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NCLB Outrages

Try Changing an Unjust Law. . . By Breaking It

The only way to change an unjust law or rule is to break it.

Of course there can be a price to pay, and it can be done too naively.

Unjust regulations for testing of special ed and non-English-speaking students are a beauty of an example of the need for change.

And how can any standardized test improve the learning of any student taking the test?

In this broader question is a clue to the need for breaking all anti-democratic laws giving control of education to bureaucrats.

My first experience at changing things by openly breaking the law was in 1944, and I learned the wrong thing from the experience.

I was on a mine sweeper with 100 men and 10 officers when it docked in Seattle. The skipper went ashore and, as a young officer wet behind the ears, I was second in command.

Two gold-braided senior officers came aboard and said they were to sign up every officer and crew member for liberty bond deductions. I rejoined it could not be done, that we had a drafted seaman second class with a base pay of $80 a month and a wife with two kids at home.

"It can and will be done because the commandant of the district ordered it," they said. So I ordered them off the ship.

The next day, the admiral, who was district commandant, told me in anger that I would be court-martialed for insubordination.

The following day, the two senior officers reappeared, and I said, "Oh, no. Are we going through this again?"

"We are here only to give information," they said. That's all they did, and we sailed out of Seattle without a court-martial and without the seaman second class having a bond deduction.

But all I had learned was that I should have been more tactful and found a better way to handle things.

Sixty years later, a young lawyer told me, "The only way to change a law is to break it."

I recalled the Seattle incident, realized I had changed a regulation for the district, and I started to think about how to do it today to protect public schools and their students.

Today, special ed students with individual education programs, autistic, dyslexic and otherwise handicapped children, are humiliated by being forced to sit for standardized tests as if they were not handicapped.

So are students who are English language learners.

A letter from the Arizona Department of Education, apparently to every parent of a TUSD student, opens with this paragraph:

"The purpose of this letter is to inform you that Tucson Unified School District has been identified for District Improvement. The reason for this identification is that under the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), your district/charter holder did not meet 'adequate yearly progress' (AYP) for two consecutive years."

— Herbert Heaton
Tucson Citizen


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