[Susan notes: Sean Michael Black expresses the disappointment
Submitted to but not published
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
On Election Day 2008 I was thrilled that you had
been elected, because I had volunteered in the
campaign, donated my time and money (and my
wifeĂ˘€™s as well), and I knew how important it was
to have you elected. In the interim, I have had
been told that hope and change are on the way.
But today, I am demoralized.
A few weeks ago, you remarked that you didnĂ˘€™t
make comment about the bonuses that were being
paid out with stimulus money because you didnĂ˘€™t
want to speak about that which you didnĂ˘€™t know.
Why havenĂ˘€™t you applied that same standard in
your remarks about public education? Your
remarks about public education demonstrate a
clear ignorance about MY profession. I expected
better from you, and today, I am demoralized.
Many of the fellows of The Education and the
Public Interest Center at the University of
Colorado at Boulder and the Education Policy
Research Unit at Arizona State University have
written you, and done so far more eloquently than
I can. But it is clear from the path that
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is pushing
public education, that this information is being
ignored. The term negligence comes to mind
regarding the current trend in the political push
regarding public education. You, sir, as well as
Secretary Duncan have a duty to the public
education establishment. The push to close Ă˘€ślow
performing schools and build charters run by
private corporations are more of the same wrong-
headed policies that your predecessor, George W.
Bush, so loved. And making student achievement
synonymous with test scores will require me and
my fellow teachers to continue committing acts of
educational malpractice. This is negligent.
Thus today, I am demoralized.
Please, President Obama, I challenge you to
educate yourself about the true state of public
education, not listen to those who would
privatize public schools, not those who want
schools run like a business, not those who want a
cheap worker delivery system, not those who wish
to put a large portion of the $800 billion spent
on public education in their own pocket at the
expense of my students. Until public education
policy-makers demonstrate a true understanding
that public education is the cornerstone of our
democratic republic, I will be demoralized.
Sean Michael Black, M. A., Ed. S.
Sean Michael Black