Thursday, April 03, 2008

Teacher to NY Post on Francis Lewis HS

This is the second time I am writing to you. Your story was unconscionable. You mentioned nothing about the horrific conditions we work under and did not use any of the more outrageous pictures you took.

I understand that you spoke to a colleague of mine and said that all your information was from teachers. It's funny that although I spoke to you at length, none of my comments appeared.

This piece was nothing but a piece of fluff intended to stroke the ego of the principal. This article was not a news report and not worthy of someone who calls themselves a journalist.

(also sent to the editor of the Post)

I am a teacher at Francis Lewis HS, one that Yoav Gonen spoke to when he came to the school to write his story. Although everything he said was true, he failed to point out the problems in the school, problems that were pointed out to him as he surveyed the situation.

There is no benefit to children eating lunch at 9:00 AM. By 2:00 they are hungry and sometimes need to eat. Classes in split rooms hear all the noise from the room next door as some of the rooms have not been split with soundproof material. Some of these rooms have no windows. The rooms are long and narrow and it is impossible for kids at the ends to see the board. The gym classes in the hallways make it hard to move in the hall and the noise from these classes is often disruptive to other classes. Kids go outside in freezing cold weather and often have no advance notice so they don't have sweats. As for the trailers, they are falling apart. Some have no loudspeaker or fire alarm systems. Some have leaky roofs. There is no drainage by some and every time it rains, hip boots are needed to get in and out.

Our school is a great school. It is a great school because of the kids that go here and the teachers that work here. We are good in spite of these issues. A school as good as our should not have to function in these conditions. I once showed pictures of the trailer to a man from Japan and he thought I was showing him pictures from a third world nation.

I was hoping your reporter would point out our physical problems instead of writing a fluff piece shouting praises that are evident to everyone who knows us.

Linda Silverman

Dear Ms. Silverman,
Thanks for your feedback. I'm a bit surprised by your second email - you went from writing that everything I wrote was true to saying that my story was unconscionable.
My story was not intended to focus on the physical condition of the building, but on the academic and social environment. I spoke to as many people as I had time to speak with and heard few if any voices of dissent - even from randomly polled students outside of the school building. I also spoke to teachers outside of school hours when one would expect them to be more frank, and again, heard few complaints.
I took note of the poor conditions of your trailer classroom - but in the context of the fact that they are outdoor trailers and also that you said you preferred to be out there rather than in the school. To me, that doesn't sound like someone who's unhappy with their situation.
In any case, I appreciate your feedback and if I do a story on the poor physical condition of schools I will certainly keep Francis Lewis in mind.

Thank you for your answer but I still dispute your facts.
First off, you led me to believe you were doing a story on school conditions. And, while I said that I preferred being outside, that comment did not mean that I did not mind the conditions I was working under. In any situation one would always take the lesser of two evils.
Secondly, you did not ask me anything about the school and quite frankly, I do not trust you enough to share my real feelings about the place with you.
By writing that story, you make our school sound like a school with no problems. As far as I am concerned, that is not jouralism.
Linda Silverman


JUSTICE not "just us" said...

You takes your chances when you talk to the 4th estate!

Anonymous said...

Journalists nowadays are afraid of their shadow. Do not expect the truth from them. They will always please big brother.