Upton Sinclair Awards, 2005

Dec 20, 2005 by

First Annual Upton Sinclair Award of Influential Educators

Michael F. Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico

Delia Stafford
Haberman Foundation
Houston, Texas

At the end of the year, it seems only fitting to honor our very own “Top Ten ” individuals who have made a difference in education in the last year. Surely, there are others who deserve recognition, but the authors feel that the contributions of these ten nominees stand out as stunning exemplars of first rate care, concern and contributions to education.

These are in alphabetical order:

Christina Asquith for her book on ” The Emergency Teacher “. There is no other issue in America as important as what happens to beginning teachers in any classroom in any school in any state in the United States of America. And she has brought this issue to the minds of many in America. Nuff said !

Gerald Bracey – has continued to examine the data, the figures, the facts, the politicians, and continued in the grand tradition of Upton Sinclair in terms of muckracking. In fact, the authors hereby award him the Upton Sinclair award of the year and of course, along with that a coupon for a free cup of coffee at his favorite establishment. The coffee will be used to keep up his energy long into the nights in examining the mounds of statistics with a keen eye.

Nicholas Colangelo – As a proponent and advocate of gifted children and gifted education. We feel he is worthy of acknowledgement and recognition for all of his work with the Book A Nation Deceived, which can be accessed at http://web.archive.org/web/20061004001617/http://www.nationdeceived.org/He has consistently, cogently, and carefully worked for the education of gifted and talented children for many years, but his contributions this year have been exemplary.

Elaine Garan has written two books ” In Defense of Our Children: When Politics, Profit and Education Collide ” published by Heinemann and ” Resisting Reading Mandates: How to Triumph With the Truth ” also published by Heinemann. Dr. Garan has done a meticulous job of documenting concerns plaguing education, particularly in the realm of reading. She has taken a major role in revealing some of the concerns with the No Child Left Behind Act and the issues in reading. Her article in the March 2001 of Kappan- had a huge impact on the field because it was essentially an unassailable refutation of the Report of the National Reading Panel on phonics

Martin Haberman – Continues to work, sweat and slave for the cause of putting a good quality teacher in every classroom, and a superlative principal or educational leader in every school. His four decades of research has influenced school classrooms internationally.

Because of his continuous efforts to help districts select the best teachers and principals, he may be remembered as the consummate researcher and writer of the 21 st century. His work continues to and will stand the test of time. His world is about the children who need great teachers to survive in their life and death search for a piece of the great American dream. To learn more about him log on http://web.archive.org/web/20061004001617/http://www.habermanfoundation.org/

Jonathan Kozol – A person who needs to introduction whatsoever to those in the field of education, Kozol has actually done what a lot of others have not done regarding education. He has thought about the problems and written about them, not worrying about being politically correct and offending anyone, he has continued to be incicive, and on the mark about the issues in education. We hope that his future works will offer more solutions to the various problems he has specified.

Peter and Pam Wright – has done more for parents of special needs children than anyone in the last five years. His publications, presentations, workshops, newsletters and materials have assisted parents in navigating the Special Education maze.

Reid Lyon is an advocate of using science -based research in teaching and was the leader in “Reading First”, one of the cornerstones of national education reforms. He has a history of leading efforts to assist the neediest of children in the public schools. As Chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development he has help to shape programs which assist schools be more effective with all student populations, on a national scale.

Lastly, we would like to laud America’s teachers
who demonstrate the “Star” teacher beliefs and behaviors. That is, the teachers who are , 1)persistent at all costs, with all types of different children with all types of exceptionalities 2) Teachers who put “children and youth” first, and paperwork and administratrivia second, 3) Teachers who are out to protect the rights of children to learn while always learning more about how to reach and teach all children, 4) Teachers who understand the reasons there are so many children at risk is because of what happens to them in schools, (without blaming the students) 5) Those teachers who never seem to burnout even when the bureaucracy is intolerable, 6) Those teachers who are always willing to make sure they have professional relationships with children and never break trust with the students…(always apologizing if they make a mistake with children that might embarrass students).

Special recognition goes to one Albuquerque teacher, who while this writer (MS) was playing basketball with his nephews on a school playground on a Friday afternoon observed a teacher leaving the portable building at 6:45 p.m. on a Friday afternoon.

I indicated to her that she was certainly working overtime! I did not think to get this teacher’s name, but there are certainly other teachers who arrive at 6:45a.m. in the morning to make the morning coffee for their peers !

And lastly, we have to acknowledge those millions of teachers out there who persistently work with difficult students, under difficult situations, dealing with difficult or absent parents, and attempting to cope with what one reader referred to as ” political crapola”.

And of course, we have to thank, acknowledge and recognize Jimmy Kilpatrick who does his best on a daily basis to bring education news to millions of readers and who attempts to advocate for children and adolescents on a daily basis. Best to all for the year 2006!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.