you need more information, I can get it for you.

  • oakteach

    Individual test scores are available to teachers on Edusoft as of last weekend. If you can contact your daughter’s teachers or her principal they will be able to print a copy of her scores.