Broken Promises of Reading Instruction Make Good History Lesson

2 08 2007

Columbia University Teachers College Record
“Reading Against Democracy: The Broken Promises of Reading Instruction” by Patrick Shannon
reviewed by Patricia H. Hinchey — July 2007

Taken as a whole, Shannon’s text does a remarkable job of untangling the complex interplay of forces, allowing the reader to perceive the past not as some incoherent, jagged route to the present but instead as the steady growth of a number of forces consistently pursuing the same set of goals for over a century. . .
No Child Left Behind is not simply George W. Bush’s misguided policy; it is the product of decades of influences pushing in a particular direction—always, always with the guiding hand of business exerting its inexorable influence. . . For Patrick Shannon, the intersections of business, science and government during the last decade or so amount to a “perfect storm,” generating conditions that “keep even the best school in America in continuous triage activities to keep themselves afloat” (p. 165).

That was my whole career in education, folks. Continuous triage activities to keep ourselves afloat —

. . .It is impossible to read the historical material Shannon has compiled and not develop a sense of how intransigent some issues are, or of how long the weather conditions producing today’s perfect storm have been brewing. . .

By Chapter Five, Shannon has reached the 1980s and the gathering winds are becoming increasingly threatening. . . Read the rest of this entry »