You’ve Signed The Education Declaration to Rebuild America

Thank you for taking this important step in support of progressive education reform.

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371 thoughts on “You’ve Signed The Education Declaration to Rebuild America”

    1. I signed it … but I was disappointed that there was no mention of private corporations and foundations essentially making education policy, or of investors who have a huge stake in large scale (let’s test every child every year in nearly every subject) standardized testing companies. Follow the money.

    2. Great! America’s children don’t need to be part of the new “Education Industrial Complex” designed to put $billions into the pockets of Oligarchs under the guise of philanthropic endeavors.

    3. Building a national movement is a wonderful idea. Peter, do you know how to begin this movement? A national movement is needed to rescue our schools and save the children.

  1. This is a very timely and much needed declaration. It is time for those of us in the education trenches to speak up for the children we educate. The current Edu-Deforms being imposed on public schools are harmful to our future and contribute to the widening of the achievement and opportunity gap. My only concern is the use of the term “school to prison pipeline”. It has been my experience that the pipeline begins way before children enter school and is usually the result of the home environment in which the child is being raised. It is as simple as placing blame on the parent or the school, but more so on societal issues that come from living in high poverty situations. This pipeline is created not by schools, but by larger familial problems that cause children to face life challenges that spill over to school. Our District Attorney has created a program in our area to work with schools to hold parents accountable as well as schools. This type of program is critical in keeping children on track. Schools can not do it alone.

    1. Thanks, Bridget. Poor home environments are perpetuated by poor educational opportunities as well as misguided policies that feed the type of societal issues that in term feed family issues born of poverty.

    2. Amen to what Bridget says. Also, I am tired of hearing advice from people who have never taught, from those who think they know all the answers. If you have never taught, then please refrain from giving advice to those of us who know what it’s really like in the classroom, who really know what it’s like to deal with parents, etc.

      1. Carmell thank you for that comment, those that are making educational decisions have NO right to do so…mechanics don’t tell doctors how to operate!

    3. In order of importance:
      1. Parents need to PARENT;
      2. Schools need to TEACH;
      3. Government needs to fulfill its duty to the PEOPLE.

      THIS will lay the better foundation for our childrens’ futures.

    4. I would love to hear what the District Attorney is doing . Please message me if possible I am very concerned about my district and would love to gather ideas about this issue. Liz Mikitarian from Florida

  2. Michael Jordan said: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
    People ask me if I ever get tired of fighting this madness that reduces our public schools to testing factories. They ask, how can you be sure your walking to DC changed everything? I smile knowing it changed me, and that changes everything for a man willing to take 9000 shots to change the world.
    Still walking, still marching, signing. and not even close to being tired,
    Jesse The Walking Man Turner

  3. It is time we take back America. Congress no longer serves the people and corporations (including Wall Street) have created a fascist state. People of the United States: Stand up for what is right!

    1. Tom, you are speaking the TRUTH!!! Too bad most people believe things will improve w/o people doing anything…I see mostly sheeple….where are the PEOPLE?????

    2. Excellent. Congress is bought. They only care about getting re-elected and not the shepherding of America’s progress.

    3. Tom, I agree 100%. I’m a retired high school teacher with over thirty-five years in public education. Charter schools, benchmarks, standardization–all destroy education. We are witnessing a fascist state with corporate power controlling too much of our lives and doing so with government help, regardless of party. After all, standardization came from the Business Roundtable with administrative bobbleheads going along.

    4. we are no longer a democracy, but a plutocracy that has no concern about the future of our society. although soon it will become crystal clear what is happening and then the common people will rise up against these right wing nut jobs who support the republican party, which only wants to privatize everything that they can get their greedy, dirty hands on. we must demand that our senators and congressmen represent us, the ones who voted them in, and immediately abandon their service to the rich. otherwise, they too will suffer, as is the middle-class, when the 1% no longer need their services because they control the money, which is what it is all about. we cannot continue to tolerate the turgid and supercilious behaviors of these sell-outs. it is time for mass civil disobedience and, if necessary, the overthrow of a government which is no longer “of the people’ by the people, and for the people.” otherwise, this great experiment in democracy will utterly fail, as Karl Marx said it would do. liars and cheaters must be called-out for what they are and not treated as if what they say and do is reasonable and pragmatic. as benjamin disraeli said, “Justice is truth in action.” soon, these liars and cheaters will see action as they have never seen it before as true patriots obliterate their erroneous ideologies and perverted doctrine. then the republican party will be nothing more than a vague memory and justice for all will again have meaning.

    5. Correct, we must NATIONALIZE our own government and get the influence of money and the moneyed class out! DESTROY Citizens United, DESTROY the Gerrymander, Public funding ONLY of all elections, NO PRIVATE MONEY from any source including candidates, Close the revolving door between congress and lobbyists FOREVER. We need a separation between business and state that is stronger and better enforced than the one between church and state. Only then can we have and defend a government of, by and for the people.

  4. The Republicans, Chamber of Commerce/Alec will continue to do everything in their power to stop this reform. An educated populace is not in their best interest. I will forward this email to my friends and know they will sign the Education Declaration.
    Thank you for working hard to help America’s children get a good education.

