[Susan notes: Here is a strong plea for a politico to listen to what teachers and parents want for their schools.]
Submitted to but not published
I am writing to you in hopes that you will truly work toward reforming our government's approach to energy, health care, the environment, the economy, and education and restore our credibility in the world community by swiftly ending the illegal and horrific war in Iraq that has caused untold death and suffering.
As a professional educator for 29 years, a mother, and a citizen activist, I am most qualified to speak about education, so I will begin by imploring you to reject the Federal No Child Left Behind legislation and return control of public education to the states. NCLB has forced a "one size fits all" approach to teaching and learning that leaves many children and their teachers behind. The punitive and damaging NCLB legislation has focused on high stakes tests and test preparation and has prevented teachers from pursuing "best practice" in their classrooms.
The Federal government has no place dictating how local schools should assess student learning or how teachers should teach. By punishing public schools that don't make "Adequate Yearly Progress," according to an artificial and unrealistic formula, NCLB has further eroded the public trust in public education. You can affirm the capacity of local communities to create vibrant schools that support children as learners, their families as partners, and their teachers as competent, creative professionals, and this can be the cornerstone of your education policy.
As you begin the push in your campaign toward winning the Oval Office and the presidency of our country, please include teachers in the conversation about education. For the past seven years, it has been the politicians and business leaders that have shaped education policy and the concurrent push toward standardization and high stakes testing. Please listen to the teachers and parents who are telling you that we can do better with our federal education dollars by returning to local control of public education. Public education takes a village, not a massive bureaucracy. Please protect the "public" in public education.
Robin E. Brooks