Arise, Patriots, and Save Our Nation’s Children from the Machine

By dianeravitch

Joanne Yatvin is now retired. She has been a teacher, principal, and superintendent, as well as President of the National Council of Teachers of English. She is a literacy specialist.

Allons Enfants de la Patrie

Arise Children of Our Country

During the last quarter of the 20th century powerful American politicians decided that human learning was a fixed process in which all healthy young people could and should acquire a specific body of knowledge, information, and skills over a fixed period of time. With that belief, the low scores of American students on international tests were a hard pill for politicians to swallow.

They concluded that those scores were the fault of our schools and their teachers, also parents who were shirking their responsibility to demand the best from their children. American students of all social backgrounds were growing up lazy, ignorant, and unprepared to be the competent adult workers, leaders, creators, and patriots they were meant to be.

Although there is no research evidence to confirm such beliefs about American students’ laziness or the ineffectiveness of our schools, public education has operated on those assumptions continually through the actions of Congress, the Department of Education, and state legislatures. Those bodies have also used public humiliation and punishment of students, teachers, school principals, unions and—indirectly—parents to prevent any resistance from gaining ground.

Thus far, all efforts to reverse the current concept of education and create a humane and reasonable foundation for our public schools have failed. Recently, we believed that the new federal law, ESSA, would return authority to states and their communities, but that belief was crushed by the Department of Education with its rejection of any state plans aimed to serve students’ needs and interests rather than raise test scores and improve graduation rates.

From my perspective, as the mother …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core