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NCLB Outrages

NCTE Refuses to Answer

Do we allow the professional association to whom we pay dues, refuse to respond to our concerns?

by Stephen Krashen

So far there has been no response from NCTE in any form since the postings on the website of the Washington Post. The bottom line remains:
NCTE has approved of a plan that calls for

(1) Explicit, systematic teaching of literacy as the only path.

(2) Promises a huge amount of testing of all kinds.

(3) Pays little attention to access to reading material.

We are told that the document is the result of compromise, that NCTE was able to have "some influence" (Debra Goodman mentioned that this influence included " ⦠writing, considering life long literacy, considering literacy beyond schools, and so on.") But the major problems with LEARN remain.

Combined with Duncan's plans for standards to be followed by national tests, it is possible and in fact likely that we are looking at a scope and sequence, skill-based universal curriculum, complete with annual testing, as well as testing done continuously throughout the year, in the name of formative testing. I fear we are looking at far more testing and more rigid, skill-based teaching than ever dreamed of with NCLB, all approved of by the NCTE.

As Ken Goodman has stated, NCTE has ignored the wisdom of its members: "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" (posted on Washington Post website; full Goodman statement below).

I hope NCTE takes Ken Goodman's advice and uses the expertise of its members to find its way back. A possibility is to pull back NCTE support of the LEARN Act pending a serious study of LEARN by a review committee composed of its most distinguished and respected members who combine extensive real-world experience and deep and thorough knowledge of the research.

We are discussing the future of education in the United States, with implications world-wide, as well as the future of NCTE.


Here are Ken Goodman's comments, posted on the Washington Post website:

by Ken Goodman

⦠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, with Stephen Krashen comment
Washington Post Answer Sheet
2009-11-26
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/reading/-yesterday-i-wrote-about.html


INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES


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