blaming "the mindless bureaucrats"
“In the world Ferri inhabits, the great chain of being has been transformed into the great chain of humiliation, and education has devolved into nothing more than compliance and constraint. In this dying world, all the teacher can do is transmit ever-bleaker reports from the front lines as the indomitable forces of the mindless bureaucrats overwhelm the meager defenses of those truly committed to “critical thinking”( Miller52).
-Richard Miller, Writing at the End of the World
“The best fiction always forced us to question what we took for granted. It questioned traditions and expectations when they seemed too immutable. I told my students I wanted them in their reading to consider what ways these works unsettled them, made them a little uneasy, made them look around and consider the world, like Alice in Wonderland, through different eyes” (Nafisi 94).
-Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran
These two quotes perfectly capture the struggles that many English teachers face in states, where standardized tests have come to mean more, and therefore control the methods of our instruction. Often, teachers do not have time to make our students into better readers who can read and write critically with a thought provoking eye, because we have to spend months on teaching test taking skills. Half the time, we are reading to gain basic, useless information, only to write a dry, and meaningless five paragraph essay in the end. Sadly, students develop a natural hatred for writing in the early days of elementary school, where the five paragraph model has been drilled into their heads. Many were also negatively reinforced with writing for their unacceptable behaviors. It is therefore that much more difficult to encourage high school students the therapeutic power of writing and reading. Too often, students only think of school as just something to get over with, because they are told to. And it’s the mindless bearcats that corrupt the lives of our future forever.