Monday, October 22, 2012

NEIFPE Letters to the President, 2

Diane Ravitch coordinated a Campaign for our Public Schools in which teachers, students, parents and concerned citizens wrote letters to the President expressing dissatisfaction with the current government policies towards public education. On Saturday, October 20, 2012, Dr, Ravitch reported on the results. A PDF file of all the letters collected was created by Anthony Cody.

The entire file of letters from writers around the country is available HERE. Over the next few days we'll reprint a few of the letters submitted from our members.

It's not too late to tell the President or any elected officials what you think of government policies towards public education. You can find out how to contact your elected officials at


Dear President Obama,

It was great to see your debate with Romney last night. In it, you were spirited, in command of your facts, and you held your ground when Governor Romney attempted to misrepresent you. With that same spirit, I am writing this letter regarding education, hoping that you will listen, reconsider, and renounce both the policies that your presidency has endorsed through Arne Duncan and Arne Duncan, himself. Perhaps then I can bring myself to vote for you again in this election. I will admit that before last night's debate, I had not planned to participate in this letter writing campaign, thinking that any and all persuasive attempts would be futile wastes of energy. I had resigned myself to the feeling that you no longer cared.

But in light of last night's debate, I will now ask you to do the following: Please avail yourself of the great and mounting evidence that high stakes testing is detrimental to our nation's children and to the institution of public education. Please consider that the uber-competitive spirit of Race to the Top is, in effect, undermining, and in fact, almost destroying the chance for equitable funding and the desegregation of our public schools. Please consider that these policies are wiping out the staples of the arts and physical education in the public schools for the poorest of our nation's children. Please consider that these policies do nothing to support quality early childhood education. Please consider that merit pay for teachers, based on student evaluations, has already been tried and has failed miserably. Please consider that we cannot build a strong economy without a strong public educational system. Please consider that the things you want for your children in a private school are the things that our less fortunate students deserve in the public school. Please consider that the current policies have done nothing to assure equitable access to quality education. Please read the letters that parents and my fellow teachers are sending your way. Please read Diane Ravitch's blog. Please read the writings of Yong Zhao and Pedro Noguera, to name a few. Please look to the lessons of Finland when it comes to Public Education. Please become informed and don't accept Arne Duncan's failing and failed policies anymore.

I could fill this letter with anecdotes and with facts and sources to support my reasons asking you to reconsider, but my guess is that you already have all these things available to you at your fingertips. I could also list my 33 years of experience in Special Education and my "retirement" work with Adult Education, and my credentials as a parent and a grandparent, but I'm really just one of many educated and informed people who are begging you to reconsider the current educational policies of your administration. One thing further I would ask you to contemplate, and that is; Please consider that I am one of the many undecided voters in this election. It is true that I cannot stomach Romney, but I will throw my vote away rather than vote for a candidate who does not, in truth and in actions, support our nation's children and PUBLIC education for all. Please show the same determination and grit in response to this plea that you showed in last night's debate.


Cynthia J. Pastore

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