On Wisconsin!

What makes borrowed characters ripe for revisiting or recasting is their child-like states in their original appearances, as their exploits and goals in the original can inform or problematize their character and actions in the later incarnation. An adult Tiny Tim can tell us what its like to outgrow one's frailties, for example, or whether a middle aged Cratchit still feels we should be God-blessed, everyone. The voice of one of Scarlett O'Hara's slaves, meanwhile, can...

We interrupt this Literary Recycling Week post with late-breaking news out of Wisconsin. Townblog Newscopter 3000 hovers above the state's Department of Public Instruction, which -- we're being told now -- "leads the nation in frustrating the purposes of the federal education law called No Child Left Behind." We take you now live to the scene with Townblog Action Reporter Jayskool Ceeminus. Jayskool?

Brian, the building behind me is darkened now, but only hours ago, there was daylight. Daylight, and frustration. Frustration on the part of the federal education law called No Child Left Behind, relentlessly and brutally taunted -- perhaps even undermined -- by Wisconsin's Department of Public instruction.

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Dispatch indicates, a Washington Think Tank believes that the State of Wisconsin has adjusted how it defines its own success in order to subvert No Child Left Behind laws.

In short, our Department of Education is a bully and a name caller and probably wants to leave children behind. Brian?

Jay, you say that Wisconsin is "frustrating the purposes" of No Child Left Behind, but neither you nor the Journal Sentinel Post Enquirer indicates what those purposes are.

Well, the purpose is certainly not to leave children behind.

What is the purpose, then?

The purpose of No Child Left Behind is to drive all affluent students into private schools and all poor-performers out of school altogether, so what's left over can ultimately be privatized to independent contractors. Of course, private schools aren't required to follow the law. Secondarily, No Child Left Behind requires that schools provide names and addresses of its students to military recruiters upon request.

So shouldn't subversion of this system be encouraged?

Well, by requiring the states to set their own standards for success, subversion or "gaming" of the system is built into the structure of the program. It's kind of like Talmudic Law -- to find the loophole is to honor the principle. But public outrage, like the kind that might be generated by this independent think tank or The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Star Bulletin Digest, will eventually undo such techniques.

So a system has been set in place that forces schools to lower standards in order to meet mandated levels of success, and those schools can then be ostraciszed for those same lower standards, thus ensuring that all public schools will ultimately fail. Isn't that kind of entrapment?

That Karl Rove is one evil genius, innit he?

Right. Wasn't he supposed to be indicted by now?

I'm sorry, Brian. I'm having trouble hearing you. Reporting live from a place where nothing really happened earlier today, I'm Jayskool Ceeminus, Townblog Action News.

And for all of us here in the Great Society, I say to you: it sure was fun while it lasted. Brian Townblog, former Milwaukee Public School student.



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