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[Susan notes: The writer asks for answers. What do you think

the chances are that any will be forthcoming?]

Submitted to President Obama but not published

To the President

Mr. President:

While some of your change is in the best interest

of Americans, some is not. Your approach to

education is neither change, nor in the best

interest of the people. Privatization of

education, is the point at which the public good,

and corporate greed diverge. Those who think

of themselves as CEO's are part of the problem,

not of the cure. The misuse of testing data, the

sham called merit pay and increasing the number

of private/charter schools, are the children of

the same system which is based the destruction of

our public education system.

Testing as it is now used in Florida(FCAT) and

most of the other 50 states, is punitive in

nature. Failure is punished while success is

rewarded. Testing in public education should

serve the same master as it does in medicine.

Find the problem, and work toward the cure. The

simple fact is, test scores are more related to

socioeconomic conditions than to success in the


Merit pay for teachers is, now, and has been a

javelin aimed at the heart of teacher solidarity.

The parts of an education must be a cohesive

whole, not one in which, relative merit is based

on some administratively concocted formula. The

physical education or music teacher does as much

to educate a child as the English or math

teacher. To separate such departments is to

shred the fabric of teaching the whole child.

Inevitably the idea of merit pay creates an

elites society on the one hand, and a culture of

the flawed on the other.

Less affluent children do make poorer grades on

standardized tests than the wealthy. Educational

researchers have promulgated this fact time and

again, but the right wing of our government has

chosen to ignore that point, and press fiscal

rewards upon those for whom success on

standardized tests is a part of their

socialization process. Rewarding the wealthy,

and punishing the poor is not one of the pillars

upon which you built your campaigned.

Allowing private schools, or for that matter

charter schools to take the place of public

schools, will result in leaving the masses in the

backwater of the society we hope to build. Those

who want to denigrate the public operation of

America's education system, point to the post

office as an example of failed government

industry. I would hasten to point out that, out

postal system is the wonder of the world. It is

a common carrier for all the people. Where else

may a citizen, for $.42, send a letter, or other

document across 3000 miles, and have an

expectation that it will arrive undamaged in less

than three days.

I challenge the person who reads this letter, to

present it to our president. I am sure the

mechanical return message will flash across the

screen as soon as my fingers have left the keys;

however, this problem demands an answer from

someone who cares; real answers for real problems

may be the best way to go, Mr. President.

William Cuthbert

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