Back to school

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

And more specifically, welcome to this year’s RN&R Back to School issue. It’s too early for a Back to School issue, you say? Think again! Washoe County schools are back in session on August 12, right around the corner, and then the university starts back up on August 26. So start prepping your minds and backpacks now.

And maybe you think a Back to School issue should feature handy articles like “College-Ruled or Wide-Ruled: Which Notebook Is Right for You?” or “An Orange a Day: Are Apples Really the Best Snack for Bribing Teachers?” but nope, we’ve got an exposé/rant from a local journalist about the systematic pattern of deception and disinformation among Washoe County School District officials, particularly in the buildup to the ouster of the district’s superintendent.

The duplicitous behavior of the school district is infuriating. Especially because we’re entrusting these people to instill a love of learning and the pursuit of truth in our children. These are difficult times for truth. The propaganda machines are as potent as ever, broadcasting lies and disorienting misinformation.

We live in a time when there can be near unanimous scientific consensus that—to pick a random example—the climate of the planet is affected by human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, but the industries that benefit from fossil fuel consumption are sure to spew out “scientific” misinformation contradicting that consensus.

Citizens of today’s world need to learn to differentiate between facts and “alternative facts,” a.k.a. lies. We need to learn to distinguish news from propaganda. And so, maybe the school district is teaching students a valuable lesson after all: don’t trust voices of authority.