Evidence supporting the notion that the Herald is willfully fanning fires between Durango High School and Animas High School is mounting. The Herald published an AP article entitled, "Idaho charter, conventional schools compete," (April 8). "It segregated the community," said Holly Church, a teacher quoted in the article.
On May 22, the Herald wrote, in part, "Projections from district officials call for a loss of more than 200 students when AHS opens." The Herald explained this erroneous figure by claiming that research time was limited.
On May 24, the Herald "corrected" this with two sentences that read, in part, "9-R announced that 19 employees will not have jobs this fall. Most of the layoffs are at DHS, which is projected to lose more than 200 students in part because of the opening of AHS."
On June 7, the Herald featured a picture of empty seats with the headline, "Class half full. New charter school drains funding, students from DHS."
Journalistic sensationalism prevents the public from being knowledgeable participants in important discussions. Distorted reporting can generate false hopes and unwarranted fears. Because democracies rely on an informed citizenry to debate and decide among choices, sensationalism threatens effective involvement. It is easier to report superficial controversies than conduct and report deeper analyses. The complexity of a matter sometimes is sacrificed for the expediency of a simple and gripping story.
Most people support choice, and therefore support more than one free, public high school in Durango - regardless of where they have or intend to send their children.
I challenge the Herald to raise its journalistic bar by devoting time to investigation and analysis. This community has not had the opportunity to read what Bill Gates or The George Lucas Educational Foundation has said about the curricular model used at AHS. Provide us with information to make educated choices, not hyperbole.
Peter S. Fazekas, Durango