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Rabbit hunt had impact that state test never will

Susan Notes:

I'd like to see hundreds of thousands of teachers and parents and students send this lovely little piece to the following people (and I make it easy for you by providing their addresses). We need to get those invisible rabbits back into our schools.

Arne Duncan
Secretary of Education
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202

Maybe YOU can find e-mail contacts. I give up.

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
e-mail the Committee: help_comments@help.senate.gov

Here are individual members. You can go to the Committee Page and click on others for contact info. I suggest targeting Al Franken:

Home Office: 60 East Plato Blvd, Suite 220, St. Paul, MN 55107

E-mail contact form

(Because of mail security in D. C., it's better to use local office.)

Tom Harkin (IA) Chair
Christopher Dodd (CT)
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)
Jeff Bingaman (NM)
Patty Murray (WA)
Jack Reed (RI)
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
Sherrod Brown (OH)
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA)
Kay Hagan (NC)
Jeff Merkley (OR)
Al Franken (MN)
Michael Bennet (CO)

Republicans by Rank
Michael B. Enzi (WY)
Judd Gregg (NH)
Lamar Alexander (TN)
Richard Burr (NC)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
John McCain (AZ)
Orrin G. Hatch (UT)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Tom Coburn, M.D. (OK)
Pat Roberts (KS)

House Committee on Education and Labor. Maybe try Kucinich:
e-mail form.

Home Office: 14400 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107


* George Miller, Chairman (CA-07)
* Dale E. Kildee (MI-05)
* Donald M. Payne (NJ-10)
* Robert E. Andrews (NJ-01)
* Robert C. Scott (VA-03)
* Lynn C. Woolsey (CA-06)
* Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15)
* Carolyn McCarthy (NY-04)
* John F. Tierney (MA-06)
* Dennis J. Kucinich (OH-10)
* David Wu (OR-01)
* Rush D. Holt (NJ-12)
* Susan A. Davis (CA-53)
* Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07)
* Timothy H. Bishop (NY-01)
* Joe Sestak (PA-07)
* Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
* Mazie Hirono (HI-02)
* Jason Altmire (PA-04)
* Phil Hare (IL-17)
* Yvette Clarke (NY-11)
* Joe Courtney (CT-02)
* Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)
* Marcia Fudge (OH-11)
* Jared Polis (CO-2)
* Paul Tonko (NY-21)
* Pedro Pierluisi (PR)
* Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands)
* Dina Titus (NV-3)
* Judy Chu (CA-32)


* John Kline, Ranking Member (MN-02)
* Thomas E. Petri (WI-06)
* Howard "Buck" McKeon (CA-25)
* Peter Hoekstra (MI-02)
* Michael N. Castle (DE-At Large)
* Mark E. Souder (IN-03)
* Vernon J. Ehlers (MI-03)
* Judy Biggert (IL-13)
* Todd Russell Platts (PA-19)
* Joe Wilson (SC-02)
* Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05)
* Tom Price (GA-06)
* Rob Bishop (UT-01)
* Brett Guthrie (KY-2)
* Bill Cassidy (LA-6)
* Tom McClintock (CA-4)
* Duncan D. Hunter (CA-52)
* Phil Roe (TN-1)
* Glenn "GT" Thompson (PA-05)

The Media pundits on education Some will 'get' this, others won't have a clue.

Brent Staples, New York Times editorialist on education
No e-mail available but here's editorial editor:

Likewise for individual reporters. Here's the news editor:

Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

Jay Mathews, Washington Post

Greg Toppo, USA Today

Rob Tomsho, Wall Street Journal

John Hechinger, Wall Street Journal

Stephen Sawchuck, Education Week

Mayors Who Like Taking Charge of Schools

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Mayor Richard M. Daley
City Hall
121 N La Salle St, Chicago, IL


Adrian M. Fenty
Executive Office of the Mayor
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 316, Washington, DC 20004.

