"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, July 21, 2006

Jimmy Kilpatrick, Reading "Expert," Goes Katyusha

(Photo from Jimmy Kilpatrick's consulting Page, Ideal Lives). Day before yesterday a colleague sent me a note that this post from March had somehow made Jimmy Kilpatrick’s Newsletter:
Just Saying No
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Did you know that schools can't require your students to drink the Kool-Aid? In fact, if parents, teachers, and students across the country did what hundreds of thousands of brave Latino students did this week in temporarily escaping their chain gang schools for a breath of free air, NCLB's bubble would pop, too.
I clicked over and, sure enough, there it was—but without my name or the blog name. I thought I would ask EducationNews.org to add the blog name, so I clicked on the Contact Info, got Jimmy’s number, and rang him up. He answered, I told him why I was calling, and he began to ask me questions about buying ads for SM. I told him that we were planning soon to move over to our own domain under the org. banner, where we would have more space and better organization to fight the ongoing battle against the Huns, the Borg, etc. Ha, ha.

Little did I know that Kilpatrick was one of “them,” but it soon became apparent as our fast-moving repartee shifted from issue to issue, showing that we had much more out of common than in. The more we talked, the more it became apparent that Kilpatrick was unaccustomed to discussing issues with people who do not agree with him. By the time we moved past some odd talk about firing squads and former Texas education commissioners, and got to the subject of reading and literacy, it was obvious that Jimmy wasn’t appreciating my humor. When I said that phonemic awareness has more to do with a lack of authenticity (as in “phony”) than it does “awareness,” he gurgled, "It is because of motherf**kers like you that education is in such a mess."

Then he slammed down the phone, and within a period of minutes, he had scrubbed his Commentary Section of any link to Schools Matter. Oh, well.

How did I know that Kilpatrick was an authority on reading, having been identified by none other than Uncle Rod Paige as “one the most knowledgeable people on reading within the State of Texas?” How did I know he had advised former Texas governor, G. W. Bush on the subject of reading? And what makes it all the more impressive and amazing is that Mr. Kilpatrick accomplished all this without the high-sounding advanced degrees and credentials that one sometimes associates with such expertise. After talking with Jimmy, in fact, I would not be surprised if high-sounding degrees and such might even make Jimmy want to f**king puke? Or something like that that his kind do down there beneath that big rock--in Texas.

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