I responded to an e-mail from President Obama's campaign committee espousing his position on education. I pointed out that educators nationwide are displeased and disappointed in the realities of recent policy decisions coming out of his Department of Education. I also asked for the opportunity to meet, along with my colleagues from Save Our Schools, with Pres. Obama while in Washington D.C. for the Save Our Schools People's Conference this August. Here is the quick response I got my the campaign and the response I sent back.
Thank you for your message about education and for sharing your thoughts with us. The President’s campaign is being built by the voices of the American people and messages like yours will always help shape it.
The President knows that in order to create well-paying jobs of the future, and an economy that’s built to last, we have to out-educate our global competitors. That means giving every student the quality education they deserve.
To help provide every child the opportunity to go as far as their ambition and hard work will take them, the President has:
· Helped states raise K-12 standards, invest in teachers and turn around low-performing schools so that children are prepared for college and careers of the future. (Watch this video about the President’s view on No Child Left Behind)
· Made college more affordable for millions more middle-class students. His student loan overhaul moved more than $60 billion from big banks, which had acted as middlemen, and used the savings to double our investment in college scholarships, provide Pell Grants to an additional 3 million students, and strengthen community college programs to make them more relevant to business needs. (Watch this video about Student Loan Reform to learn more about this important legislation.)
· Fought for funding to save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of teachers across the country.
President Obama has fought hard to out-educate the rest of the world, but we need to do more. Please visit the President’s record on education, or sign up to stand with the President as he continues to fight for the issues that affect your life.
If you haven’t seen it already, we urge you to watch the short film The Road We’ve Traveled. It’s about President Obama's first three years in office and the tough calls he made to get our country back on track.
Thank you again for your message and for joining the conversation about education in America.
Obama for America
Mr. Kvaal -
Thank you for your quick response. Let me respectfully respond that there is a disconnect between the President's VISION for education and its application under Ed. Sec. Arne Duncan.
Sec. Duncan has managed to maneuver billions of dollars in federal funding into a carrot and sticks assemblage of take-it-or-leave-it, have- it-my-way-or-the-highway competitive grants. Many cash strapped state and local schools districts desperate for some relief have bought into those grants which required legislation that has changed the landscape of our local systems in disastrous ways.
That has fallen right into the hands of those who would privatize our public education system for profits to feed their corporate free enterprise feast served up mostly for and by Republicans. If you take a close look, Mr. Kvaal, the vast majority of promoters of privatization (charters/vouchers etc.) ARE NOT QUALIFIED EDUCATORS. Just look at our own state Superintendent John White - a former Teach for America grad with no other real business or education expertise or experience. Then look at our Governor Bobby Jindal who is pandering to the reform agenda to serve his own political aspirations.
In truth, Mr. Kvaal, this education reform debacle LED BY SEC. DUNCAN'S inordinate intrusion and influence on state policies is UNDERMINING Pres. Obama's chances of holding on to his office. I just have to wonder if Pres. Obama is being misled and the voices of so many of his constituents have been quelled so that his VISION for education is contradictory and contrary to the realities of his administration.
I would still respectfully and with a great sense of desperation ask for an audience with Pres. Obama to speak candidly about what is rapidly becoming a historic hoax perpetrated on the citizens of the United States of America using powerful rhetoric that is misleading and destructive to our democratic institution of public education. If I sound like a radical, it's because I think I have become one in my efforts to revive the opportunity for ALL children to receive an education of the quality that Pres. Obama feels his own children are receiving.
Lee P. Barrios, M.Ed. NBCT