Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I’ve been invited by the Manhattan Institute…

… to attend a conference sponsored by the right wing think tank on the science of reading instruction and No Child Left Behind. I didn’t expect to be invited again after my critical comments at the last luncheon I attended with Chris Cerf and my subsequent columns in The Wave. Sol Stern, a commentator on education who bases his expertise on his experiences navigating the NYC school system for his children, will moderate the panel. I hope he never has to go through a medical procedure with someone with the same level of expertise. Following the conference, I get to eat and listen to Margaret Spellings, the Secretary of the US Department of Education speak about the prospects of the disastrous No Child Left Behind legislation being renewed. I hope they have enough wine to dull the pain.

You can read about Spellings' progressive views at Freedom Socialist • Vol. 26, No.2 • April-May 2005

The education Terminator An excerpt:
The new education secretary's first official act was proudly described by the Christian News Service: “Spellings demanded PBS return money given for an educational program because it became a show that promoted the homosexual lifestyle.”

The dastardly program, Postcards from Buster, is a cartoon about an 8-year-old rabbit who travels around the country with his dad, learning about different children and their various ways of life. One such child has (horrors!) lesbian parents.

Not surprisingly, Spellings is also an advocate of government funding for abstinence-only sex “education” to the exclusion of instruction on safe sex.

Spellings was a key architect of Bush's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), a program that holds schools “accountable” by imposing standardized tests and withdrawing federal funds, or even closing schools, if test scores are not high enough.

The National Association of School Psychologists reports that “being held back in school has now replaced losing a parent as a child's number one fear — and being held back a grade or grades is one of the leading predictors of whether a student will drop out of school.” (See the FS article "The Hypocrisy of No Child Left Behind" )

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