Kinda of makes you want to create a sort of "Amnesty International"
educators denied freedom of professional expression.
From: email@example.com [mailto:xmca-
On Behalf Of Peter Smagorinsky
Sent: Monday, October 12, 2009 5:41 AM
To: 'langandlit'; 'lego'; 'ELAN7408-Fall09'; 'Hillocks'; 'eXtended
Subject: [xmca] FW: AWADmail Issue 380
More administrative wisdom: The following is from the wordsmith.org
a day" weekly letters-to-the-editor feature. More reason to bang your
against the wall this week.
From: James Eng (jameseng hotmail.com)
Not frustration with you! Rather, frustration with the powers-that-be
at the middle school where I work. For over a year, I've shared my
A.Word.A.Day with my students and I have had much positive feedback
regarding the words, the clever and creative weekly themes, and the
downright interesting, thought-provoking word choices. But a single
has complained and now I find myself in a morass of having to justify
do in the class, provide documentation that shows there is, indeed,
what we do in class, to ultimately prove that our attempts to
language via ANY vocabulary program will always be imperfect
evolution of communication is ongoing and, in the end, best
rather than caged. Sigh. It seems that there's no incentive to think
boundaries or to innovate. It appears that people want something
quick, and cut and dried. Well, whatever may be, I will continue to
anticipate the words with eagerness. I guess I must accept that at
views are "antipodal" to those of others.
Ironically, the parent's complaint is based on the argument that the
are not usable for the kids, that they're not grade appropriate,
know is something similar that you all at Wordsmith.org have
with. Also, that the use of the Wordsmith.org material is from a
"not approved", by the district, and that it is not entirely in line
the school curriculum. And the entirely laughable notion that the
be exposed to "inappropriate material"! I thought that the basis of
language arts curriculum is an exploration of language and the
patterns that we notice along the way. Is there anyone in this
100% fluent with any language?
Really, if this is examined closely, this incident is not about
or curriculum or any of the other stated things. Rather, it's about
authority and power. It's about people whose self-esteem and
level are based solely on how high they can make people jump. Sad.
The kids and I discussed "Beau Brummell" the other day and they
visual representations of the word.
Having had a one and a half hour meeting with our school's language
supervisor, a meeting replete with many, many examples of students'
that clearly demonstrates an active interaction with the vocabulary
from Wordsmith.org, I was told that administration in the building,
not approve your vocabulary program". I am flabbergasted at such a
given that administration has no clue as to what my vocabulary
entails, nor have they shown the least bit of interest in finding
past 1+ years that I've been running my program. So, I am writing
advice. I need to know a really terrific word that is synonymous
"manufactured", since it seems that the so-called leaders of the
devoted, lock, stock, and barrel to such an approach. I am stunned
obtuseness has become so prevalent and in my 17 years as an
speechless regarding the state of middle school education in my
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