What is newsworthy?

We went through two evenings of curriculum night this week.  One for High School and the other for Middle School.  Both insightful.  Going through the evening confirms our belief in Progressive Education.   Whole student, participation in your learning process, how to solve problems not just memorize the solution. 

The sixth graders break into groups of four on a weekly basis and discuss current events.  One of them brings in a topic every week and there is a discussion.  I love that because it sets up a life long habit of reading about what is happening in the world on a daily basis.  Stimulate discussion and thought. 

The question is, what is newsworthy?  Is it newsworthy when Lindsay Lohan is back in rehab?  Is it newsworthy when Kate Moss is eating outside at Da Silvano next to the school?  These days, based on the media, this type of information appears to be much more newsworthy than the war in Iraq. 

We are living in an interesting time.  Privacy is gone.  Newsworthy is the latest in the celebs lives.  Mario Batali, who is playing with his kids and their friends after school are video taped in the afternoon and downloaded up on the web within hours.  Is there no privacy or respect for their personal lives?  Maybe they call out for it, maybe not.  Celebs obviously have not been able to deal with the constant pressure of being in the limelight, look at Britney Spears.  The "15 minutes of fame" the coined phrase of Andy Warhol, makes me wonder why anyone would even want their 15 minutes. 

Perhaps there will be a backlash to all this.  But from a bird’s eye view, what is newsworthy is perhaps because the real news out there, like the war in Iraq, the state of our economy, the sagging dollar, the sad state of our environment are issues that people would rather not hear about.  Life is too stressful as it is.  Kicking back and reading about celebs or watching people on "real life" shows is much more entertaining than taking in reality. 

I just hope that through constant conversations about real newsworthy topics in current events, the kids at our kids school, our learning about the real world.  After all, they are our future. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Barbara

    Very good points. What this means is that we also teach our children the sources of what we consider important news.

  2. Dave Wohlman

    Hi GG,

    My name is Dave and I am an old Rock and Roll compadre of Peter Dayton from his days in Boston with laPeste. I was at that time a young DJ at WTBS/WMBR, Cambridge playing punk to the yet unenlightened world.

    I would love to write to Peter but cannot find an e-mail address. Could you send it to me at [email protected] or send this note to Peter?

    Thanks so much and I hope you are happy and healthy

    PS Check out one of my daily podcasts at http://www.radiofreewohlman.blogspot.com.

    Thnaks again!

  3. Ted


    Great post as usual both in terms of education as well the media.

    We are fortunate to live in the Republic of Ann Arbor where there are a myriad of options in terms of education available to us. I sometimes wonder what we would do if we lived in the middle of rural Indiana or Oklahoma. Additionally, when we tell people from other areas nearby they roll their eyes at “progressive” education. I quickly explain the seeds of progressive education were planted in the early 20th Century, thus it is far from the hippie image they usually think. Student centered education always seems to be a threat to them. I have never understood why they have a problem with this. As a parent, I am very glad that my son’s education is individualized but remains under the umbrella of the school’s curriculum. Progressive schools are far more accommodating to different learning styles and people with different gifts as well. My son has Asperger’s Syndrome and he scores off the scales academically but socially he is behind. The school is so supportive and they accept kids who are quirky and embrace the children’s uniqueness.

    The concept of current events is a challenge today. Are we all not ADD when it comes to ‘news’? I have visions of RSS feeds for current events floating in my head. (yes, I am kidding). It requires a very strong instructor to be confident in his or her decision on how to filter the news and to challenge the kids to move beyond the banal into the things that matter.