[Susan notes: A teacher speaks passionately--and knowledgeably--about what he knows. The Trojan Horse image is powerful.]
Submitted to but not published
In a June 8 Time Magazine article, Susan Neuman, former administrator in the U.S. Department of Education, admitted that NCLB was intended as a "Trojan Horse" loaded with requirements public schools could not possibly meet in an effort to "blow up public education." Despite all its failings, this should be a revelation that once and for all exposes NCLB for what it has been, a shameful conduit to privatize public education. I urge you take an active role to end the failed NCLB program of the Bush Administration as a member of the education committee that will decide its fate.
We now know that Reading First, the Bush AdministrationĂ˘€™s shining jewel of NCLB, was bereft with corruption, and did not raise student achievement. It should not take experts trained in the field of reading to realize that a program that actually reduced the amount of time second graders read is destined to fail our children. That is one of the problems of NCLB, however, reading experts are not administering the program. How could reading reform in the U.S. have been turned over to Margaret Spellings, Reid Lyon, and Washington bureaucrats? It is shameful.
You may be aware that our countryĂ˘€™s urban areas are now facing a high school dropout rate of crisis proportions. Across our country we are now sending our first Reading First graduates into our middle schools. These kids have been "explicitly" taught the wrong messages about reading, and many of them will have checked out as failures because they couldn't read fast enough, or couldnĂ˘€™t "read" a list of nonsense words. PISA and PIRLS scores have already alerted us to problems for our adolescents as readers. Unless we change course immediately, we will face unprecedented failure in graduating a new generation of readers. We have to start over immediately.
Enclosed you will find a book written by Susan Ohanian, When Childhood Collides with NCLB. I hope you will take the time to read her expose on the program, and then use your position on the committee to end the program that we now know was designed not to make sure no child was left behind, but to further the political agenda of the privatization forces in Washington.
John E. Delich, upper primary teacher, M.S. Ed, with reading specialty