Have you ever wondered why the Nation’s Report Card shows that only 37 percent of America’s high school seniors are proficient in reading?

If so, New York English teacher Todd Friedman might have an answer: bureaucracy.

According to the New York Post, the award-winning teaching veteran recently got in trouble when he bought a bulk shipment of Frankenstein novels for his high school students: 

“Friedman, 61, paid for the books out of his own pocket — about $220 with shipping — then sold them to students for $2 apiece to recoup most of the expenses.


In a March 21 report, the DOE’s Office of Special Investigations ruled that Friedman violated Chancellor’s Regulation A-610.”

The rule states:

‘Materials and textbooks supplied by the Department of Education for use in classes, shops or laboratories shall not under any circumstances be sold, nor shall any charge for them be made to the student,’ the regulation says.”

Friedman was placed on administrative duty and faces possible termination, the Post reports.  

When asked about the charges, Friedman noted:

“‘I was providing a service to the students. This isn’t sexual abuse. This isn’t child molestation. I’m not a danger to the students,’ Friedman said.

He noted that students spent $6 for ‘Hamlet’ at the school bookstore, triple what he asked to recoup his layout for ‘Frankenstein.’

‘Nobody had an issue with that,’ Friedman said. ‘This has been going on for decades.’”

Today’s public education system likely has many noble and high-quality teachers, who, like Friedman, are doing their best to educate their students.

Yet many of these same, high-quality teachers are finding it difficult to do their job because they must comply with official discipline policies or curriculum choices made by those who are far removed from the classroom. 

If we want schools which turn out well-educated young people, are we going to have to reduce the massive education bureaucracy first? 

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