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[Susan notes: What a fine letter! Sue Allison, director Marylanders Against High Stakes Testing, nails it. She informs the reader and concludes with a great zinger.]

Published in The Education Gadfly
03/22/2007

To the editor



Bullying isn't science



I just read your piece about the "Reading Wars." I think part of the problem rests with the heavy-handed deliberation process that the National Reading Panel undertook to try to end the reading wars in the first place.



Have you ever read Joanne Yatvin's account of her experience on the NRP? It is featured in the book Silent No More--Voices of Courage in American Schools, edited by Gloria Pipkin and ReLeah Cossett. Joanne's chapter is entitled "Science Means What We Say it Means, or, My Adventures in Wonderland." In this chapter, Joanne recounts how she had to fight to have her minority report included in the final NRP report. It was eventually tacked on at the end on unnumbered pages, but it was not part of the summary booklet, nor was it mentioned in the press materials.



In my opinion, if the National Reading Panel's conclusions were so inevitable and incontrovertible, the NRP leaders wouldn't have had to coerce consensus by trying to silence or hide the minority views of Joanne Yatvin. I didn't realize bullying was part of the scientific method.

Sue Allison


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