A reader sent these late-night reflections to me:

“I drifted off to sleep last night, the phrase “No Child Left Behind” kept ringing in my ears. It sounds so noble… No – Child – Left – Behind – surely that is good for our country. Yet, at the same time my eyes were closing, the disturbing aparthied maps that Jersey Jazzman posted were flashing before my eyes.

In the corners of my mind, memories of 1984, by George Orwell churn. Newspeak (the removal of negative terms from language) reappears today. “Newspeak is engineered to remove even the possibility of rebellious thoughts—the words by which such thoughts might be articulated have been eliminated from the language.”

Samples: Newspeak Reform Dictionary and Guide to Phraseology:

“No Child Left Behind”
Phrase meaning: self-explanatory
Reality: Yes, there are many children left behind. Can we find them in these maps?

Word meaning: Achieve – attain; realize; accomplish
Reality: “AchieveNJ doesn’t even make the attempt to correct SGPs for poverty!”

“Community Engagement”
Word meaning: Oh… forget about the real word meaning… what difference does this section make?
Reality: “DONT allow the opposition to frame the standards or the new tests negatively: In particular, get in front of any opposition that seeks to characterize the new standards and assessments as a “one-size-fits-all” approach…”

“Education Reform Toolkit”
Reality: School Closure Guide by the Broad Foundation

Reality: “States must collect, coordinate, and use K-12 and postsecondary data to track and improve the readiness of graduates to succeed in college and the workplace…follow students through K–12 into postsecondary AND THE WORKFORCE and establish feedback loops to the relevant stakeholders…” (emphasis mine)

What would George Orwell have to say about this today?”