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Silence Kills: Your Kid Could Be Next

Publication Date: 2009-11-05

This bit is based on "First they came for the communists. . . next the Jews. . .", attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller and referring to the complicity of people who didn't speak up against evil during the Nazi reign of terror. Pastor Niemoller also declared that he "would rather burn his church to the ground, than to preach the Nazi trinity of "race, blood, and soil."

This updated version reminds us of the effect of apathy and complicity today, as the high-stakes testing juggernaut proceeds. We need voices speaking out against the Standardisto trinity of standardization, competition, and dehumanization.

First they denied high school diplomas to kids who are poor and go to ill-equipped schools staffed with substitute teachers; I didn't speak up because my child goes to a beautiful school.

Then they denied high school diplomas to kids for whom English is a second language; I didn't speak up because my child is a 16th generation American.

Then they denied high school diplomas to kids with learning disabilities; I didn't speak up because my child doesn't have learning disabilities.

Then they denied high school diplomas to kids who do well in all their classes but have trouble writing on an inane topic under pressure; I didn't speak up because my child loves to write.

Then they denied high school diplomas to kids who did well in all their classes but freeze up on tests; I didn't speak up because my child knows that tests are a part of life.

Now I'm told my child won't get a high school diploma because his math score is one point below the cut score.

Is there anyone left to speak up for my child?


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