Beyond the obvious—that they are all joined by the field of education—what links the National Reading Panel (NRP) and No Child Left Behind, the edureform documentary propagandaWaiting for “Superman,” Teach For America, and edusavior Steve Perry?
While I count myself among English language arts (ELA) teachers who are skeptical of the Great Books mindset—that we have essential books all children must read—I am moved today to endorse how many of those works remind we puny humans about the folly of pride. Not the “I am proud of you daughter/son” pride, but the arrogance pride.
The “‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;/ Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!'”kind of pride.
What on earth possessed politicians to form the NRP to find out what we know about teaching children to read? Did anyone point out that we have had a vibrant field of literacy in the U.S. for a good century? Isn’t it sort of obvious that we have dozens upon dozens of people across the U.S. who know exactly how to teach children to read (and have known for decades)?
But it isn’t just the teaching of reading.
Naive experts, often journalists, every week roll out yet another book in which she or he researches a field in which real experts in that field have been doing authentic work for decades—the history of teaching!, how to teach poor children!, the glory of 10,000 hours of practice!
Paternalistic, self-important, blowhard politicians daily puff up in front of the pubic to be that “Superman” at the center of the great lie documentary noted above that ironically serves as a perfect representation of everything that is wrong with education reform.
But one need not go back to that complete failure of film making. Try within the last week.
Educators and activists Andre Perry and Jose Vilson (see also) have assumed the mantle of speaking truth to the cult of personality that is Steve Perry.