"My school years were so stressful, when I think back on them I cringe. If you took away Tom Sawyer, and replaced it with a technical manual...well, I hate to even think about it. Tom Sawyer, Diary of Anne Frank, Adam of the Road, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, those were the things that got me through my grade school, middle school years. Also being in Chorus in 7th grade. It's hard to argue with the general idea of standardized tests, the concept is good, but if it means losing music, art, PE, and TOM SAWYER, well...it just makes me sad. And reading a good book that you like makes you a better reader. It motivates a kid to read because they like it. That is so obvious, it's almost stupid to write it. What's motivational about a technical manual? I feel for J., and for his students as well."
For the record: my husband will continue teaching Tom Sawyer. AND technical manuals. But if the scores don't improve in the required areas, it will make things difficult for my favorite English teacher.