Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Reading, writing, and rebellion

Another article about Kozol's (hopefully lonely) crusade against NCLB.  It's so pathetic and ironic to see such passion and caring for low-income, minority kids be spent trying to kill the most important legislation that helps these kids!

No Child Left Behind, Kozol believes, has plunged urban education back to  the dark ages before desegregation. Under the law, schools whose test scores don't improve each year could eventually be shut down, a specter hanging over a disproportionate number of city schools that educate mostly poor, minority children.
"We have apartheid schools, and MCAS has unwittingly introduced an  apartheid curriculum," said Kozol during an interview, likening inner-city classrooms to test prep factories. "I'm determined to mobilize teachers and  parents to fight this bill aggressively and bombard Senator Kennedy with a very clear message: If he fails to introduce dramatic revisions to No Child Left Behind, it will be devastating to the enormous faith we've had in him all these years."
Kennedy, chairman of the Education Committee, said in a statement yesterday that he hopes to introduce the reauthorization bill to his panel later this month or in early October after he reviews the ideas and recommendations of  parents, students, and educators, including Kozol.
"No Child Left Behind advanced the commitment first made during the Great Society, the promise that every child counts, regardless of race, background, or disability," Kennedy said. "We must renew our commitment to its noble purposes, but also make the common-sense changes needed to ensure that it works better for our students and our schools."
Kozol said he has considered Kennedy a friend for more than 40 years. As a young senator, Kennedy defended Kozol after he was fired from the Boston Public Schools in 1965 for "curriculum deviation" for teaching a Langston Hughes poem to his fourth-grade class. Kozol chronicled his harrowing year teaching under deplorable conditions in a mostly black Dorchester elementary school in his first book, "Death At An Early Age."
But, according to Kozol, the senator has thrown up a "cold, stone wall" to his repeated attempts to meet with him this summer about No Child Left Behind.  Before the Senate recessed in July, Kozol said, Kennedy's staff offered to squeeze him in for a few minutes.
"At that point, I just threw up my hands, because there's no way of presenting a thoughtful argument in five to seven minutes," Kozol said.
During his lecture at Harvard this week, Kozol likened No Child Left Behind to a "shaming ritual" in which the federal government holds up "impossible  demands without money to pay for it." Against this backdrop, it's no wonder that half of urban teachers quit within their first three years, he said.
"Wonderful teachers should never let themselves be drill sergeants for the state," he said, peering at the crowd through gold wire-rimmed glasses. "I don't want them to quit. I want them to stay. But I want them to stay and not  lose their souls."


Reading, writing, and rebellion

Activist Jonathan Kozol spoke out against the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act
By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff  |  September 21, 2007


CAMBRIDGE - Jonathan Kozol appeared shrunken in his chair at Harvard's Memorial Church, his blazer tossed aside, the sleeves of his pinstriped shirt rolled up to the elbows to expose bony arms. His thin ankles, swathed in black socks, disappeared into his signature navy blue Keds.

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