Promoting "mischievous irreverence" in teachers

Author of “Letters to a Young Teacher” Jonathan Kozol stressed that new teachers need structured support of veteran teachers within their own profession — not mass in-service.

Kozol drew applause from the more than 1,000 attending the New Teacher Center Sympoium when he criticized the “obsessive testing” required by No Child Left Behind. He said teachers need “mischievous irreverence” and “moral and ethical bravado” to be the kind of teacher who goes beyond — or around — just teaching test prep and include the “beauty and poetry” of teaching.

His efforts to have NCLB eliminated led him to fast several months until Sen. Ted Kennedy, chair of the Senate Education Committee, finally agreed to meet with him.

He added humor by talking about the language promoted by educational standards. Not “skill” but “proficiency.” Not “start” but “initiate.” Not “copy” but “replicate.”

Our NTC registration packet included a copy of Kozol’s book. Teachers lined up after his speech for him to autograph their books.

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