Thinking About Charles

–adapted from When Childhood Collides with Corporate Mandates*

In days bygone, before Standardization

Usurped childhood.

Charles read Edward Gorey’s “Rumpelstiltskin”

Sixteen days in a row.

Because he needed to.

Missing from State standards

And judged useless in the flat earth imperative

Of the Global Economy,

Rumpselstiltskin offered something essential

To one special boy.

In June, when writing

About his best book of the year,

Charles, mainstreamed from special ed,

Wrote nine pages.

He began,

“The Ugly Duckling shows us

It’s okay to be different.”


Take note.

Differences exist.

More than that,

Differences matter.

These days, phoneme segmentation fluency,
Hallowed be thy name.
Happiness no longer
In anybody’s lesson plan.

Look up the synonym for data
And you get “poop sheet.”
Shakespeare said
The poop was beaten gold.
Send Education Trust the recipe.

The Business Roundtable,
Education Trust, Bill Gates,
And New York Times editorial agree:
If you can’t count it,
It doesn’t count.

Ask yourself: Where’s the measurement device
For CEOs politicos, media pundits, and mother-in-law?

What counts for
Actuaries, admen, airline attendants, archeologists, astrologers, auto mechanics,
Bakers, bankers, baccarat dealers, Bingo callers, boatswains
Candlestick makers, cardiologists, cartographers, chimney sweeps, clergymen,
Data miners, dentists, die cutters, door hangers, drafters, drapers, drummers,
Economists, editorialists, electricians, embroiderers, escorts, euphemists,
Farmers, fingerprint technologists, firemen, flagpole sitters, florists, forklift operators,
Gardeners, gazebo builders, glass blowers, graphic designers, grocery baggers
Handwriting experts, handicappers, home health aides, hotel clerks, hypnotists,
Ice cream makers, insulators, insurance agents, interior decorators
Jacks-of-all-trades, janitors, jewelers, journalists, judo instructors,
Kennel operators, keno runners, kitchen remodelers, knife sharpeners,
Labor organizers, lab technicians, landscapers, lawyers, legal secretaries, loggers,
Machinists, magicians, manicurists, milliners, ministers, morticians, musicians,
Naturopaths, necromancers, nuclear engineers, nursing home owners, nutritionists
Occupational therapists, oceanographers, oil tycoons, optometric technicians, orderlies,
Pest controllers, pharmacists, pianists, plumbers, pole climbing instructors, psychiatrists, puppeteers,
Quarry miners, quick draw artists, quilters, quiz show hosts,
Radiologists, realtors, recruiters, riggers, roofers, rubber stampers, rubbish removers,
Security guards, software engineers, sportscasters, statisticians, stockbrokers, surgeons,
Tattooers, taxi drivers, taxi dancers, taxidermists, telemarketers, tree surgeons, tutors,
Umpires, upholsterers, urban planners, urologists, used car dealers,
Ventriloquist, veterinarians, videographers, violinists, vivisectionists,
Wedding planners, wait staff, welders, Windows Explorer technicians, window washers
X-Ray technicians, xylophonists
Yacht builders, yeomen, yoga instructors, yurt builders, yes-men,
Zeppelin inspectors, zitherists, zookeepers, and Zoroastrians?

We only test the young.
Test ’em until they move on
To the real world
Or are broken by the Standardisto hammer
That the corporate-politico-media cartel uses
To crush us all
Into submission,
Trumpeting with each blow
That they’ve hit the nail on the head.

Please remember Charles:

Rumpelstiltskin: sixteen days in a row.

*Book published by Vermont Society for the Study of Education. Alas, this organization no longer exists, but , I’m still here, and for the price of postage, I can send you the (illustrated) book.