The Best Answer (washingtonpost.com)
The Giver by Lois Lowry
"Yo, Mr. R -- we gonna read today?" A battered copy of a young-adult novel called The Giver materialized from the depths of his baggy jeans pocket as the 11th-grader sauntered into English class at Mount Vernon High School...
So begins a long and well-written article in the Washington Post about a US teacher's disillusionment with the climate of testing. Altohugh it's American, the piece will ring many a chord with those who teach or study in UK schools.
"...I should have known what was coming as soon as I saw the chicken wings. We had to raise our scores, she told us.
One way to do that, she said, was "bell-to-bell teaching": Every child's fanny in a seat from the moment the bell rings until the end of class 90 minutes later....
As I drove home from school after that faculty meeting, the trees along the George Washington Parkway cast straight shadows like a bar code. I imagined myself being scanned at some giant checkout counter, an unseen hand ringing up the "product" it was now my duty to "deliver." I pulled over at my favorite spot overlooking the Potomac, where there was a view about which I had composed a line of poetry every morning on my commute for the past decade...
I've discovered that, even though I'm working with more privileged kids, some things are just the same. Like the warm fuzzy teacher feeling I got last week when one of my eighth-graders walked into class clutching a young-adult mystery called Ghost Canoe and asked, "Mr. R, can we read today?"
Ghost Canoe by Will Hobbs