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[Susan notes: Sean Michael Black expresses the disappointment

of many.]

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

wife’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 didn’t

make comment about the bonuses that were being

paid out with stimulus money because you didn’t

want to speak about that which you didn’t know.

Why haven’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 “low

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

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