Dear NCTE: You Betrayed Me
Ohanian Note: I posted this letter once before, but since that section of the site is now defunct, I post it again.
Mostly I post it again because it speaks so strongly to our times. We must demand that our professional organizations and our unions be accountable--to us and to the children. Right now, they seem to think they owe accountabiity to the corporate-politicos.
Read the timeline of NCTE communications below. Read and weep. Then get up and fight. Fight for OUR organization. Fight for our professional lives.
If you are a member of NCTE and would like to sign a resolution asking NCTE to express disapproval of the Common Core standards, write me and I'll send you the resolution.
NCTE communications on the Common Core standards:
July 28, 2009
Aug. 7, 2009
Aug. 17, 2009
Sept. 21, 2009
Sept. 21, 2009
March 10, 2010
July 5, 2010
For many years, you were my professional organization, and I was proud to participate in the annual conventions.
But you betrayed me.
You sold your soul for a "seat at the table." You sold us out because "withholding expertise and comment from this effort would be inconsistent with NCTE's mission and could further isolate teachers from a process which might profoundly influence the conditions of teaching and learning" (Open Letter to NCTE Members). You pretend that you don't know what follows this "standards" or goal setting. Such pretense is specious at best, for this Duncan DOE is already accepting bids for the standardized tests.
Did you imagine that all of a sudden, Arne Duncan would throw out the absurd, research-denying multiple-choice "measures" and turn over the assessment to the teachers?
Did you imagine that Mr. Duncan would suddenly reverse his position that teacher jobs be tied to student scores, that he would suddenly trust us?
Did you imagine that what just happened in Central Falls was/is an aberration? (In Central Falls, demographics make the story more complex and real: "According to the NECAP results (New England Common Assessment Program), of the Central Falls High School students who participated in the assessments, 22% were identified with Limited English proficiency with English as their second language compared to 3% for the state. Twenty-three percent had an IEP (individualized education plan designed for students with special needs) compared to the state average of 17% and 85% were classified as economically disadvantaged compared to the state average of 35%.")
Did you imagine that we would forget the research that conclusively shows that poverty is the central problem with our schools? Did you think we wouldn't know that the United States has the highest rate of children in poverty of all industrialized nations in the world?
By sitting at this table, you have colluded with the very people whose motives are diametrically opposed to what education in a democracy must be. You have joined forces with the likes of the Business Roundtable and its cadre of corporations ready to steal fortunes from the pockets of taxpayers.
I said that you have sold us out, but the truth is far worse. For your precious seat at this poisoned table, you have traded the lives of our children, as if they were commodities on a stock exchange.
A former member of NCTE