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NCLB Outrages

A Letter from a Parent


Dear Education Reporter:

Hoping that you are one reporter who is willing to consider the path of human destruction that NCLB causes, I wonder if you are aware of the damages on the "invisable" student in our average suburban school--my child for instance.

My child has to be at her bus at 6:30 a.m. That means she has to be up by 5:30 a.m. No, that is not a fault of NCLB directly, but it is a like-minded policy of narrow-minded bureaucrats in our school system (in Anne Arundel County, MD) who tend to follow, implicitly, the similar style, business model of top-down, forceful, unempathetic "governing," and decision-making.

But, ...

If she did not go to school to face a relentless hurdle of testing and broad-scoped, rapidly paced, publishing company-controlled, scripted, standardized curriculum in class after "rigorous" class...

If she didn't have to endure the systematic effects of her teachers' professional volition and style and preferences neutured, destroyed by scripts, and pacing guides, and a testing schedule that anchors and monopolizes the entire curriculum...

If she didn't return home in the afternoon to "homework," and stacks of ID sheets to fill out, relentlessly, and worksheets, preparations for the tests, and tests, and tests she takes, in order to keep up with the county's total dedication to their plan to comply and over-comply with NCLB policy, and a brutal test regimen to support it...

If she wasn't forced into AP classes, another scripted, standardized curriculum, completely and solely dedicated to a singular high-stakes, shallow-based test at 14 years old...and that replaces "enrichment"....

If she didn't have the determination inside of her to do so well...if she didn't think she should have what it takes to accomplish her goal to master whatever her school offered her...if she were not so bright that she could not see or tolerate the insanity of having her teacher's enthusiasm squashed by canned curriculum, courtesy of a publishing company...

If she didn't have to stay up until 1, sometimes 2, or 3 in the morning in order to finish the endless studying, memorizing really, craming, that she has to do to keep up with the endless testing...

If she wasn't forced into county developed, horribly mastered, unreasonably paced, and brutally burdensome Math and Science and English and Social Studies and Language classes, AND have her elective classes set to the same regulated tests and homework and pacing guide-orientation (even Band and Art are required to give a "final exam"...

If she wasn't so emotionally brutalized by the horror of what her school day entails, and if she decided to give up on her desires to have friendships, and pursue activities like community theater and art classes and dance, and if she wasn't interested in having a few hours to read the paper, talk to her family, have a family dinner and opportunity to share lives and opinions...time to relax and be 14 years old...

Maybe she wouldn't mind the ungodly hour she has to begin her day so much. Maybe she wouldn't feel so abused and overwhelmed. Maybe she wouldn't terrorize her own soul so much at 14 with questions about whether she will have the competitive credentials to get into a good college, or whether her grades will prepare her for the heralded "global economy"...

What do you think? My 14 year old child has the weight of this misguided act crushing and brutalizing her precious little life. Is it worth all her pain to line the pockets of business and industry with more tear-drenched money earned by association and greed with the opportunities created for them by this act?

The press is going to continue to try to ignore much of the movement against the re-authorization of NCLB, no doubt. Why not ignore it? It is a big, enticing boon for businesses of all kinds. Look at the Post and Kaplan Enterprises, certainly they are not going to have their reporters cover dissent for an act that brings them millions of dollars of revenue. Who are the press if they are not business reps for their own newspaper businesses...

But, individuals who step outside their political, or business, or professional "loyalties", who are willing to risk and introduce and sustain a principle because they feel it in their ethical and moral gut, they know it is right or honorable...who take a stand, or help facilitate those who take a stand...they are the people who I long to reach.

Please include my child in your thoughts about NCLB and in the manner in which you approach the movement against it's reuthorization.

People who care very deeply about the experiences of teachers, teaching, students, learning, our public system of education, need to find others who also care and come together. It is about every child, and every teacher. We have to stop this horror. I have to convince my child, and the thousands and thousands of other suffering children, and their teachers, that we are trying to make things better for them.

Please help.

Anne E. Levin Garrison

— Anne E. Levin Garrison
none
2006-12-06


INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES


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