Sentell’s Latest Advocate Article Is Not Exactly Journalism But Propaganda

On Monday, November 11, 2013, the Advocate‘s Will Sentell composed his latest article on Common Core and the controversy surrounding it. As usual, what began as a thought-provoking article morphed into pro-Common Core rhetoric with little representation of the real concerns by parents. Pro-Common Core advocates were overwhelmingly represented and dismissed the public outcry as inaccurate Tea-party-inspired nonsense, obstinate teachers who oppose change for its own sake, and backwards parents who resist having their children brought out of the Dark Ages. Here is the link for the article ( and here is my response to many of the generalities and quotes supplied by Mr. Sentell.

“ ‘The Internet can get the false information out faster than we can get the proper information out,’ said Jim Garvey….”

No, actually, Mr. Garvey, the Internet is usefully spreading real parental concerns that the majority of the BESE Board, yourself included, do not take seriously.

“Senate Education Committee Chairman Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, blamed the uproar on “Tea party people and some other right-wing Republicans,” whose views he said are often fueled by bad information.”

No, actually, Mr. Appel, the uproar is from caring parents who are witnessing this wholesale kidnapping of public education by non-educators as completely unacceptable. Thankfully, there are other legislators like Representative Cameron Henry who genuinely listen to the public and will file legislation to remove Louisiana from Common Core.

“The principal of John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Lake Charles, Dinah Robinson, … said the calculation of division, for instance, is not taught as it used to be.”

She’s right. It’s incredibly longer than the traditional method and is being taught not as an alternative method but as THE acceptable method. That’s just plain stupid.

“Common Core will take full effect in the 2014-15 school year, including national assessments in the spring of 2015.”

Now, Now, Mr. Sentell. Please attempt a veneer of journalistic accuracy. It was fully implemented THIS year. The PARCC tests will start next year.

“ ‘The biggest thing I have heard from constituents is just a desire to help their kids,’ said Boffy, a former state teacher of the year who represents nine school districts.”

Well, of course, no one is sending real concerns to Holly Boffy. She has demonstrated over and over her unwavering dedication to Common Core, not to the teachers and students of Louisiana. Considering the consistent 9-2 BESE Board votes supporting the recent overhaul of education, every sentient being should instead send their concerns to legislators who have the power to overrule and undo this travesty.

And the definition of rigor is not necessarily aligned with educational goals. The definitions include severity or strictness, demanding difficult or extreme conditions, and the quality of being extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate. Strictness, extreme, and exhaustive are more the signs of obsessive compulsiveness and should not be the setting of every course taught in schools.

Lastly, it is becoming a source of constant consternation in Louisiana about the reporting of Will Sentell on educational matters. All the people quoted in this article were supportive of the recent phase of Common Core. BESE Board member Dr. Lottie Polozola Beebe, a fierce defender of public education, was not quoted, and the only anti-Common Core voice was almost an afterthought at the end of the article following a barrage of pro-Common Core tripe. Balance in reporting is a hallmark of journalism, but it is sorely lacking in Mr. Sentell’s reporting.


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One response to “Sentell’s Latest Advocate Article Is Not Exactly Journalism But Propaganda

  1. Here’s an interesting fact. The Advocate allows people to respond to the articles, and there are now 45 responses, and although mine was one of the first, it has since been removed. I prefer to believe that the shock of an honest response shamed the editorial staff, but I won’t hold my breath on that one. In reality, they most likely did not appreciate being called out on their lack of journalistic integrity and somehow what I wrote offended their sensibilities. Thankfully, my words exist in many forms and on many sites. What an interesting world in which we live.

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