Open Letter to NPR

Originally published 12/31/2003. Links were valid at time of publication.
Comments on segment “New York City’s high schools for pregnant students”
To whom it may concern;

Never before has a segment on your program so infuriated me that I found myself seriously contemplating whether or not the criticism about a liberal bias with NPR is correct and that ideology has replaced intellectual honesty.

In the segment regarding New York City’s high schools for pregnant students, both the reporter and interviewed guests referred to the school system as “failing” the young teenage girls who have gotten pregnant, despite several facts that the story itself admits:

  1. The students got pregnant by their own choice
  2. The students don’t attend the classes (one student explained that she simply didn’t want to leave her warm bed)
  3. The schools have set up redundant systems for these students to get an education

 

One interviewed student, a 16-year-old with TWO children, lamented through tears that her life had to be “put on hold” because she was rejected for space in two of the “P” schools. Now, it seems, she’ll be unable to follow her “dream” of getting into college. So she didn’t learn her lesson after the first child? Has she not learned that these are the consequences of your actions? One child could be considered a poor choice, a mistake (with respect to decisions regarding an academic career). TWO children can only be considered gross negligence.

It’s sad that we’ve come to a social place where not only do these students believe that it’s the State’s responsibility to give them unlimited chances for choices that they have made, but reporters encourage this attitude.

The segment provided absolutely no consideration that the students were responsible for their conditions, nor was it explained precisely where in the New York City public school charter did it state that the Schools were designed to become welfare systems. Additionally, there was no indication where the *money* for these programs was coming from. Some schools have day care centers? Who’s paying for it? What kind of reciprocation is made on the part of students who can’t even get out of bed? Where’s the accountability?

Furthermore, the segment mentioned that some students thrive on the system put in place, but almost regrettably adds that those students who succeed were the ones who did well in school in the first place. So, in other words, special education requirements don’t actually make good students out of bad ones? This is supposed to be something that is shocking and needs to be cause for concern?

Finally, the segment offers no solutions to the problems, just presents complaintants who seem to be ill-treated by those who have (it seems to me) already bent over backwards to provide second chances to them. In a classic case of beggars being choosers, these students have done absolutely nothing to deserve the assistance they already have available to them, yet feel no shame in biting the hand that feeds them when they don’t get the silver platter as well. Such ungrateful audacity fills me with contempt, not pity. It certainly backfires if the goal of the story was to encourage me to support additional funding for “P” schools, either financially or conceptually.

In conclusion, I feel that the criticism of bias levied upon NPR is warranted, and the editorial staff should take greater pains to check the message NPR is sending out if it wishes to be seen as even remotely balanced. As it currently stands, the scales of bias are tipped lopsidedly in NPR’s disfavor.

Sincerely,

J Michel Metz, Ph.D
Orlando, FL

 

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1 Comment

  • NPR and “Liberal Bias” « J Metz's Blog March 24, 2011 at 14:52

    […] My own breaking point with NPR came years ago when Beth Fertig reported a story (on “All things considered”) on a New York City program that provided continuing education to students who had 2, 3 or more children of their own before they were 16 years of age. Even now, on NPR’s page, “the program hasn’t lived up to its promise.” […]

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