Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I refer to it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)The question is why do we still listen to anything educators say. Hasn't a century of failed "reforms" taught us anything? Taught us that they know almost nothing about their own profession -- education?
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I'd point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all. But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn't. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.
Professor Plum said it best a few days back:
The truth is, they are imbeciles.
You'll be shocked (or maybe not) at how boneheaded, smug, and just plain stupid these persons are.
They can't define knowledge.
"Knowledge is uh uh uh...what you know." [Oh, good.]
They can't give a coherent definition of learning.
"Learning is uh er oh mmm uh what happens when you learn." [Get the ropes.]
They can't list the phases of mastery---acquisition, fluency, generalization, retention.
"Phases of what?
They can't define a concept, rule, or cognitive routine.
"A concept is an idea. A rule is an idea, too, sort of, but uh uh uh er er."
They can't tell you the criteria for logically adequate curriculum design.
"A good curriculum is a seamless web [insane] of holistic experiences experienced in the context of naturalistic and learner-centered activities in a democratic and nurturing community. Howz that?" [Stick your head in the toaster and jump in the bathtub.]
In other words, they don't know anything about their business.