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[Susan notes: Sean Black writes a letter as an educator who's tired of the full-frontal assault on public schools. May this letter provoke more educators to break their silence and do the same.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published

Dear David Brooks,

Your ignorance about education reform is appalling. It begins with suggesting that Jeb Bush and Bill Gates are actually education reformers. It ends with your suggesting that Arne Duncan's Race to the Top is actually worthwhile education reform. I may be just a physical education teacher, but I know that your blame for education woes on teacher unions is at best misdirected, and at worst, a demonstration of total ignorance about the true state of public education in this country.

You blather on about "reform." This reform will do nothing but turn teachers into Test Preparation Agents for the State, turn schools into Worker Delivery Factories for Corporate America, and turn students into future drones for the materialistic economic machine. The entire privatization movement is all about money and the private sector desire to get their hands on the $800 billion a year spent on public education.

Apparently you haven’t read the truth about student performance. It is all about a student’s socio-economic status. In the United States there are so many children living in poverty that they come to school without the basic foundations for learning. Schools with less than 25% of their students in poverty score ahead of all other countries in international comparisons. And only when schools have more than 75% students of poverty do they score worse. But since you haven’t educated yourself, I suggest you do so.

Start by reading the work by the recently passed Gerald Bracey. I do know he would call your latest column "horseshit." But then again, I imagine you still think that the Soviets got Sputnik in orbit first because of the failure of the United States' public schools. That is just false. Schools have been the scapegoat of politicians because they are an easy target. If you would like to actually learn about the state of public education in this country, I challenge you to read the work of David Berliner, Sharon Nichols, Susan Ohanian, Larry Cuban, and Stephen Krashen, but to name a few that will enlighten you.

From my perspective, Arne Duncan is at least as bad as Margaret Spellings, if not worse. President Obama would not allow his daughters to attend a school in which the educational malpractice that will flow from Race to the Top. But then again, his daughters didn’t grow up in poverty. This is one educator tired of the full-frontal assault on public schools.


Sean Michael Black, M. A. , Ed. S.

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