Note to readers: I cross-posted this at Huffington Post 30 minutes ago. Please leave comments there as well as here. Spreading our story.

I had a note from an outstanding superintendent in a fine
suburban district in New York, someone I greatly admire. He is
experienced and wise. He has the support of parents, staff, and
community. He runs one of the state’s best school districts. He
wrote of the excitement and joy of the beginning of the school
year. He talked about the commemoration of Dr. King’s legacy. But
he ended on a sad note. He said he experienced the sadness and
humiliation of telling teachers and students about their test
scores and ratings, about how many students had failed the absurd
Common Core tests, which meant their teachers too had “failed.”
Suddenly, it struck me that the best way to remember Martin Luther
King was not to think of him as a statue or an icon, but to take to
heart his example. He did not bow his head in the face of
injustice. He did not comply. He said no. He said it in a spirit of
love and non-violence. But he resisted. He said no. He resisted. He
said, we will not acquiesce to what we know is wrong. We will not
acquiesce. We will not comply. We will not obey unjust laws. How
does that apply to the situation of public education today? Public
schools are drowning in nonsensical mandates. They are whipsawed by
failed ideas coming from D.C. and state capitols that are following
D.C.’s lead. They are subject to regulations and programs that no
one understands. These mandates are ruining schooling, not making
it better. The incessant testing is not making kids smarter, it is
making kids bored and turned off by school. Schools are trapped in
bureaucratic mazes that make no sense. What would Martin Luther
King, Jr., do? Would he passively submit? No. He would resist. He
would organize and join with others. He would build coalitions of
parents, students, teachers, administrators, school board members,
and members of the community who support their public schools. He
would demand true education for all children. He would demand
equality of educational opportunity, not a Race to some mythical
Top or ever higher scores on bubble tests. He would not be silent
as our public schools are worn down and torn down by mindless
mandates. He would recognize that the victims of this political and
bureaucratic malfeasance are our children. He would build a
political movement so united and clear in its purpose that it would
be heard in every state Capitol and even in Washington, D.C. And
that is how we should commemorate his life.