Jonathan Lovell noticed that several critics of “Reign of Error” have attacked me, instead of engaging the issues I raise in the book. Jonathan teaches writing at San Jose State. He sent me this couplet, written by Alexander Pope:

“Yes, I am proud; I must be proud to see
Men, not afraid of God, afraid of me.”

After I met him in Berkeley on Saturday night, he wrote as follows:

“The Alexander Pope couplet is from the verse epistles he wrote in 1738 towards the end of his life, in imitation of Horace, and in which he positions himself as a voice of public consciousness–a voice that he felt was utterly lacking in the political figures of his day. His voice and stance reminded me so much of you! Here’s a sample of the lines leading up to that couplet:

Ask you what provocation I have had?
The strong antipathy of good to bad. 370
When Truth or Virtue an affront endures,
Th’ affront is mine, my friend, and should be yours.
Mine, as a foe profess’d to false pretense,
Who think a coxcomb’s honour like his sense;
Mine, as a friend to ev’ry worthy mind; 375
And mine as man, who feel for all mankind.
F. You ’re strangely proud.
P. So proud, I am no slave;
So impudent, I own myself no knave;
So odd, my country’s ruin makes me grave.
Yes, I am proud; I must be proud to see 380
Men, not afraid of God, afraid of me.

“I especially like the lines “When Truth or Virtue an affront endures,/Th’ affront is mine, my friend, and should be yours.” Those lines, as they say, have your name written all over them.”

Jonathan Lovell has his own blog.

This is an excerpt from one of his most popular posts:

“My point is to demonstrate that we can all deliberately and systematically draw on the various ways we know our kids are smart. That is, we can draw on their various talents as readers, listeners, responders to and shapers of their world. In doing so, we can not only speak out but “teach out” against practices and policies that we know are damaging our students, preventing them from experiencing themselves as the diversely talented group of individuals that, in our heart of hearts, we know them to be.

And in light of what is sure to be a tidal wave of curriculum materials purporting to “raise students’ scores” on the 2015 CCS assessments, I propose the adoption of the following resolution:

WHEREAS every large scale study over the past 30 years of income level in relation to student achievement has shown a compelling correlation between the two, and

WHEREAS the percentage of students in poverty in our nation’s schools has grown steadily and persistently over the past 39 years, and

WHEREAS the present levels of income inequality in our nation can be related directly to conscious public policy,


That the Common Core Standards; individual schools that “beat the odds”; Teach for America Interns whose students “outperform” those of traditionally credentialed teachers; and all such apparent instances of an anticipated “Revolution in American Education”

Be understood for what they are: seductive distractions from the ONE ISSUE we must face as a nation if “school improvement” is to be anything more than an instance of sentimental romanticism–the shameful growth in income disparity between our poorest and wealthiest citizens.”