Diane\'s Blog

Donna Anuskiewicz

Again you’ve hit the mark. Years and years ago, I served as a parent representative on a district wide strategic planning committee, and test scores were a topic. A principal bragged about the pressure she put on her teachers to bring up scores. As I teacher I told her that if she threatened people’s jobs, their salaries, they’d see that the scores improved; they’d cheat. She didn’t believe me.

The people of whom you write including our President are deluded into believing that a little star dust cures the educational problems that we face. They’re wrong. I retired after teaching English for forty years, and I found that I was most successful when I looked at each new class and tried to discover what might turn them onto learning. To a class with nonreaders, poor writers, I read from Michael Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?; and, when the bell rang, they were arguing about Macus Luttrell’s decision not to shoot the Afghan farmers. I asked another class to write about the day when everything changed. When I called time, many continued writing, and many of their responses brought me to tears. I felt so inadequate; their pain was often so much greater than anything I’d experienced.

Donna Anuskiewicz
Ann Arbor, MI