Letter to the Editor: Failing to go beyond the headline
To the editor:
Thank you, Rod Johnson, for your insightful comments regarding Alexandria Area High School's math and reading scores (Sept. 14 letter to the editor).
But you did the Echo Press readers another great favor when you pointed out that we too often only read the headline. In this case the Sept. 5 headline read:
"High marks for Alexandria Public Schools." We read this and maybe the first paragraph, and go on to something else; in doing so, we missed what is really important: That not all the Alexandria schools are getting "high marks." In fact, in their reading and math skills, the AAHS students are
in the third quartile (read "lower half") of all Minnesota high school students. These are hardly "high marks."
Our failure to go beyond the headline also exists when we watch the
news; we read the "banners" that scroll across the bottom of our TV and mobile screens, we listen for that "sound bite" that resonates with our thinking, we react to a "tweet" instead of doing what you did with the article mentioned above, Rod. You read the entire story and discovered that the headline was correct only to a point: AAHS math and reading scores were
below the state average. A lesson for us all exists here: Get to the bottom of the story, do the
research to find out if the information you see in a tweet, on Facebook, online, or anywhere else is a complete and accurate summary. It will make a difference!