Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stick 'Em Up

It has been awhile since I made a blog entry from an airport lounge. Up at 3am today to catch a 6 am flight from Milwaukee to Cleveland so I can make a 1pm speaking gig at Ashland College.

Sara and I have spent the last three days in Wisconsin working with teachers at the Walloon literacy Institute. The conference is run by our professional book publisher Heinemann. A professional book is what the teacher instructional guides we write are called in the publishing world – the straight up poetry collections would be known as a trade book.

This is probably our favorite conference, all of the presenters are fellow authors from Heinemann and it really is like a family. Our host and resident bigwig is Harvey “Smokey” Daniels – a real heavyweight in the educational theory arena and also on of the most genuinely nice people one could ever hope to know.

So about 25 or so of us presenters and upwards of 250 teachers converged on Lake Lawn Lodge in the Geneva Lake region of Wisconsin don’t ya know. Here we plotted on ways to actually teach and reach students while still jumping through the hoops that have been set up by the policies which make up No Child Left Behind. For those of you out of the loop on national education policy NCLB has proven to be nothing more than a boondoggle for administration cronies to peddle millions of dollars worth of mandatory educational programs which have recently been proven to be ineffective.

Now, these programs and other foofaw that have been foisted on our schools – mainly our poorer inner city schools (private schools don’t have to follow the NCLB guidelines, and this is a subject that I could veer off and vent about but I’ll spare you for the moment) don’t work because they were never vetted, never tested, were put together not by teachers but by text book corporations whose board members are on the government panel that dictated the policies to be set by NCLB. Sound a bit crazy, sound a bit like conflict of interest sound a bit like the wolf guarding the henhouse? If you agree you’re not alone, the government accounting office said basically the same thing.

So, we have a bunch of this administration’s goons – did I mention Neil Bush, W’s brother, is on the board of one of the biggest companies - perpetrating the injection of these non-working programs into our public schools raking in literally billions and billions of dollars. They’ve been at this for almost eight years now, wringing taxpayer cash from our kid’s schools as if they were bar rags. Now – after it is found out that the programs the schools were told they HAD to use don’t work one would think that the companies who shackled our teachers with these useless conglomerations of standardized tests, software and talking cows (there actually is a talking cow) would be held accountable wouldn’t you?

Hah! Fat Chance! You know what happens? These ratfinks get to pocket all the cash they have made selling non-productive programming to the schools AND because the programs didn’t work congress now cuts funding to the schools by the amount that was spent on the defective programming. As one of the Keynote speakers at Walloon Stephanie Harvey said, the schools still need the money, it wasn’t their fault it they were forced to spend it on stuff that didn’t work, stuff they had no option of refusing – but now they are the ones that suffer while the fat cats walk away counting their wads.

Just another example of how this crew attached to the Whitehouse has emptied the treasury – we’ve been the witness to the best burglary in history and they are getting away with it.

How’s that for an early morning rant?
There may be hope though - tell your legislature to support this document:
It may be a little too sane for our government - but who knows?

1 comment:

lady said...

Without knowing you and Sara, I wouldn't have had a clue about the horror perpetrated by NCLB. My world seldom intersects with the world of children.

Thanks for using your lungs and pen to make people aware.

Politics are o so palpable these daze.