Sunday, April 17, 2011

338 words

Dear Mr. President,

Recently you spoke to students about education and said, “One thing I never want to see happen is schools that are just teaching the test. … young people do well in stuff that they're interested in. They're not going to do as well if it's boring." I absolutely agree.

Why then, Mr. President, do you want to continue to impose an inferior educational system based on high-stakes testing on the rest of the nation’s non-elite children? Why is it acceptable to subject children living in poverty, most of whom are children of color, to a punitive educational system that limits their curricula, kills their love of learning and fails to support the most struggling students, effectively making it impossible for these children to catch up to their more affluent peers. Why do you support a system that begins labeling children as failures at 5 years old, and makes it essentially impossible for those children to escape that label?

Research does not support the policies being advocated by your Secretary of Education. School turnarounds and charter schools staffed by unqualified teachers have been proven failures. Both you and Mr. Duncan need look no further that your former backyard, Chicago, to see the failure of those policies. High-stakes testing serves to dumb down curricula and encourage cheating. Look what happened recently in Ms. Rhee’s former school district.

Think of your own children, Mr. President. Would you want Sasha and Malia taught by highly qualified, experienced educators, or recent college graduates with no background in educational theory, pedagogy or child development? Would you want your daughters’ curricula limited to reading, writing, and arithmetic? Would you want your daughters sentenced to an educational system that is nothing more than a test prep assembly line? I am sure your answer would be ‘absolutely not’.

Please, Mr. President, we want our children to have an educational system like your daughters have. We want equitable funding in our schools. Those are goals that would be worthy of your administration.


A Teacher Anon


  1. The SOS March people are collecting 338 word letters to send to the President. 338 because his recent statement about not wanting his daughters in test prep environments was 338 words long. He quickly got called out on this and the 338 letter movement was born.