Colin McEnroe’s commentary piece on Pryor getting national coverage

After reading Colin McEnroe’s recent commentary piece entitled,  Parsing The Unintelligible Stefan Pryor, Diane Ravitch, America’s leading public education advocate, cross posts the piece to her blog asking, “When Did Gibberish Replace Conventional English?

The two are MUST READ pieces.

Diane writes:

Colin McEnroe of NPR in Connecticut has discovered the root problem of corporate reformers: They have lost touch with common sense and the meaning of learning. To cover up their ignorance, they have invented rhetoric that sounds impressive but is no more than unintelligible verbiage.

He starts here, and gets better:

“I don’t know about you, but I remember the moment when, as a boy, I fell in love with learning. It was 1964, in the spring. My fourth-grade teacher, Miss Vick, sat down with me in the late afternoon and gently pried from my hands Hardy Boys book No. 42, “The Secret of the Mummy’s Strategically Dynamic New Paradigms.”

“Colin,” she said. “I know you’re a good boy with a bright mind. But your EAPE scores don’t point to project-based learning across the curriculum. You need to scaffold texts to other texts, and to that end I’m going to start interfacing with your developmental space.”

“Miss Vick,” I stammered, “can you disintermediate that for me in a way that unpacks the convergence in assessment-driven terms?”

We talked for hours as the sun sank toward the horizon. I believe both of us wept. My mind opened like a flower. That night, I chopped my Hardy Boys books into little pieces and fed them to the neighbor’s python. I read Emerson’s “The American Scholar” instead.

Wait. Maybe it didn’t happen that way, because in 1964, American education was not drowning in incomprehensible crap.”

Have we lost the ability to say what we mean and mean what we say?

You can read Colin McEnroe’s piece at:

  • LutherW

    Solving for number 2 in study: It seems about learning discipline evaluation deductions which bloggle the uptake of English with constant meaning regards would roughly clarify the context of the state of state educational progress sensings across the board.

  • Mary Gallucci

    A brilliant “it’s about time” piece in the Hartford Courant.
    Last September, at the State Board of Ed. meeting where they rubber-stamped Steven Adamowski’s transfer to the State Dept. of Ed (so he could siphon off pension dollars from the teachers fund he never paid into), I had prepared a series of questions and bullet-points about the damage Adamowski was doing in Windham, and requesting that the SBE not only not renew him, but investigate with urgency my points. Conveniently, Adamowski was not in the room; and the SBE is not answerable, apparently, to members of the public–certainly not to the parents whose children attend schools in the districts the SBE and Commissioner have taken over. However, just as Adamowski was taking his seat to give his duplicitous report about his “progress” as special master, Allan Taylor, chair of the SBE said, did you hear these issues raised by Dr. G? Adamowski, clearly miffed at having to look at my concerns, said no. So Taylor passed the sheet to him–he managed not to answer anything, merely repeating his nonsense and lots of acronyms. Taylor, who let him off the hook for answering, said, please don’t speak in acronyms, but Adamowski couldn’t stop. It’s such a reflex and it is meant to intimidate and obfuscate.
    Colin McEnroe should try listening to Adamowski on any given day. Adamowski speaks Pryor’s language. I think they have the same secret handshake, too.

  • Mc

    Ah, Mr. Pryor – Welcome to the green mile! Now you get to walk down the same path that you blazed for so many of Connecticut’s talented educators. Enjoy the national spot light, you have earned it. The damage you have caused to CT is criminal.

  • mookalaboona

    I always liked Colin McEnroe when he was on WTIC. He exposed Pryor for the shyster he is.

  • George

    I learned early in my career as a teacher that anyone who spews the jargon and acronyms is automatically suspect and almost certainly full of shit – and that includes teachers.

    • Linda174

      Not all of us…we relate to children and their parents daily without the edubabble.

      • Jim Spellman

        Linda 174 ( Sounds like the last model # of a low selling Android line ! ), George is obvious ally to Education. Individuals as you drive more away than you enlist or maintain – lighten up.
        You are correct , George, those CEA, AFT, PBIS loving people can be full of shit ! (Intentional use of acronyms to make a point ) In a dead language, George… Semper Fi ! Do not let these PC junkies silence you.

        • JMC

          Linda 174 is a class act, Jim. You are unreasonably harsh to someone who was not being unreasonable. Read your own post. You’re over the line.

  • Jim Spellman

    When Colin McEnroe climbs on the Band Wagon, one knows it is a cause that is going to win – Boyo never speaks up until the cards are on the table. You, Pelto, have been there and been vocal when it was a risk. Utmost respect to you.

  • jrp1900

    Any profession has its technical language, an argot known to insiders. Doctors, lawyers, engineers and professional tennis players all have a way of talking to each other that relates to the complexities of their craft. But while the language of a profession may be particular and exclusive, the concepts and themes captured in that language might be readily comprehensible to just about anybody, if the effort is made to “translate” the technical words into ordinary discourse. Few people will know what the doctor means when she offers the treatment of nephrolithotomy, but everyone understands the idea of surgery to remove kidney stones. Of course, there are realms where technical language can hardly be reduced to ordinary terminology. But these are surely few and far between.
    One thing for certain, education is NOT a field with an irreducible technical language. Because we are dealing with daily relations between people, there is nothing in education that necessitates a language impossible to translate, and very difficult for outsiders to follow. So, what, then, is Stefan Pryor up to? Why does he feel it is necessary to talk like a badly programmed machine?
    Commissioner Pryor is not an educator, and this fact has bearing on his language. Teachers see schools from the inside: they are in the classroom and they have to negotiate relationships with a wide range of students. But a corporate reformer like Pryor sees schools from the outside. From his perspective, what comes into view is the “school structure” and not the individual persons who make the school a community. It’s a short step from here to seeing the school as a kind of machine, with cogs and wheels and various other mechanisms that ensure smooth functioning. This is why reformers are so enamored of “data management”: data are products, and you judge if the school machine is working efficiently by the simple measure of how it spews out and deals with data. The art of teaching is precisely in the relationships forged in the classroom. But these relationships clearly don’t matter to someone like Pryor, as they cannot be quantified for “data analysis.” In short, Pryor has no soul.
    Experienced teachers know that the best way to reach a child is through their heart and soul, but it takes a teacher with heart and soul to get the best out of their students. Children are not little cogs, and so the teacher is not–and never can be–a mechanical engineer. Commissioner Pryor does not seem to know this–so obviously he is the perfect man to lead corporate education “reform” in the State of Connecticut!

    • R.L.

      Eloquently stated, as always.

  • Tom Burns

    That’s great

  • David Lynch Topitzer

    That gibberish has come out of Ed schools and has been co-opted by the privatization crowd, which Pryor represents.

  • Mikegreen40

    Fantastic. While I am not a public school teacher, I teach at the college level, I know that the students that we get in freshman class are not prepared for college level work. This was the case when I went to college, but I thought by now things might get better. The teachers have improved. The old notion of tenure has really changed. Teachers have learned that if they don’t produce they will be out of a job. The problem is what they are producing. I am getting students who cannot think critically. The get math, but to ask them the fundamental question about principles of math, they are lost. The humor in the post here is both funny and scary. Scary, because we have lost the ability to communicate.