July 10, 2020

If Mr. Perry wants journalistic integrity, he’ll start with the man in the mirror

Some jokes just write themselves. In this case, Mr. Andre Perry is back again with another (but the same) grievance piece against his former reform bosses in New Orleans. I don’t know what they did to hurt him, but the pain is real.

This time he’s bothered by funded media (or at least media funded by foundations he opposes):

I…would like to see a resurgence of local news, and in particular, ethnic media, which serves audiences that are mainly comprised of African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans. As syndicated news and articles with big city datelines crowd out local ethnic media, voices already ignored by local mainstream media go to the wind. If there’s truth to power to be spoken, marginalized people of color must have more news outlets.

Perry writes this for Hechinger.

Here is their staff:

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I’m sure these are fine people, but the picture does live up to the point Mr. Perry is making. Were his concern actionable, he might consider the best ways to support “ethnic” media and black organizations is to write and work for them. I support his call to revitalize the once prominent position local black press had in black communities. Having worked with local black news papers and their association over the past few years, I can tell you the one thing they need is content. This piece Mr. Perry wrote could have gone to any number of black papers who would have eagerly printed it.

My message here: don’t talk us to death. Support your people for real.

Also, looking at Hechinger’s long list of “partners,” I see one that visibly black entity (Ebony). Not the local black papers Mr. Perry and I want to support. (In full disclosure, I’ve written for several of Hechinger’s partners).

He continues….

Into the breach stepped big pocketed national foundations, who on the issue of education reform poured hundreds of millions into communication firms, national journalism associations like the National Association of Black Journalists and online news outlets in an attempt to uplift pro-reform stories, drowning out local dissent. In the absence of a daily paper that counters the pro-charter narrative, the Walton, Gates and Broad Foundations found it relatively easy to make New Orleans a positive case study for the rest of the country.

My first thought here is “do I need to remind you again how much money is in anti-reform“? I’m damn happy there is a counterbalance on our side to the education establishment’s sole mission to trap kids in education deserts so they can be cash cows for public employees.

Second, has he no sense of irony?

He wrote his anti-rich-people-funding-journalism piece for Hechinger Report.

Here are their funders…

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But, unfortunately, he continues, and this is where it becomes black-on-black slime:

I’ve always said that it’s too easy to put a black face on a white agenda. Education is rife with paid bloggers, publishers and outlets who are paid to endorse a particular sector. Facebook exec [Campbell] Brown created one such organization in The74.

Again, I think Mr. Perry opens himself to the same criticism he’s dishing out.

While I disagree that it is a “white agenda” to focus on expanding educational options, opening new schools, training new educators, and developing infrastructure for counterinstitutions to educate children when state schools fail to do so, but I’ll entertain that and Mr. Perry’s other swipe at the existence of “paid bloggers.”

April 11, 2011, this is the smiling face of New Orleans reform, and its Mr. Perry’s face:


He looks happy with his role as a paid New Orleans education reformer.

And, when he was happy when he asked Education Post for $150,000 of Broad and Walton money.

Here is what he said he would produce:

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In the end, we paid him to be a blogger. It was expensive and not worth it. If Mr. Perry now believes people are less upright because they have contracts or jobs to do work they believe in, he’s going to need a mighty big mirror, and a few days of contemplation.

As for us “black faces” pushing new schools, we know the strategy for anti-reform communications contractors is to invalidate us by attacking our funding sources. It’s an old, tired tradition, especially coming from people who have sought the same funding from the same sources.

Shame on Hechinger for publishing this hypocritical nonsense and throwing shade on their colleagues in other publications. I would hope this is beneath them, but hope is apparently misplaced.

Mr. Perry, these revenge pieces are so played out, and a true waste of your talent. You are an educator with a Ph.D and experience running (charter) schools. I would think you might spend some time thinking about how we get eight million black students into schools (or other learning environments) that put them on track to be equally as payable as you.

*Note: I have a message in to Liz Willen who leads Hechinger Report asking if any portion of Mr. Perry’s column for Hechinger Report is funded by a third-party. I will let you know when I receive an answer.

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