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You say tomato, I say tom-ah-to....

OK, so here's the winner of the press release containing, possibly, the best government spin of 2008 ANYWHERE ON THIS PLANET.

Drum roll please....

Hands down, it's the one sent out yesterday by the Pennsylvania Department of Education regarding Auditor General Jack Wagner's audit of the Rendell administration's "Classrooms for the Future" initiative. (That's the program that provides laptop computers, high-speed Internet access, software, teacher training and support to high schools in the state's 501 school districts).

Wagner's audit, for those who read it, takes a nice little whack at the program. Among other problems, auditors found inadequate public disclosure, inconsistent grant funding, and insufficient review of equipment purchases and program results. (Read The Inquirer's full story on the topic here.)

But you would never know that reading the Education Department's press release. "INDEPENDENT AUDIT CITES BENEFITS OF 'CLASSROOMS FOR THE FUTURE' EDUCATION INITIATIVE," blares the headline on the release that landed in reporters' inboxes.

"This audit confirms what so many high school students and educators already knew: Classrooms for the Future is a cutting-edge, cost-effective way to help challenge our students and better prepare for success beyond high school," it quotes Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak as saying. 

Uhm, and what about that stuff about the program's inadequate disclosure, inconsistent grant funding and insufficient review of equipment purchases and program results??

Here's how the press release addresses it: "The secretary also said the Department of Education will review the audit's suggestions for minor administrative changes aimed at helping schools districts better understand the process and protocols for securing Classrooms for the Future funding.

Bravo. Well done.  

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