Sent to the Los Angeles Times, July 17, 2011
In addition to influencing the medical literature (LA Times, July 16), J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter has a great deal to say about current educational policy.
In "Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix" (2007), villain Dolores Umbridge ("You know, I really hate children.") informs Hogwarts students that their course on Defense Against the Dark Arts will be "carefully structured" and all theoretical, with no actual use of the spells. When students complain, Umbridge says " … a theoretical knowledge will be sufficient to get you through your examinations, which after all, is what school is all about." The next lines say it all:
Umbridge would have strongly approved of the US Department of Education Common Core Standards and National Tests based on the standards.