To the Editor:
H.G. Wells was right. Human history really is “a race between education and catastrophe.” Right now, catastrophe appears to have a significant lead, and there’s little evidence that the gap is closing.
For the last half-dozen years, I’ve been on contract with Knight-Ridder/Tribune, writing newspaper columns on education for Florida’s Orlando Sentinel. Countless hours spent visiting schools, talking to school board members, administrators, teachers, students, and parents in central Florida, across America, and abroad, tell me that current reform policies seriously misdiagnose what ails our schools.
Readers who may share the conventional wisdom that poor student performance is primarily attributable to “low expectations,” that educator opposition to the federal No Child Left Behind Act stems primarily from resistance to accountability or from union protectiveness, and that “raising the bar” will revitalize the institution, should be interested in the views of the members of the just-organized Educator Roundtable.
This group of working educators, watching special interests lay the groundwork for attempts to nationalize the curriculum, anticipating the reauthorization debate in Congress, and hoping to raise the level of sophistication of dialogue about education in general and the No Child Left Behind law in particular, has created a Web site (www.educatorroundtable.org). On it, the group lists 16 reasons for opposing reauthorization, and asks for signatures on a petition it intends to submit to Congress. Posted during the Thanksgiving holiday, the petition drew more than 12,000 signatures in its first week, and the number continues to grow.
Your readers would be well served by more comment addressing the issues raised by those actually in the profession. Without their support, no education policy can succeed.
A version of this article appeared in the January 10, 2007 edition of Education Week as Educators’ Group Voices Opposition to NCLB Law