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[Susan notes: This teacher reveals herself to be well informed and uses the brilliant device of quoting from Senator Obama's own book.]

Submitted to but not published

Dear Senator Obama:

Senator Barack Obama

Education and Labor Committee

United States Senate

Washington, D.C.

Dear Senator Obama,

When I read about the ulterior motives and the conflicts of interest behind the No Child Left Behind mandates as described by Susan Neumann in the Time Magazine article I have referenced below, I assumed that the Senate Committee would react in some way. I particularly thought that you would react in some way. To date I have heard nothing from you or the Senate Committee. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1812758,00.html

I did see that Senator Kennedy issued a report on poor results for Reading First initiatives. http://kennedy.senate.gov/newsroom/press_release.cfm?id=3CC1E674-CB51-42C2-A4F9-90395A0DC291 But again, I have seen no action taken in response to this information.

When I read your book, The Audacity of Hope, I was encouraged as a public school teacher to learn that you have a vision for public school education in America. I read with appreciation the following,

If we’re serious about building a twenty-first-century school system, we’re going to have to take the teaching profession more seriouslyâ€Â¦.In exchange for more money, teachers need to become more accountable for their performanceâ€Â¦ P. 162

I trust that your belief in accountability in education is not simply for teachers but would include those at the top as well. I agreed with you when you wrote eloquently about the Republican policies which are contributing to

a nation even more stratified economically and socially than it currently is: one in which an increasingly prosperous knowledge class, living in exclusive enclaves, will be able to purchase whatever they want on the marketplace-private schools,â€Â¦-while a growing number of their fellow citizens areâ€Â¦dependent on an underfunded, overburdened, and under performing public sector for their health care, their retirement, and their children’s educations. P. 148

Unless you do react to this travesty, it will mean that we have a system in which leaders̢۪ professed beliefs are different from what they allow to occur. Ms. Neumann describes an Education Department which was directly implementing policy intended to do what you claim in your book is the agenda of some in the Republican party as well as the current administration. Their intention is to have the public school system fail so that it can be discarded.

If you are serious about education and equality of opportunity, you must respond to this report and to the first findings of failed results for NCLB mandated programs. We cannot wait for you to take office. A generation of readers is being lost to this waste of time and money.

If we want great readers, then as the National Reading Panel really intended, we must teach young readers to do what great readers do. We must not waste their time on ineffective activities prescribed by programs that make money for highly placed individuals, but do nothing for the readers they claim to target. In the end, these policies will destroy public education.

I have also enclosed a book entitled When NCLB Collides With Childhood by Susan Ohanion which tells the entire story.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Mary Ann Rupcich, Primary teacher with MA in reading

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