As Washington state teacher Mr. McNamar, from The Daily Grind, teaches his students about themes in literature, he draws some disturbing connections between the totalitarian society in George Orwell’s 1984 and some school systems.
As my students discussed Orwell's 1984, my mind drifted away from their intriguing recap of plot to what Orwell's themes would look like in a public school system. The first thing to go would be freedom of speech. Teachers, administrators, or curriculum facilitators would no longer be allowed to speak freely about what the Central Office (Big Brother) dictates.
Once all avenues for dissent had been vaporized, the Central Office would then start the Ministry of Truth's Curriculum department to create lesson plans for the Outer Party teachers. These teachers would accept the lesson plans, verbatim, and teach them to the students.
Behind all of this work would be the deterioration of language. The Ministry of Truth would want to limit the teacher's vocabulary to words like: standards, rubrics, best practices, alignment, cross-curricular, assessment, data driven, or scaffold.
Could life be imitating art?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.