Education Week - October 10, 2018 - 1

Education Week
VOL. 38, NO. 8 * OCTOBER 10, 2018

AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2018 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 6 


Why Teachers
Stay Silent About
Sexual Assault
The #MeToo Era Hasn't Made It
Easier for Educators to Go Public

Callie Richmond for Education Week

By Arianna Prothero

David Crockett High, top,
is the real-life setting for
'SKAM Austin.' The new show,
produced in partnership with
Facebook, feature teen actors
and aims to create a "realistic
illusion" by unfolding in real
time, on social media.

Facebook's New Teen Drama
Blurs the Line Between Real and Fake
By Benjamin Herold
Austin, Texas

On May 16 at 1:16 p.m., a video appeared on Facebook. It
showed high school sophomore Kelsey Russell and her friends
sitting in the library of Austin's Bouldin High, talking through
an online quiz titled "Are You Ready to Lose Your Virginity?"
Two days later, as Russell curled her hair before a Friday
night date with a football player named Daniel, she posted a
photo to Instagram.
And the following Monday, another Facebook video appeared, showing a table outside Bouldin High during lunchtime. As Russell recounted her first time having sex, her
friends worried that Daniel might have used the social media
app Snapchat to share pictures with his friends.
"I hope you checked the sheets," a girl told Russell. "Because
if you bled, then he definitely Snapped it. It's like a trophy for
Together, the videos have been viewed over 400,000 times.
Russell's Instagram post got more than 3,100 likes.

But here's the catch:
Kelsey Russell isn't a real person, and there's no such school
as Bouldin High.
Both are fictional creations of a new teen drama called
SKAM Austin. Produced in partnership with Facebook, the
show blends earnest storytelling, an innovative new format,
and sometimes-graphic and sexually explicit dialogue to authentically depict the role of social media in teenagers' lives.
SKAM Austin also further blurs the line between fake and
real, unfolding via snippets of social media content that pop
up alongside the posts of viewers' real-life friends. To follow
along, the show's fans-just like its characters-have to go
down the digital rabbit hole, hopping from platform to platform in the hopes of finding out what's really happening.
Media-literacy experts say schools should pay close attention to SKAM Austin, describing it as both as a potential teaching tool and a cautionary tale about where social
media is headed.
As a piece of popular culture, observers say, the show hits
PAGE 10 >

The confirmation process for Supreme
Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has
PERSPECTIVE become the most raucous showdown of
the #MeToo era in part because of the
high political stakes, but also because
for many people it's become acutely personal.
As the fallout reverberates through the news and
social media, people see their daughters, their sons,
their friends, and themselves. We each carry with us
someone for whom this is not the hypothetical topic of
a pundit brawl, but a dark reality.
For me, I can't stop thinking about one teacher.
In part, because of the nature of the abuse she endured at the school she worked in, but also because of
how badly she wanted to share her story.
As any journalist will tell you, there is friction between a source's natural desire to protect themselves
and their loved ones, and the ethical demands of our
profession to corroborate and verify.
The process is invasive.
Every news organization handles this differently. But it generally includes background checks,
reporters asking for any corroborating evidence-
which often means digging through emails and
text messages-and asking a barrage of questions
about the tiniest details of a time our sources would
rather forget. We call friends and associates (some
of whom our source may not have spoken to in
years), we call employers, and, perhaps hardest of
PAGE 8 >

Election Puts Spotlight
On Precarious Position
Of State Superintendents
By Daarel Burnette II
More than half of the nation's 13 elected state
superintendent positions are up for grabs this
But in South Carolina this year, there's a twist: As
voters go to the polls to vote on their new state chief,
they'll also decide whether the general public-or
the state's governor-is best fit to select who should
be in charge of improving the state's schools.
The ballot question to make the chief's job an appointed one as of 2023 was initiated by the state's
Republican-dominated legislature and is an effort
to consolidate power over the state's academically
struggling public school system which has been
plagued by a widespread teacher shortage.
The South Carolina debate is illustrative of the increasing responsibilities, visibility, and political pressures state chiefs across the nation face.
"You can't have two competing agendas with two
different offices with two competing views," said
South Carolina House Representative Bill Taylor,
a Republican who sits on the state's education committee and opposes having two separate elected
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 10, 2018