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[Susan notes: ]

Submitted to NCTE Executive Director but not published
07/18/2009

Longtime NCTE member Debbie East, who blogs here, sent this letter to Kent Williamson, Executive Director, NCTE. She will also send the letter to the Executive Council... as well as to IRA's leadership. Debbie urges everyone to join the cause. So do I.



Dear Mr. Williamson and the Executive Council,



It has come to my attention that NCTE was invited to Mr. Arne Duncan̢۪s meetings about nationalized standards. What has emerged as I̢۪ve searched verification of these facts is that both NCTE and IRA, as the major literacy organizations, asked to

be invited. What is troublesome is the reason for the outrage was due to not being asked initially. This stands in opposition to the stance many NCTE members of this fine organization believe: that nationalized standards tends to relegate teaching and

learning, literacy, and the learner to the status of nothingness.



In effect, the nationalized standards movement does something that all associated with educational organizations should be adamantly opposed to. Mr. Duncan̢۪s stance dismisses all education organizations that support teachers and learners as irrelevant. The organizations become irrelevant and without power the moment teachers and learners are forced to follow one definition of what and who is considered successful in school settings.



As a long time member, teacher, teacher educator, and teacher-researcher I am both ashamed and appalled at this moment to be part of an organization whose paid and volunteer leadership cannot stand up to those who undermine both the profession and the people this democratic nation̢۪s constitution demands public schools to serve.



It is my fervent prayer that if anything goes awry in the discussion that you and the Executive Council have the strength to loudly withdraw from that fray. It is my fervent prayer that you and the Executive Council demand and ardently, tirelessly, and vocally work towards those goals.



I will be publishing my letter on my blog, to all organizations and listservs in which I participate, and to the Executive Committee of this organization.



An outraged and disappointed NCTE member since 1998.

Debbie East


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