Fact checking the media – WSBTV – Really?

WSBTV ran a story about the upcoming furlough day for “teachers” on Labor Day. The entire story could have been the following one liner –

ALL APS employees are reminded AGAIN that Labor Day is an unpaid furlough day.

Instead, starting from the top, we get this,

Atlanta Public School teachers were notified this week they will be furloughed on Labor Day and not paid.

The notification that went out this week was simply a reminder. The facts are that the BOE passed the specific furlough days on July 11 (including Labor Day) and the furlough days affect all APS employees, not just teachers. In addition, APS published a staff calendar at that time with the furlough days clearly shown along with including (and highlighting) the information in the Employee Handbook.

In addition, per an APS official, Atlanta is the only school district in the state that pays employees for an additional 11-12 holidays.

There is nothing new here and I am NOT surprised that a teacher was not quoted in the interview – it would have destroyed the narrative.

The report then goes on to say,

Georgia lawmakers cut the education budget in recent years and many districts decided to make up for lost money by furloughing employees.

Interesting assessment, but the K-12 state budget increased from $7.3 billion in FY13 to $7.4 billion in FY14 (page 142 at the link). Whoops!

And then they include my favorite quote,

 The state has decided it really doesn’t believe in education because it keeps cutting and cutting from our children and teachers,” said Veradaillia Turner, president of the Atlanta Federation of Teachers.

On its face, this is simply absurd. While we each can have an opinion on the adequacy of state funding for K-12 education in Georgia, the facts do matter.

Let’s hope WSBTV does a better job next time.

[Follow me on Twitter @Financial_Decon]

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