Work by a U-M graduate student caught the eye of New York Times education reporter Michael Winerip. PhD Candidate Laura Haniford has investigated the coverage of the “achievement gap” in test scores between white and black students by the Ann Arbor News, concluding that while the problem has stayed the same since the mid 1980s, the number of articles in the newspaper varied wildly year-to-year:
Ms. Haniford found that from 1984 to 1995, The Ann Arbor News published 11 articles on the achievement gap in local schools; then suddenly, in 1997, 92 achievement-gap articles appeared; and then, gap coverage virtually disappeared again, plummeting to two articles in 2001.
My favorite part? The white-led backlash when the school district decided to dedicate some resources to solving the problem:
By summer, a group of mainly whites was alleging reverse discrimination. On Oct. 24, 1997, the group filed a complaint with the federal Department of Education saying the civil rights of nonblack students had been violated. Singling out blacks for extra help was a case of antiwhite racism, they complained.
… Further proving my theory that the city of Ann Arbor just isn’t as progressive as it’s chalked up to be.