Spotlight

A Contrarian's Lyrical Lament

by Thomas Sobol

(Sung to the tune of “As Someday It May Happen” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado”)

By Thomas Sobol

As someday it may happen
That a victim must be found,
I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list
Of education leaders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!

There’s sanctimonious Ms. Spellings
Who can barely spell her name,
Tells all of us just what to do
So long as she gains fame.

All presidential hopefuls of an education kind
Who plan to win by praising good old No Child Left Behind,
Don’t weep for them, they come and go
They’ve simply lost their mind
They’d none of ’em be missed —
They’d none of ’em be missed!

CHORUS
He’s got ‘em on the list — he’s got ’em on the list;
And they’ll none of ’em be missed —
They’ll none of ’em be missed —
They’ll none of ’em be missed!

Then there’s Diane Ravitch, Checker Finn,
And others of their sort,
Their IQ is more than ours!
Just ask them — more than ours!
The businessmen and know-it-alls
When they’re not held in court
Are sweeping up Bear Stearns,
They’re fiddling while Rome burns!

The pundits and the housewives
And all those who like to talk
Think they have all the answers
But they cannot find the chalk.

And ’st- ’st- ’st and what’s his name
And also you-know-who?
The task of filling up the blanks
I’d rather leave to you.
But it really doesn’t matter
Whom you put upon the list
For they’d none of ’em be missed —
They’d none of ’em be missed!

CHORUS
He’s got ’em on the list — he’s got ’em on the list;
And they’ll none of ’em be missed —
They’ll none of ’em be missed —
They’ll none of ’em be missed!

Thomas Sobol, the founding Christian A. Johnson Professor of Outstanding Educational Practice at Teachers College of Columbia University, is president of Public Schools for Tomorrow. E-mail: TCSuper@columbia.edu