Hide the critic
Patricia Polacco is a popular author of children's books, known for her cuddly tales of loving grandmothers and precocious tots. She is also known for her less than comforting critiques of the No Child Left Behind Act and its emphasis on high-stakes testing.
Now she says a leading publisher found her dual roles incompatible and disinvited her from speaking at the International Reading Association's annual meeting this month in Chicago because she would not agree in advance to stay away from her views on testing in her talks.
[Secretary of Housing and Urban Development] Jackson closed with a cautionary tale, relaying a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor.Indeed. Why should the contractor, or a successful author, be allowed to petition the government for redress of grievances? What kind of country do people think we're living in?
"He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years," Jackson said of the prospective contractor. "He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something ... he said, 'I have a problem with your president.'
"I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'I don't like President Bush.' …
"He didn't get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."