Jonathan Kozol was interviewed this week for an EdWeek blog:
The testing agenda that [Secretary of Education Arne] Duncan is perpetuating is segregative and divisive… In inner-city schools, where principals are working with a sword of threats and punishments above their heads — for fear that they’ll be fired if they cannot “pump the scores” — they inevitably strip down the curriculum to those specific items that are going to be tested, often devoting two-thirds of the year to prepping children for exams. There’s no time for arts or music or even for authentic children’s books like the joyful works that rich kids still enjoy. No time for Pooh and Eeyore and The Hungry Caterpillar. “What help would lovely books like these be on their standardized exams?” Instead, the kids get pit-pat readers keyed to the next miserable tests that they’ll be taking. So culture is starved. Aesthetics are gone. Joy in learning is regarded as a bothersome distraction.
It has certainly been my experience in working with teachers that time to wonder and admire the beauty in ideas is greatly diminished in the era of No Child Left Behind.
I’m glad to see the man is still outraged.