The Rich Guys

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
10900 Wilshire Boulevard
Twelfth Floor
Los Angeles, California 90024

Dan Katzer, Managing Director

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
PO Box 23350
Seattle, WA 98102

The Unions

Randi Weingarten, President
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
555 New Jersey Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
E-Mail form

Dennis Van Roekel, President
National Education Association
1201 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036-3290

E-Mail form

National Assessment Governing Board (NAEP)
800 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 825
Washington, DC 20002

E-mail: nagb@ed.gov

The National Council of Teachers of English
1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096

E-mail form

International Reading Association
Kudos: They make it easy to contact the Board of Directors here

1775 Eye Street NW, Suite 410
Washington, DC 20006
ATTN: Michael Cohen, President

Take a look at the
Achieve Board of Directors. You may want to contact some of them.
Here is the form for contacting some unknown person at Achieve. My theory: Confuse someone's day.

Send it to your own governors who have blindly signed on to the Common Core Standards and Duncan's Race to the Top.

Viva! The Rabbit!

by Ramnath Subramanian

The column that I wrote last week, in which I tried to show that for talented teachers the path of good teaching often lies at the confluence of opportunity and inventiveness, brought forth a flurry of responses.

Many of the missives came on a friendly, albeit formal, trajectory of affirmation and approbation, but there was one that was conspicuous for its brevity and cryptic content. It read simply: "Remember the rabbit?"

In the early years of my teaching, when the school milieu was not infected to the egregious degree that it is today by standardized tests, my classroom was sometimes the scene of colorful and eccentric happenings.

Once, a parent walked into my classroom, and was surprised to find the teacher and the students standing atop tables. I explained to the mother that I was using the exercise, a la Robin Williams in the movie "Dead Poets Society," to impress upon students the importance of "perspective."

"Is it necessary?" the mother asked.

"No," I replied, "but it is useful. Perhaps you would care to join us?"

This suggestion received thunderous support from the student body, and the visitor acquiesced.

Suffice it to say that my classroom was fairly full of espieglerie and joie de vivre.

My classroom was also replete with esoteric beings. A girl who fancied that she could cast powerful spells with a mulberry twig constantly rearranged the student count and furnishings in my classroom. Another student brought Mrs. Sleeve to class. She was
impeccably drawn on a white shirt sleeve, and her loquaciousness, which the students enjoyed immensely, proceeded from the clever manipulation of the student's thumb and index finger. I am inclined to think that I had more conversations with Mrs. Sleeve than I did with the student for the weeks that the former attended my classes.

Then there was the rabbit named Oscar, who was big and invisible. The boy who brought him to class said that Oscar was shy but that he had convinced him to attend school because he needed an education. I thought immediately of the movie "Harvey," and of E.B. White's classic novel "The Trumpet of the Swan," but said nothing.

Accommodating Oscar was not always easy. He took up a lot of classroom space. He barely fit through the door, and had to be pushed through it, especially on days when he overate. He also displayed no finesse handling food, which, claimed the students, accounted for all the mess in the cafeteria.

Then one day, just like that, Oscar disappeared. Things had been going well for him -- even on the academic front he had received a salutary progress report -- and it was difficult to fathom his disappearance.

We organized a search party.

"How can we look for an invisible rabbit?" asked a student, astutely.

I reiterated a lesson from our study of the structure of atoms, wherein it was shown that things invisible to the eye can be studied by the impact they have on surrounding, visible objects.

An entire class period was spent looking for Oscar, but to no avail. "It is only fitting," said I, when all the potential hiding or resting places had been exhausted, "that each of you write a homage to our friend, Oscar."

The tributes brought out the best in writing, for Oscar was a special friend.

Ramnath Subramanian, a sixth-grade science teacher at Eastwood Knolls School in El Paso, writes for the El Paso Times on educational topics. E-mail address: ramnath10@aol.com

— Ramnath Subramanian
El Paso Times



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