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NCLB Outrages

Should the National Council of Teachers of English win its own Doublespeak award? Another view

NOTE: Ken Goodman's must read message is in response to the question posted on Valerie Strauss's Answer Sheet Should the National Council of Teachers of English win its own Doublespeak award?.

by Ken Goodman

Thanks for raising the issue. NCTE and other organizations are so anxious for "a seat at the table" that they have allowed themselves to be coopted in the continuing effort to reduce literacy education to phonics and limit the ability of teachers to act as professionals.

Unfortunately NCTE has also recently discontinued its long term practice of having commissions of experts in each curricular area. With the Reading Commission discontinued NCTE was represented at the table by its legislative lobbyist and its executive director nether of whom know the reading field or the history of the campaign to use literacy education to attack public education.

Just before NCTE's just concluded convention in Philadelphia, members got urgent communications from the executive director telling them to contact their congress person to support a bill which almost all of us who are involved in reading had not even seen. When we looked at the bill we could only react in dismay. It's small wonder that the issue dominated the convention and there was angry condemnation among the active members most concerned with reading.

NCTE has departed from a long and honorable history of leading the way in language and literacy education. It needs to use the expertise of its members to find its way back. Otherwise it will simply be irrelevant in the dismantling of public education in the name of a manufactured crisis in literacy education.

— Ken Goodman
Washington Post Answer Sheet


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