Dear President Obama,
We assume you know that there are many thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of parents, who are disappointed in your education policies.
We assume you know that some will vote for you reluctantly, some will vote for a third party candidate, and some will not vote at all. Our votes will make a difference.
Given the choice between you and Mitt Romney, who seems to view public education with contempt, we want to help you win back the hearts and mind of teachers and parents.
Here are ways to do that.
Please, sir, stop talking about rewarding and punishing teachers. As a parent, I wish for my children to be taught by a well paid professional, not a piece-worker in some factory. I wish for teachers who are managed by experienced, qualified principals and administrators, not given top-down contrived hurdles to jump over.
Please, sir, stop encouraging the privatization of public education. Many studies demonstrate that charters don’t get better results than public schools unless they exclude low-performing children. Public schools educate all children. Charters are tearing our communities apart, pitting parent against parent and created a “them versus us” situation in what were once tight neighborhoods.
Please, sir, speak out against the spread of for-profit schools. These for-profit schools steal precious tax dollars to pay off investors. Those resources belong in the classroom. The for-profit virtual schools get uniformly bad reviews from everyone but Wall Street. In business, what’s bad for your competitor is great for you. The “competition” your policy is fostering is of the typical corporate “cut-throat” variety. It gives private companies incentives to destroy our public schools. Charter school supporters in my town have fought against funding for public schools because the worse it is for our public schools the better it is for their charter school. This is madness.
Please, sir, withdraw your support from the failed effort to evaluate teachers by the test scores of their students. The American Educational Research Association and the National Academy of Education issued a joint paper saying that such methods are inaccurate and unstable. Teachers get high ratings if they teach the easiest students, and low ratings if they teach the most challenging students. I don’t want my children growing up only knowing how to fill in little bubbles. I don’t what my children growing up never learning the things I learned in school because they aren’t on the test.
Please, sir, stop closing schools and firing staffs because of low scores. Low scores are a reflection of high poverty, not an indicator of bad schools or bad teachers. Insist that schools enrolling large numbers of poor and minority students get the resources they need to succeed. I am lucky and my children are easy–they don’t need as much resources to teach as the less fortunate do.
Please, President Obama, recognize that your policies are demoralizing teachers. Many are leaving the profession. Young people are deciding not to become teachers. Your policies are ruining a noble profession. I don’t want my children taught by “what is left over”.
President Obama, we want to support you on November 6.
Please give us reason to believe in you again.
I am a parent.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
A Parent’s Letter to President Obama
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