The oldest trick in the book in the “news” biz is to take a photo of a politician that makes him look worried, sad, or downcast to offset a story of how things aren’t working so well for that pol’s policies or plans. Well, the Chicago Sun-Times has used that ages old trick to lambast president Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program by giving us the stories of several Illinois students that supposedly slipped through the cracks of the Federal program and using a picture of Bush with furrowed brow with inset pictures of the several students. Of course, their stories are expectedly filled with nonsense, but it is the photo that the Sun-Times really expects to tell the tale. This photo says “failure and he knows it” all over the thing and sets the tone of bias from the start.

The Sun-Times starts out to lower our expectations of Bush’s policies:

President Bush arrives in town today, primed to spread the gospel on one of his key policy initiatives, the No Child Left Behind Law… The goals are lofty, but the reality is jarring. We thought the president should meet some of the children in Chicago who are left behind every day, especially in our high schools.

First of all, Sun-Times, schools are run by the state and, in Chicago’s case, even the city itself has far more sway than the Feds due to a deal that Richie “King” Daley made with the State of Illinois. So Bush alone isn’t responsible for the kids “left behind” in Chicago’s schools.

The Sun-Times goes on to introduce us to a Denise Ferrusquia who claims that she can’t learn because she feels she has to “do learning on my own.” Someone should let this empty headed youngster know that EVERYONE learns “on their own.” There isn’t a computer upload that can feed education right into your brain, Denise. You have to make the effort yourself. The truth is, you don’t necessarily need a school at all to learn. All you have to do is read! (not that schools are unnecessary, of course. But her assumption is ridiculous on its face)

Then they give us young Mr. Brad Johnson who was shocked that he was not so well served by his Chicago school system once he got to Loyola University.

“Professors expect me to know a lot of things, and I just don’t,” said Brad, a 2007 Austin High School graduate. “I thought I had study skills, but now that I’m here, it’s been hard. I got straight A’s [in high school] without studying.”

How is that again? You “thought” you had great study skills even though you never studied in high school? Look up the word non-sequitur, Mr. Johnson.

Then they give us this whiner…

Finally, Bush should hear about David Wells, who dropped out of Morgan Park High School. He accepts some responsibility but also blames the school, where he says his teachers were distant.

Wake up and smell reality, fella. No one cares a whit about you, pal. You have to care enough for yourself to accept an education and you being a quitter sure as heck isn’t Bush’s fault. Distant, indeed! The schools in the U.S. are the easiest in the civilized world and if you can’t pass here you are truly dumb as a box of rocks. Dumb or just too lazy to bother. None of this is government’s fault.

Next we get this foolishness from a so-called educator:

“NCLB doesn’t do anything for the huge numbers of kids who have dropped out,” said Jack Wuest, director of the Chicago Alternative Schools Network.

You’re kidding right?

Now, we can have serious and substantive problems with the NCLB policies. In fact, one can seriously and legitimately hold the Constitutional position that no Federal money at all should be put toward education. But, the “examples” that the Chicago Sun-Times gave us are facile and pointless to the argument for or against the NCLB. Further, it must be remembered that 90% of the reason our schools are failing have nothing whatever to do with the Federal government and more to do with the uncaring Teacher’s unions and failed state administration of our schools.

So, the Sun-Times’ empty editorial fits their photo trick quite well. Neither are substantive arguments and both are mere tricks utilized to attack the president all the while avoiding any real debate of the merits of the program or any serious discussion on fixing the problems in our failed schools.

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