The Austin Chronicle

Biased Journalism On Ann Richards School

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 3, 2013

Dear Editor,
    It's unfortunate the Chronicle offered a platform to a disgruntled former employee of AISD who taught PE at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders ["In the Name of Ann Richards," News, Aug. 30]. The one-sided presentation of Ms. Mason-Murphy's biased views concerning ARS, its teaching and administrative staff, and its student population highlights a very serious lack of journalistic integrity on the part of the reporter and the newspaper. Fair and balanced journalism this is not.
    As a parent of a child now in her sixth year at ARS and one completing her third, I am proud to express the high level of confidence I have in the campus administration. I am perfectly willing to do so on the record and would gladly have done that had I been contacted by the reporter. And there are many others like me.
   As with other AISD parents, I try to do my part to support my kids’ school. I participate in the PTSA, volunteer, monitor homework loads, and seek constructive engagement with school officials when necessary. Ms. Goka and all the ARS staff have been consistently accessible, honest, and straightforward – and have demonstrated only the highest integrity. I have never witnessed any of the hot-button behaviors alleged in the article. Nor do I have cause to believe in the climate of fear or troubling practices and behaviors described therein.
    The comments and the litany of allegations made by Ms. Mason-Murphy highlight one thing most clearly: a megalomania that is the antithesis of the kind of leader ARS is committed to helping nurture. I hope your readers aren’t swayed by the fictional account of ARS portrayed in the article. I consider it nothing more than the work of a former PR person with an ax to grind. It's unfortunate Mr. Whittaker lacked the journalistic chops to avoid being taken in by it.
Lori McClure
   [News Editor Michael King responds: Despite Lori McClure's complaints of one-sidedness, as Richard Whittaker reported, Austin ISD and Ann Richards administrators were given ample and extended opportunity to provide specific answers to specific questions about the school and its policies. Instead of accepting that opportunity, they offered general responses drafted by a public relations official. We normally expect (and receive) better cooperation from public officials, but the school district under its current leadership is persistently nonresponsive to media inquiries.]

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