Earlier this year a book was published titled Childism by the eminent psychoanalyst Elisabeth Young-Bruehl.

The subtitle is “Confronting Prejudice Against Young Children.”

Young-Bruehl argues that just as there is prejudice against other groups of people, there is prejudice against children, and she calls it “childism.”

Young-Bruehl describes the many ways in which young children are abused by parents and those who are supposedly caregivers.

Children, she writes, need protection against “child abuse and neglect,” known in the literature as CAN. (Which is why I always chuckle when I see an education “reform” group that calls itself “CAN,” as in ConnCAN, which literally means “Connecticut Child Abuse and Neglect,” if you follow the standard literature on the subject.)

What is childism? There can be too little or too much stimulation, there can be too many environmental toxins, too much exposure to domestic violence, there can be physical and sexual abuse, and so on.

One form of child abuse today, she writes, citing the eminent child psychiatrists T. Berry Brazelton and Stanley I. Greenspan, is too much exposure to standardized testing and standardized education.

NCLB, in this view, is child abuse. “Testing is about failing and being tracked according to failure. Children are shamed by such an approach, not encouraged.” Shaming “harms children; it produces anger and resentment. Standardized testing does not aim at what the authors [Brazelton and Greenspan] call mastery, which would point a child in the direction of improvement, and indicate what individualized help the child might need to improve.”

Children need “calm guidance and modeling,” not the shame of a test score that says they are not good enough.

Young-Bruehl’s book was published in January. By now, she should be on all the talk shows. She should be countering the nonsense spread by corporate reformers who want more tests, more data, more CAN.

Sadly, she died days before the publication of her book.

And her wise counsel is locked in its pages, waiting for readers.