Friday, January 7, 2011

Still misunderstood

To my fellow education reporters (or you folks out there having to write about ed):

I love school accommodation review committee (ARC) coverage in all shapes and sizes. Rarely do newsrooms have the resources or the interest to even cover the committee meetings that form a significant part of the process (though not necessarily the outcomes). It's my fervent belief media need to be in the room, reflecting, covering, analysing and reviewing the information that communities digest as part of the process. Given the importance of schools of all shapes and sizes to their communities, I consistently argue these committees deserve more coverage.
However, could we please stop saying these committees are going to make the decision on school closures? They're not going to 'solve the puzzle,' or 'come up with a solution' or any similarly worded thing.
These committees provide recommendations. Ideas. Options. Suggestions. Hopefully after having reviewed all the pertinent information committee members can get their hands on and wrap their heads around. They do not make decisions.
Trustees make decisions.
That's different, very different, than suggesting it's the committees that have this power. Sorry, but I also won't accept any excuses that this information gets left out for lack of space of ease of understanding. In the same number of words writers can just as easily say "make recommendations to trustees" rather than say "come to a decision on..."

This education reporter, tired of reading these inaccurate descriptions