One Faith, One Cornbread, and One Reading Method
Other than publishing an occasional op ed, the Vermont media have remained indifferent to the ways the federally-imposed curriculum guidelines imposed on schools applying for NCLB Reading First grants distort very basic Vermont values. When VSSE held a press conference in Montpelier to launch the publication of A Roadblock in VermontĂ˘€™s Design for Education, a small book exposing the highjacking of tenets about education reached through discussion in communities throughout Vermont, not one member of the media showed up.
In marching to the corporate-politicos' tune blaring out of Washington, D. C., the Vermont Department of Education has strayed far from the principles of The Vermont Design for Education, a statement of belief about how children learn issued by their predecessors at the Department of Education in 1968. You can no longer fimd The Design on the DOE website, but VSSE displays it proudly. We believe in its principles and pledge our commitment to spreading word about these principles.
Counting student art work, the Vermont Design was 25 pages long and covered all curriculum. The Vermont Department of Education application for an NCLB Reading First grant, covering just the federally-imposed rules for K-3 reading, contains no student artwork and is 196 pages long.
In 1968, the Vermont Department of Education wrote, Ă˘€śEducation in Vermont, if it is to move forward, must have a goal toward which to move, a basic philosophy which combines the best which is known about learning, children, development, and human relations with the unique and general needs and desires of Vermont communities.Ă˘€ť
As soon as word got out about the remarkable document, 30,000 out-of-staters applied to teach in Vermont.
In his 1971 letter accompanying the fifth edition of The Vermont Design, Education Commissioner Joseph H. Oakey emphasized that:
In 2003, the U. S. Department of Education Expert Review Team Report explained why VermontĂ˘€™s first application for a Reading First grant was not accepted:
The Federal government allows a choice of 38 Available Emblems of Belief for Placement on Government Headstones and Markers, including ones for Atheism, humanism, and, after an 18-month battle, Wiccan.
But when it comes to reading instruction, the Feds follow the precept of the line memorialized in a Wendell Berry poem, Ă˘€śMeditation in the Spring Rain." While walking through the fields during a rainfall, listening to the water, Berry remembers the story of crazy old Mrs. Gaines, who wandered the town singing a hymn she had created entitled Ă˘€śOne Lord, one Faith, and one Cornbread.Ă˘€ť
Our corporate-politicos in Washington will allow 38 faiths but only one belief about reading.
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