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16 Tons of Corporate School Bashing and No Teacher Protest

Posted: 2008-07-11

Looking back at hopes to bring down NCLB.

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?

Another day older and deeper in debt.

Saint Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go;

I owe my soul to the company store...

"Sixteen Tons" rings in my ears as I think about the misery of the schoolhouse. Like those coal miners in the 1920ies, teachers and children owe their souls to the company store.

I just stumbled across an old e-mail I sent out to a few discussion groups on 11/26/06 at 6:22 a.m. One and a half years later, I guess we at Educators Roundtable are older but I don't know how much more wisdom we'd claim. I, for one, still can't figure out how and why we can't find a million concerned educators to sign a petition to end NCLB. In the six years I've been operating this website in opposition to NCLB, I feel as though I've heard from at least a million complainers. I'm inspired to make these comments today because I saved all these complaints and today they crashed my e-mail. I call on another golden oldie, "Yes, we have no bananas." Destroyed by too damn many righteous complaints.

Actually, I feel rather euphoric. I can no longer scroll back and try to figure out how to deal with this mountain of misery. It has vanished.

But as far as The Petition goes, it looks like we're trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. Even though I am very moved by the comments of thousands of Petition signers, I have to admit that so far we have come up 968,036 short.

I've tried a lot of projects to stir up a revolution against NCLB: The CD of 15 songs, No Child Left Behind: Bring Back the Joy, T-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers. Not to mention flying off to aid and abet various protest groups. This weekend I hope to stir up a few people in my old union, the AFT. This is not self-promotion here. People call me when they have to money for the speaker.

My latest venture was to write what FairTest describes as a "delightful pointillist polemic" and published it locally so it would be cheap. I figured if we could bring it in for under $10, including postage, the world would beat a path to our door. The contrast is stark: I have in my hand a new book from the official education press that goes for $42.00 and is totally lacking in both righteous indignation and humor.

I was glad that the FairTest reviewer found the humor in my book. Exposure of corporate and politico malfeasance AND humor. What more does the reader want?

Here's the announcement for the Educators Roundtable launch. I admit that by now, I find it poignant and even quaint. We were so hopeful that we could start a movement.

I'm gong to announce the launch of Educators Roundtable at the NCTE convention.

*Educators Roundtable: Ending NCLB*

We are a group of educators working together, despite geographic and

ideological distances, to challenge NCLB on two fronts:

1) in the media

2) at the political policy level

Goal 1: Raise money for a full page ad in the Sunday NY Times. We need 17,000 educators/concerned citizens to cough up $10.40

Goal 2: 1,000,000 signatures on a petition, to be printed and hand-delivered to a member of Congress committed to ending NCLB.

As Elizabeth Holtzman has pointed out, there was no interest in impeaching Nixon after Watergate. We need to join together and force our Congressional representatives into action. My personal feeling now is forget trying to persuade them: mobilize enough people to scare them.

*Educators Roundtable: Ending NCLB*

I feel such contempt for their editorial support of NCLB that I no longer support running any ads in the New York Times. What I want to do is to be able to take the list of one million signers of the Petition to end NCLB and lay it on the desks of corporate politicos.

As far as education goes, children and teachers are in great danger no matter which of the corporate parties is voted into office.

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