Opine I will

I am an elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

Dear President Obama

The deadline to send emails to the President to support the Campaign for Our Public Schools is October 17. Here are instructions about where to send them.

Send them either to this blog or to Anthony Cody at Anthony_Cody@hotmail.com.

Here’s mine 

October 15, 2012

Dear President Obama,

This election will be very close, unnecessarily close in my humble opinion. I’m afraid that some teachers may be reluctant to vote for you due to your often contradictory statements and policies regarding education reform.  Due to your perceived unwillingness to truly listen to the concerns of teachers across the nation, we may be facing a situation that could bring us the devastating educational consequences of a Romney presidency.  It’s never too late for true change. Even for you.

Mr. President, teachers aren’t interested in dedicating their life’s work to a competition. We’re not interested in having a “Race to the Top” or having to worry about financial awards or punishments based on junk science. Financial incentives may work in sales, but they don’t work when working with children.

Mr. President, you proclaimed, in your State of The Union, that we need to stop teaching to the test and we need to respect teachers. Unfortunately, your policies do neither. Race to the Top has spawned even more testing than ever. In New York State, under our new teacher evaluation plan (APPR) students are tested multiple times in all subjects (even in gym) to measure their teacher’s effectiveness!  I calculated my students will lose at least the equivalent to 90 periods of valuable learning time due to APPR and Race to the Top. 90 periods lost forever! That’s not change to believe in, that’s abusing teachers and students.

My school has been named a ‘Reward School’ in New York State. That means we are one of the top performing schools in the entire state. Yet, Mr. President, our students must undergo even more testing, to ensure we teachers are effective. Is this respecting our accomplishment? Is this respecting us as professionals? As teachers?

Teachers have become our nation’s scapegoats and we are waiting for you to push the pendulum of blame towards the real culprits. Mr. President, graduation rates are at all-time highs, the achievement gaps are closing rapidly, college enrollments are up, and more students are graduating with advance degrees than ever. Yet you have us “Racing each other to the Top”.

Most importantly, Mr. President, our public schools are what sets our country apart from everyone else. Public school teachers are the true backbone of our nation. Our public school doors’ are open to all, unlike private and charter schools. Mr. President, we need you to stop endorsing the privatization of public education. 84% of charter schools underperform public schools. Thousands of Public schools outperform the best charter schools. Our future should not be for sale to the highest bidder or to the ‘reformer’ that’s more focused on profits than children.

Mr. President, your policies are demoralizing our nation’s teachers. It’s time do what you promised us. End Race to the Top, put an end to abusive testing, and respect our nation’s teachers. It’s time to move forward and give us the real change we can believe in.

Mr. President, it’s not too late, we really want you to win. It’s up to you.

Respectfully,

Ralph L. Ratto

Proud Teacher

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2 thoughts on “Dear President Obama

  1. Peg Metzger (NY) on said:

    Good Job , Ratto. That is a great letter.

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