Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

NCLB Outrages

A Matter of Principle

Ohanian Comment: Thompson makes a very good point that teachers are only too willing to play the cards they are dealt. We are a culture of people pleasers, and so we make do with what we can. But I disagree that we have a year to sit pondering NCLB II. We need to ACT.


For starters, join the movement to stop national standards.

Then, practice saying, "No."

Stand in front of the mirror every morning and try it: No. No! No!!!

by John Thompson

"I fear the worst for my beautiful curriculum map. Its days are numbered.... I believe I am going to be forced into an unholy three-way marriage with the new 'Core Curriculum.' writes Miss Eyre. "I would buy into a Core Knowledge curriculum so fast it would make your head spin.... [but] I built a curriculum for my classes myself, from scratch, and as a result I know it intimately, believe in it, and can defend every single thing I teach.. Already I have been told that I have to throw out one of my units entirely to make way for a TEST PREP UNIT in April, gag me with a machete." Then came the punch to the gut "if my curriculum map's days are numbered, I suspect that my own days are numbered as well."

If we really want to help kids, teachers must be willing to walk away from the job we love. The problem is that teacher/leaders, to a greater or lesser extent, can't help but buy into the teacher as solitary hero role.

Deep in our culture is the commitment "to play the cards we are dealt." If we are not willing to muddle through for our kids, who will? That explains why so many of us endure the humiliations and the assaults on our professional autonomy. Then in ones and twos and threes, we leave the classroom prematurely.

We have a year or so to get our minds straight for the battle over NCLB II. We must think of how the NCLB debacle would have been different if we had "hung together" and refused orders to replace our curriculum with test prep. In ones and twos and threes, we must risk being "hanged separately" in defense of our educational values. Then we must believe that society will honor our choices.

— John Thompson
Scholastic Administrator online


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.