Wednesday, July 19, 2006

NEA's Jonathan Kozol interview

“I’m going to encourage teachers...to speak out politically, to rise up and protest, not only against this testing madness...but also about the perpetual separation of our children so they don’t know each other any longer in America.”
—Jonathan Kozol


Kozol is one of my heroes from college. When I was studying teaching and education "Death at an Early Age" was one of the first books I read on the subject. I've never forgotten it.

In this interview, Kozol talks about Teacher Power. Teachers need to start speaking out and flexing their muscles on behalf of curriculum and innovation for everyone's sake.

February 2006, Teacher Power, Jonathan Kozol wants to team up with NEA in a new movement to banish ‘apartheid schooling.’
Increasingly, it’s up to NEA and other advocates for the teaching profession, like Kozol, to defend the conditions and job security that make it possible for good teachers to work their magic, and also stave off an onslaught of misguided federal dictates. Dictates like the high-stakes testing craze, which Kozol believes is “not to benefit children but to humiliate the public enterprise in order to set the stage for the voucher program.”

“[The bureaucrats] are so accustomed to making decisions for us, about us, without us, in spite of us, and think that we should follow those dictates and mandates without having anything to say,” NEA President Reg Weaver said to Kozol during a recent meeting in Washington, D.C.

“They don’t give us credit for having the professionalism, the knowledge, the care we must have in our classrooms today for kids.”

“What a way to welcome a teacher to a school system!” said Kozol. “‘Oh, we’re so happy to have you in our school. Here’s a teacher-proof lesson which is so perfect that even you can’t do it wrong.’”

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