From the local rag:
"Here is the list of Kalamazoo-area schools that failed to make AYP."
In all fairness, I know that the author, Julie Mack, is generally a proponent of public education, although sometimes it would be hard for a casual observer to tell. On her blog published not six hours later, she calls for a reform of NCLB. Even in this article, she doesn't necessarily do anything wrong--she presents the information as it exists, in as succinct a form as the language will permit.
But when a parent reads this article, what they see is "Your school failed." When an opponent of public education (or an "education reformer") reads this article, they see "Public schools fail." Then there are the comments. (I try not to read the comments in my local rag, because they inevitably infuriate me. I understand that this is a common pattern among the comment section of newspapers online. I read the first one on accident.)
Look, I'm on the data train. I think we need good data to make the right decisions. All stakeholders in education (which, the first comment on the "Your School Failed" article reminds me, is everyone) should have access to information about the achievement of their schools. Saying that all schools are wonderful! obviously doesn't make schools better places. There is no need to sugar-coat our shortcomings. There's no reason we shouldn't ask the community for input on how to improve, and every reason to do so.
This kind of thing, however, doesn't further that conversation in any meaningful way. It casts aspersions in the guise of providing information. It takes as its premise a flawed idea, the idea that naming and shaming is the first best tool for school improvement. To reiterate, I'm certain that this is not what Ms. Mack intends to do, but I don't know that a reader could help but to see it as an accusation.