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[Susan notes: This letter to Charlie Rose was written after

Rose gave Secretary of Arne Duncan a free ride on

his television show]

Submitted to Charlie Rose PBS TV Show but not published

Dear Charlie Rose

Dear Mr. Rose,

Our president, Mr. Obama, has chosen to abandon

his policy for open dialogue of ideas when

creating his stance on the NCLB. It seems that

full discussion of issues only pertains to issues

of national importance such as the economy and

health care. The President does not seem to

understand that the process for gaining input in

one area - if things are to be truly different

for us than previous administrations - needs to

apply to all social systems/institutions. Yes,

the economy is vitally important especially in

light of the fact that jobs we are 'educating'

our children for have yet to be created.

It seems that the education his children are

receiving at Sidwell Friends School and that the

president received in Hawaii is to be limited to

the privileged few rather than the general

public. It seems that the one issue he said

needed to undergo reformation is the one area

that he is not seeking input from those in the

trenches - the teachers, the parents, and the

students themselves.

In my work at a community college I see every day

the effects of a public education that prepares

different students in vastly different ways. It

does not seem fair, just, or equitable if only

part of the population gets the education they

need and deserve. Of course every 4-8 years

education policy typically gets an overhaul

except now. Teachers have been strangely silent

during the Bush years of NCLB. As our students

last line of defense and as experts on how people

learn, curriculum development, and how to teach,

most of us are tired of being silent and removed

from the conversation. Part of this is our own

fault but part of it isn't.

You asked very good questions but I didn't hear

any about why in the world we should compare our

education system to countries who don't education

all of their members: China and India. When this

type of comparison is done we need to be sure we

are comparing ourselves with a nation that

actually does education all its members. If

there aren't any then perhaps we are trying to

measure success in the wrong way.

That said, I haven't seen network news crews

going to teachers, parents, and students in poor-

urban areas or poor-rural areas to see what is

and isn't working. I haven't seen network news

asking questions of anyone other than elected or

appointed education officials, either.

One of the most important questions for the Obama

education plan and the Administration to answer

is the following and is of vital interest to all

involved is: How have merit increases worked in

the business sector? I don't see anyone asking

that question at all. I don't see anyone asking

why we remove funds from schools in poor sections

just to give to those in more affluent

neighborhoods. This plan of Mr. Obama's doesn't

make sense.

When we use economic terms such as 'rebranding'

NCLB we do a great disservice to the students,

the parents, the teachers, and to the nation.

Why? Because it is not an economic system. When

NCLB was originally branded very well. It was

underfunded and took the stance that there is

only one way to become educated and that only one

way was going to get funded. It stated that

students had to be on the same level of

experience when entering school as everyone else.

How is that possible if students come from all

walks of life and life experiences?

The NCLB did not allow anyone to show other

perspectives in education and how they may work

better than their way. It served notice that

standardized tests measure knowledge and that

reading tests that used nonsense words measured a

child's comprehension (DIBELS). Doesn't our

democracy deserve better? Don't our children and

grandchildren deserve better?

Thank you for listening. I've attached a letter

that I faxed to Mr. Obama. Please help us in our

quest to teach our students - all our students.


Debbie East

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