Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Parent Alert / A Letter to President Obama

Parent Alert!

Parent Alert! Do you really believe the nightmare of high-stakes testing of children as young as 5, the grade retention policies that fly in the face of decades of research, scripted curriculum, narrowed offerings, larger class sizes and lack of classroom resources is going away on its own? Have you heard of ALEC, Broad, DeVos, or Whitney Tilson? Are you aware that the rich and powerful want to privatize public education, close public schools and turn them over to big business, remove the authority of local school boards, get rid of experienced teachers who will be replaced by short-term neophytes and that they are doing it with the help of the US Department of Education?
There is something you can do to stop this travesty. It is small, but significant. Thousands of parents and teachers have signed a letter to President Obama calling for an end to high-stakes testing and the punitive actions associated with them. The letter calls for the involvement of parents and teachers in the policy decisions of the USDOE. Finally, the letter calls for the dismissal of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the man who should be defending your children against privatization efforts, but instead is complicit in the dismantling of the public education system. To read the letter, go to http://dumpduncan.org/. If you agree with the premise, sign the letter and speak out for your children.

For further information, consult the website, http://dumpduncan.org or phone Bob Valiant at 509.783.8883.
A Letter to President Obama

Two grandparents on opposite ends of the continent each had a concern about the direction of education reform and its effect on their grandchildren.  Through a chain of improbable circumstances they found each other on Facebook and conjured up a letter to President Obama expressing their concerns. 

Mark Naison, from Brooklyn, NY and a Fordham professor prepared a draft of the letter.  Bob Valiant, retired school administrator from Kennewick, WA, edited the letter and Bob Valiant Jr. developed a survey form and website, http://dumpduncan.org.  The letter calls for the removal of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the inclusion of parents, teachers, and school administrators in all administration policy discussions.  It insists on the immediate end to penalties and incentives to compel using student test scores to evaluate teachers, require school closures, or install charter schools.  Finally, the letter asks for a National Commission, to include parents and teachers, to explore ways to improve the public schools.

Naison and Valiant Sr. began to circulate the letter to friends on Facebook.  The signatures started rolling in and now more than 6700 total signatures have been recorded. A map on the website shows they came from all across the country, from big cities, suburbs, and hamlets.  All of this happened with a purely volunteer cadre made up of parents, teachers, and other concerned citizens with no financial expenditure.  Now the goal is to continue collecting signatures until June 1 when the letter and package of signatures will be delivered to the President.

For further information, consult the website, http://dumpduncan.org or phone Bob Valiant at 509.783.8883.

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