Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

[Susan notes: NOTE: The Business Roundtable also supports the Achievement Alliance.

Nancy Rader brings up an issue that few mention, the neglect of the social service safety net.]

Submitted to To state legislators but not published

To the editor

Subject: NCLB

The purpose of this email is to provide further evidence of the misguided

efforts ot NCLB and its complete lack of understanding of what children

need. The focus this time is on counseling, a term which is widely used

without much understanding of what it means. It is implied that

counseling can do more than it has in the past to help children in

school. Having been trained as a counselor before I was trained as a

school psychologist, I have been concerned to track down just how anyone

arrived at this conclusion.

There is an organization called The Achievement Alliance, which appears

to be one of the artificial organizations formed by the corporate world

to give the impression of "grass roots" support--- in this case, for


One component of the Achievement Alliance is The Educational Trust, which

advocates something called "transforming school counselor preparation

programs".They list UMass among the schools providing such [dubious]

training, which proposes to develop skills in advocacy, leadership (sic)

, teaming (?), collaboration, counseling, consultation, and use of data.

(You can find the details on the web. )

In my opinion, legislators need to be aware that this is a complete

crock, and the money spent on it benefits only its promoters, not our

kids. What is needed is more people skilled in understanding child

psychology and how children learn, not more people prepared to do

"teaming" and "'leadership", etc. The great majority of our school

counselors already have all they can do just to keep up with the daily

first aid requests that come through the door, plus doing as much

colllege / vocational counseling as possible. In contrast, the program

being promoted is a mile wide and an inch deep, just the opposite of

what is needed. Anything worthwhile in the proposed program is already

being taught by any program worth its salt.

I was fortunate in that my basic counseling course was taught by Bill

Perry, then head of the Bureau of Study Counsel at Harvard. We were

taught the non-directive technique of Carl Rogers, which empowers the

client --- the opposite of this new unfortunate emphasis on leadership. I

suspect that Perry would be just as disheartened by this current trend as

I am. To anyone well trained in the field, it is clear that this program

is just another Bush charade , meaningless if not dangerously

destructive, which impresses only those who are conditioned to admire

corporate buzz words. Once more, we are fixing problems which dont need

to be fixed, ignoring the real problems, and as usual, the promoters

have not a clue what they are talking about.

To repeat, I dont see how legislators can understand what is wrong with

NCLB and its underlying philosophy unless they are familiar with this

kind of detail. Otherwise it is no wonder that they are snowed by glossy

PR efforts .

In particular, as a Massachusetts taxpayer, I am chagrined that my tax

dollare are being misused to support this program at UMass. I hope you

will do everything possible to stop this and see that funds are directed

to more urgent priorities, such as improved teacher training and

restoring the tattered social service safety net.

Nancy Rader

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.