To the Editor:
I am an avid reader of Education Week, since the days of articles regarding the old Blue Ribbon Schools Program. I write because of your many recent articles presenting the ongoing federal support of ideas that I have found counter to the original intention of the No Child Left Behind Act.
I present here “Hunger Games, American Education Style.”
The Hunger Games of our American public schools are now in full operation: Every school for itself, and let the last public school stand alone. The winner of national standards, assessments, curriculum, teacher/principal evaluations, and hundreds of laws will be the most decorated and celebrated of all the land.
The once-a-year, two-week-long testing torture will bring us the winner. No more chaos of the past, just clear winners!
The schools will have no unions and very few benefits for the staff members that come from the winning schools. The curriculum will be the national standards given to every public school. No local control, with everything being directed from the Capitol.
The public school system as we know it is being replaced by nationalized programming focused on the test. A test that is meant to close down most public schools and stamp out non-national practices and themes.
The nation is instituting a system that starts with the very young (“tributes”) to prepare them for the big testing “games.” The best survive, but the vast majority get menial jobs with much despair. The president and the dominant federal elite make all the rules. Financial gain, power, and maintenance of an elite class are paramount to those in such positions.
As I read the Hunger Games books and watched the movie, the connection to our current policies in public schools seemed unfortunately to fit the script.
David R. Tobergte
Department of Secondary and Special Education
A version of this article appeared in the March 13, 2013 edition of Education Week as When NCLB Meets ‘Hunger Games’