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A "High But Not High Enough" Scoring School

Ohanian Comment: I post middle school teacher Christine Voreis's letter because she speaks for so many teachers--and she dares to sign her name. Actually, when I asked her if I could post her letter and use her name, she replied that she is proud to sign. It is instructive to read Dave Stratman's analysis of why such destructive practices as Christine describes are being imposed on schools in the name of reform. In an essay Why Our Schools Are Under Attack, Dave provides a compelling answer.

So to answer the question, Why are public schools under attack? I would give two reasons:

One, our young people have more talent and ability than the corporate system can use, and higher dreams than it can fulfill. To get young people to fit into a society that is becoming more and more unequal and undemocratic, the system has to crush a great many of them so that they will accept their place in society without complaint.

Two, education reform is part of a strategy of social control to strengthen corporate power over our lives.

Dear Susan,

We are struggling with a new curriculum in our "high but not high enough" scoring school. Our district has worked hard to develop a culture of literacy and a love of reading and writing. Unfortunately, those days are over. Our focus is no longer fostering a love of learning but, preparing students to be successful in college (thanks to the College Board).

I am in my tenth year of teaching and thought I was too young to be on the wrong side of the pendulum shift. We are now forced to defend reading aloud, sustained silent reading time, writing workshop, and student choice.

We teach middle school. Isn't this where they should be able to find their own voice in the literate community?

I am heartbroken. When did these things become dirty words? I must have been busy teaching.

— Christine Voreis
letter from a teacher




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