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What has happened to our profession?

Publication Date: 2015-04-13

Greeley, Colorado public school teacher Don Perl wrote this poem in 2001--after refusing to give the oppressive state test. After moving to a university position, Perl has continued his activism with the Coalition for Better Education. Among other activities, every year this group puts up billboards urging parents to opt out of the tests.


We've seen the passage of a generation
in which open minds have passed from fashion,
and the items on our job description have drastically changed their
political position.


What happened to shared thoughts and imparting wisdom?
Now we teach to tests, dull children̢۪s minds
and have become a collective administrative technician.


What has happened to our profession?
It's been on trial at some secret adjudication
and been abandoned without adequate representation.
It's been attacked and maligned at every legislative session.
Some say there's already been a secret, subversive elimination.


What has happened to our profession?
When will we join together, stand and say
that politicians don't know the way?
Democratic schools are not to be factories of production.
True education serves a nobler function.
The insidious results of categorization
will starkly come to light in the devastation and desolation of the minds and spirits of the coming generation.

We'll wonder what happened to the ancient Socratic concept of cooperation.
We'll see our society ever more in isolation.
Oh, those bleak visions are replete with trepidation.
And then, too late, we'll ask again,

What has happened to our profession?

Now, before we witness further deterioration,
we must give our colleagues some supportive representation.
We must ward off this horrific political invasion,
and allow hearts and open minds to return to fashion.

We must nurture the concept of cooperation,
and dignify the ideal of true education.
We must say no to standardization,
assembly line production,
and cowardly administration.


We must revive the dignity of our profession.


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