Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Response to the SOTU

I started writing a response to a Facebook post and then realized I had more to say. So here is my response to President Obama's State of the Union speech, especially what he had to say about education.

I'm glad he mentioned teaching to the test but the President's education plan is deeply flawed. He said we needed more competition in education and this is a huge fallacy.

Education is NOT a business.

Educating children to be competent for the future cannot be reduced to a test score. The testing industry is strangling the American public education system to death. Cash strapped schools spend precious resources on testing materials while children get less art, less music, and less physical education and recess.

I support our President. I believe he is the right man for the job. But I think he's been misled by corporate reformers who control our educational system.

I ask President Obama to think about the school his two beautiful daughters attend. I believe the school is called Sidwell Friends. If you think that school is good enough for your children then it should be good enough for all our children. Start from there. Demand that all children have access to high quality schools that you would want for your own children. Schools that do not drill and kill our children with high stakes testing and a suffocating curriculum. Want the best schools for all of America's children and then set out to make that a reality.

Listen to those who work closest with America’s children: our teachers. They are trained in education unlike you and the corporate reformers. They are invested in making public schools work. But they are kept away from a seat at the table where educational policies are put into play that has real consequences for real children. You must value the voices of the teachers and parents over the desires of corporate philanthropists, CEO’s, and hedge fund managers who seek to turn education into a commodity.

I know they talk a good game about accountability, school choice, and helping all children, but I beg of you to make sure you are hearing both sides of the education debate. There are ways to increase academic achievement and improve public schools but you will not find them on a standardized test. So why not start by asking a teacher?