Education Stories John Oliver Will Never Mention

Want to create a false narrative? You might consider doing it the John Oliver way.

Outright lies in the era of ubiquitous social media don’t work. As most of us know by now, there are digital armies of Twitter feeds poised to call anyone out with extreme prejudice for spreading blatant misinformation. Instead, false narratives 2016-style are crafted through the cherry-picking of anecdotes. It’s particularly effective when most people aren’t already intimately familiar with the subject.

This is what John Oliver did in his recent rant about charter school chicanery. His report wasn’t just all yin and no yang. What Oliver did was much deeper sophistry. He performed the educational equivalent of “tabling” the idea of whether more dogs bite men, or more men bite dogs — since both things do happen — and then presenting a comprehensive, worst-ever, dog biters Hall of Shame.

Here are some examples of theft and corruption from district schools that we suspect will never be worthy of a comparable exposé by Last Week Tonight. Understand that not only is this list far from exhaustive, but these happen to only be stories from 2015-16. One can only imagine the hundreds of similar stories we’d find by going a few more years back (like Oliver did for his anti-charter cherry-picking).

And don’t forget the surfeit of pervy and druggy district school employee stories that are extremely rare in charter schools. As for why that is, we might need a psychologist. My personal theory is that since the charter schools have an inherent accountability culture — if new families don’t proactively knock on their doors every year, those schools will disappear — that materially affects the seriousness with which charter teachers take their jobs.

Armchair psychology aside, behold some example stories of this genre, in this case from 2016 alone. Want to find more? They’re there. Will John Oliver ever find these worthy of mention? Or might they be demurely ignored because he doesn’t happen to be talking about this issue, on any particular night, ever? What do you think?

As for what John Oliver will talk about next, it’s anyone’s guess. But it just may be this.

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