2013-07-26 / Columnists

School Scope

A Sonnet For A Hot Summer Day
By Norm Scott

It’s too hot to write very much. And besides, I forgot all about the column until I got Kevin’s reminder when I woke up. So I thought I’d share this sonnet from Fred Smith of Change the Stakes (CTS), a New York City grassroots based group of parents, teachers and supporters fighting high stakes testing. CTS informs parents and teachers who feel high stakes testing is a form of child (and teacher) abuse about how to go about opting their kids out of some or all the tests.

This coming school year, with common core coming – I prefer “common corn” – the number of tests will increase and more parents are expected to jump into the fray. As for teachers, I hear they will be water-boarded if they ever utter the words “opt-out.” Major Common Corn backer Bill Gates has funded a special chip the DOE has installed under the skin of every teacher which will send an alarm should the banned expression get mentioned.

Oh, for all of you – most of you actually – who never understand what I write, common core is a national curriculum, which has caused both the left and the right to object, one of the few areas of unity left in this nation. I mean when Glenn Beck and I agree on something, things are getting scary. Fred Smith captures the spirit.

How Do They Loathe Us?
How do they loathe us?
Let me count the ways.
They loathe us deepmost
to the very core.
Teachers, parents
they evenly abhor--
Children more so
in their tend’rest days.
They loathe us blind-eyed
with “high standards” rage,
Misusing tests
to give each one a score.
They loathe us thus
and thus turn gold to straw.
They loathe us
in a frenzied death-embrace:
Loathe by every
unfounded decision,
Declaring that we have
no other choices;
Loathe us, turning classrooms
into prisons.
They loathe us darkly
and ignore our voices;
Worship at the shrine
of imprecision,
Foreclose the future,
loathe us and rejoice.

~Fred Smith, Change the Stakes

(with apologies to EBB)

Fred spent his career in the belly of the beast, working as a statistician for the Department of Education. Now he works for the NY Jets and is forced to attend all their home games to keep the stats. Talk about loathing. If you are interested in learning more about CC check out these 67 questions we should be asking: http://susanohanian.org/ core.php?id=530.

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