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.