Fuse #8

Monday, May 08, 2006

Our Hero

For those of you who attended the International Reading Association Conference in Chicago on May 2 and 3, 2006 and expected to see delightful author/illustrator Patricia Polacco, you may have found that she was not in attendance. She was certainly invited, so where was she? Well it seems as if the firm of SRA/McGraw Hill Company (who manufactures, prints, and profits from the sale of the tests created in association with the No Child Left Behind Mandate) was sponsoring the IRA program. More importantly, they were telling Polacco that her speech had to be "upbeat, non-controversial, and non-political". Polacco has long been critical of No Child Left Behind since it first appeared and when she informed SRA/McGraw Hill that she would not change the content of her speeches they cancelled all her appearances within the hour. Read the full story in her own words at the site below.


At 2:58 PM , Blogger web said...

Thanks for the link. This was mentioned obscurely on the childlit list but without any real information.

At 1:16 PM , Blogger SRA/McGraw-Hill said...

SRA/McGraw-Hill welcomes the opportunity to present the facts about Patricia Polacco’s scheduled appearances in SRA’s exhibit booth at IRA on May 2 and 3, 2006.

SRA/McGraw-Hill and Ms. Polacco signed a very clear contract, which can be viewed at http://www.sraonline.com/index.php/home/statement/2094.

In the contract, signed by SRA on Jan. 10, 2006, and by Ms. Polacco on Feb. 8, 2006, Ms. Polacco agreed to be an SRA/McGraw-Hill exhibit booth speaker at four 30-minute presentations on two very specific topics: heroes who made a difference in her life and the real stories that inspired several of her books. In the two-page contract, SRA/McGraw-Hill was identified by name 14 times. She further agreed that her appearances at the SRA exhibit booth would be limited solely to these four presentations.

Ms. Polacco chose not to honor her commitment to SRA/McGraw-Hill. Shortly before the event, she began insisting that she wanted to use her appearances as a platform for expressing her personal views on public education policy. We respect her right to express her ideas; however, since the SRA educational presentations were focused on writing and children’s books, SRA did not believe that its exhibit booth was an appropriate forum for a public policy speech. Ms. Polacco’s statements about this event are inaccurate and unreasonable.

SRA’s intention was to have Ms. Polacco deliver four presentations that would inspire the people who have the greatest impact on educating our children – classroom teachers.


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