Brill’s Bashing

Steve Brill, education critic and the brain behind Court TV, gave a provocative talk at the recent Education Writers Association national conference in Philadelphia. But he seems to have forgotten a bit of his own business background. He somewhat attacked education reporters and suggested they are too attached to sitting in the newsroom rather than venturing into classrooms as he had so bravely done. Yet Brill doesn’t have an education degree and has never taught in a K-12 classroom.

This lack of degree only matters because Brill himself instituted a rule that a law degree was essential if one wanted to become a reporter or anchor on Court TV when he ran it. I know this because I was recruited for a Court TV gig in the ’90s but lost out because Brill wouldn’t greeenlight anyone without such a degree. Amazingly, now anyone can get on TV and be a legal expert.

Yet Brill is content to bash education reporters even though he lacks an ed degree. Is his law degree more valuable than a teaching certificate? Does the reporting of one profession matter more than the other? Of course, in his world it does.

Brill quickly left the conference. No time to chat. Cocktails were awaiting him in Manhattan, no doubt. Meanwhile, those who make their living covering schools and advocating for them bravely carried on through the rest of the conference.