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What's On Everyone's Mind: Reading

Attended an interesting session this morning on "Reviving Reading in the Post-NCLB World." The discussion included 10 roundtable leaders speaking about: teacher and student agency. Very interesting what's happening in the classroom that runs parallel and counter to tests, tests, and more tests. I can tell you this: Try and try as Arnie Duncan et al might, teachers are working the underground to teach what they want and how they want to teach it. Trust me, the 400 page NCTE program is not devoted to standardized testing and phonemic awareness. The resistance movement is vocal here.

After that session, I had a long talk with the Goodmans (as in Yetta and Ken), Richard Meyer (University of NM, Albuquerque), Bess Altwerger (Townson University, Reading for Profit)—all from the Center for the Expansion of Language and Thinking. (CELT sponsored the above roundtable.) They are doggedly pursuing the idea of a values standard that is not standardized. In other words, restricted teachers do not make better classroom instructors. (Can I get an amen?)

They see no shift in reading policy from the Bush to the Obama administration. I will be speaking with Kent Williamson, NCTE executive director shortly. I will be looking for his response to the LEARN Act, since NCTE has endorsed it. (And a lot of folks aren't happy about this.) I'll be posting about this on Education Week's Curriculum Matters blog.

In the meantime, I ran into Jim Burke. Later this afternoon his English Companion Ning group will be meeting for the first time in person. Hard to know how many ECN'ers are floating around here, but I'll venture it's a lot—kind of like having a blind date with 6,000 people.

—Elizabeth Rich

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