Friday, November 15, 2013

No Child Left Alive 99-cent e-book sale begins Saturday morning

By Randy Turner
The controversy over my novel No Child Left Alive (often referred to as the book that got me fired) has died down considerably since my May 23 hearing, but what it has to say, no matter how much Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff denied it at the hearing, offers a revealing look at the problems public education has locally and across the nation.

The book will be available, in e-book format, for 99 cents, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday and continuing for the next three days.

No Child Left Alive is the story of one year in a dysfunctional public high school where the teachers are caught in the middle between out-of-control students and clueless upper level administrators.

The lead characters in the book include Assistant Superintendent Abigail Saucier, who fosters a culture of meetings, meetings, and more meetings, whether they accomplish anything or not, and creates one new program after another, even some that conflict with each other, but look impressive on the resume.

After the death of the school's superintendent, Abigail expects to be promoted to the job and already has her action plan ready when she learns that Carlton Dunn, a younger man with plans to increase the school district's graduation rate has been hired for the position. Dunn puts public relations ahead of everything, including having his picture taken with kindergarten students at the beginning of the school year so they will grow up to be just like him.

When the teacher of the year is arrested for having a relationship with a student, he is replaced by English teacher Walter Tollivar, whose ideas directly conflict with Abigail's and set them on a collision course.

Meanwhile, as the new administration cuts down on discipline and hamstrings the teachers, second-year teacher Kayla Newman becomes so afraid of her students that she begins to carry a gun to class.

With bullying at an all-time high at the high school, one student plans a bloody revenge that will make the world forget about Columbine.

Among the things some area residents might find familiar that you will find in the book:

-Students can come and go as they please and are not counted tardy or absent
-If students are failing, the blame is placed on the teachers, rather than the students
-Teachers are pulled out of classes time after time during the year for "professional development" meetings
-Education plays second fiddle to public relations and boosting administrators' careers
-Teacher meetings include "team builders" in which the teachers are treated like children
-Administrators lie to board members and tell them the teachers are supporting their initiatives when, in fact, they do not.
-Much, much more.

No Child Left Alive will be available for 99 cents as an e-book, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday and continuing until 10 a.m. Tuesday.

For those who prefer the paperback version, it is available at this link.

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