Opinion
Federal Letter to the Editor

Reader Observes Ironies in Nancie Atwell’s Award

May 05, 2015 1 min read

To the Editor:

In her writing, Nancie Atwell begins from the belief that a classroom teacher is a professional, not a technician or an assembly-line worker. So her comments about the current state of teaching are no doubt sincere and not at all surprising (“Honored Educator Decries Current Climate for Teaching,” April 1, 2015).

She’s a truth teller.

It is certainly ironic to see her standing with her award, the Global Teacher Prize, next to former President Bill Clinton, who helped lead us down the slippery slope Ms. Atwell’s critique decries.

Of course, Mr. Clinton’s contribution to the reactionary standards-and-high-stakes-testing-and-punishment paradigm is minor compared to all the lies about the so-called “Texas Miracle” promulgated by former President George W. Bush, and accepted by Rep. George Miller and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in authoring the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. What a strange moment in educational history: A global award for teaching goes to a teacher who, I would argue, opposes pretty much everything Mr. Clinton, former Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, Mr. Bush, President Barak Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Bill Gates have supported and enacted during the past 25 years—and Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gates are part of the award’s judging.

Did any of the judges actually read any of what Ms. Atwell has written? Perhaps the same group of folks will give the Ellwood Cubberley Award to Mr. Duncan when he’s done enforcing all the policies and programs that Ms. Atwell disdains.

David Marshak

Bellingham, Wash.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 06, 2015 edition of Education Week as Reader Observes Ironies In Nancie Atwell’s Award

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