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

Thursday, September 22, 2011

IRA's Richard Long defends the LEARN Act: Susan Ohanian responds

The politicos in Washington D. C, the folks who already make a colossal mess of reading instruction with Reading First, are at it again--spelling out all these details about how reading should be taught. Sadly, lobbyist Rich Long's current support of the LEARN Act is just the latest iteration of our professional organizations trying to curry favor with members of Congress. The truth of the matter is that the LEARN act will produce lots of professional development monies and our professional organizations--IRA and NCTE--will never bite the politico hand that feeds them.

We should demand that our professional organizations explain why political overreaching weighs far heavier in their decision-making than research, teacher experience, and children's needs--the things that add up to professional integrity.

It comes as no surprise that this current support of the LEARN act sounds very much like IRA lobbyist Rich Long's appeal to IRA members some years back to write members of Congress in support of Reading First. I once heard Long say, "We never tell Senator Kennedy or Representative George Miller [at the time, chairs, respectively, of the Senate and House education committees] anything they don't want to hear." I thought I must have misunderstood so I e-mailed him. He e-mailed back confirmation of the statement.

Lobbyists call this "keeping a seat at the table." It is a table where all the silverware is aligned--neat and tidy-- but children are left with empty bowls. And our professional dues are keeping these children starved of what they need.

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