If I was Arne Duncan, I would be telling President Obama, we’ve made some terrible mistakes.
I’d tell him we were wrong on getting schools to Race to the Top.
I would tell President Obama we should be getting public schools to MARCH TO THE TOP.
I would tell him enough with the race, not everyone wins in a race! We should be working to get all schools the resources they need, without pre-existing conditions, without high stakes testing, and without targeting teachers, to join our march.
I’d tell President Obama we need to arm our teachers, not with guns, but with real weapons to wipe out the inequities that many public schools suffer from due to location, poverty, and the lack of real funding. PUBLIC SCHOOL Teachers need resources, they need adequate budgets, they need job security, they need a future, they need the respect of the nation.
I’d tell President Obama we need to make our schools safer for children. We must provide resources to fix crumbling buildings. We must remove threats to our children and teachers that they face in our schools such as; poor HVAC, leaky roofs, hazardous buildings, overcrowded structures, dangerous neighborhoods, and yes… secure doors, windows and grounds.
I’d tell President Obama we need to secure funding for support services for children; we need an improved mental health system, we need social workers armed with resources geared towards families; we need to increase special education funding and remove obstacles such as programs, like RTI, which actually make it more difficult for children to receive the intervention services they need.
I’d tell President Obama that schools need help to establish programs that would strengthen families and neighborhoods. Funding must be secured to enable public schools to reclaim their position as the center of community life.
I’d tell President Obama, that our children are our nation’s most important asset and that the privatization of public education jeopardizes that asset. Charter schools divert funds from our public schools and the trend to divert needed funds from public schools must be reversed.
I’d tell President Obama that the latest social experiment called Common Core Standards is destined to hurt our academic standing in the world. I’d tell him that our children represents our nation’s future and these standards ignore the diversity that is our greatest strength.
I’d tell President Obama that our policies are wiping the arts out of public education. While schools are racing, the arts are being shed like clothing in a marathon.
Most importantly, I’d tell President Obama that we must stop demonizing teachers. I’d tell him that politicians should be a nation’s scapegoats not teachers. I’d tell him that the current efforts to evaluate teachers is dangerous and could put our nation at risk.
If I was Arne Duncan, I would tell President Obama, we got it wrong on public education and it needs to be fixed, otherwise the fiscal cliff will seem like walk in the park compared to the abyss our poor education policies will create.