    1. That’s it exactly, Carol: just recall that it was against the law in mny places to teach a slave to read. In order to hoodwink a population, withhold education.

      1. Very True, All Comments.. tis Amazing, with all the cascading effects of electronic sociaty that people just don’t get out and throw the bums out, I have been all across amerika, and peoples thoughts are surprisingly the same, tho you have many who are hynotized by the constant blather from the talking heads,, this country was founded on public consent and public education was a radical thing also, privatizing schools leaves it open to have muslim madrasses opened in this country, teaching islamo fanaticism, as we have our own fundies preaching inclusion or exclusion,, sad, exclude me from exclusionary religions,,, but in our consumeristic fantasy, of maybe we’ll be a 1%er on day it is hopless.. the blind lead the blind,,,so watch TV, drink increasingly polluted water, breath the dank air of dwindling resources, and do nothing all the while told the we are the greatest,,, one wonders if the lead poisoning of the Romans was similar

    2. Yes, Carol. But as I recall, Arne Duncan is Obama’s appointee. Many, many Dems have it all wrong as well. Both parties are complicit, both are guilty.

    3. ummm…school issues and the decline of the schools is every bit a part of all citizens priority, REPUBLICANS included. Its as if you feel better educated by making a statement like that. Do you really believe that ones political affiliation, especially republican families, want to see our children indoctrinated and sanitized of the truth and history and be failures?? We want our children educated in the best way possible, same as the democrats…pull your head out of high and mighty are but one uninformed vote

    1. The Education Declaration to Rebuild America pertains to “all students” and states that in several places.

    2. As a parent of a child with Down Syndrome who is now 34, and also as a retired Montessori of 38 years, I believe that the education of disabled children is vital not only for charitable and compassionate reasons, but because diasbled children are less able to suceed with whatever haphazard system or technique or educational fad that may be thrown at children of “normal” abilities. With disabled children you have to get it “right” or they don’t make it. They don’t just muddle through, as we expect regular children to do. The Montessori method itself is an example of this. When Maria Montessori found a method that allowed mentally to exceed their “normal” peers in one year’s time, everyone commented upon what great work she had done with the disabled. Maria herself said: If I can do this with disabled children, what is wrong with the current education system. We have the mentally disabled to thank for Maria Montessori’s contributions to the education of the rest of our children.


  6. It’s heartening to see leading advocates for our long-endangered public school system come together to mobilize others who share this value into a movement to defend and develop this fundamental national treasure before it’s altogether lost.

  7. Having taught at the University level, I have seen at first hand the damage done by ‘teaching to the test’. With the current system, teachers are forced to focus on their students doing well on the benchmark tests. The result is that students memorize answers without an in depth understanding of the material. They are also inadvertently taught is that all that matters is whether the material will be on the test. In college the students are very good at memorization, but many are not able to understand the material taught. In addition, the big question seems to be ‘Will it be on the test?’

    1. The Republicans’ long-standing contempt for a modern, comprehensive education system has pushed the US well behind the modern nations, unable to compete in the modern world market. We can no longer afford to let the survival of this country be determined by a handful of rich legislators who are obsessed with an ideology that is disconnected from reality.

    2. i second that i paid attention in class had a great memory , straight a’s all the way through. got to college i was lost.

    3. Having done a considerable amount of global recruiting for software engineers, I can’t tell you how much I agree with the damage done by overally test focused educations. I’ve encountered countries (major players in developing software engineering talent) where the vast majority of recent grads aren’t hireable for my standards. These otherwise very bright candidates can give you the textbook solution to any well known problem. But when asked “Why does it work that way?” or to solve a lesser known variation of a problem you get radio silence. The “best” candidates from these educational systems are great at regurgitating material but have an amazingly low amount of working knowledge at the foundation. In an industry that thrives on free thinking and outside the box solutions, they just aren’t well prepared by their systems.

      Do not let the US educational systems go down this same path!

    4. You are SO right about these ridiculous benchmark test and what it is doing to students! The whole curriculum is centered around the benchmark test, without giving our kids any real depth into what they are learning about. I can understand how the teachers must feel as this is in a way their report card, but when my kids come home with school work or homework and it is based on only what is needed to know so as to pass these tests. I get to play teacher and try to teach them what it is they are learning about and why. I’m all for continuing learning at home, but I am not a teacher and sometimes think I may be doing more damage then good or at the very least confusing them. The many shortcuts being used to meet the allotted time before the benchmark hurts every kids education severely. We are military and have had the opportunity to have our kids in great schools and in some pretty bad ones which makes me even more concerned about the road our education system is taking. One of my children has dyslexia, while at one school(for kindergarten) they said nothing needed to be done till 3rd grade. When 3rd grade came and we were at a new station the school felt they couldn’t/wouldn’t help because she hadn’t been diagnosed through the school system at an earlier grade..WHAT!? We were told it was up to us to find her help on our own. Like Sunil Misra says “What about our special need kids and those with disabilities”

    5. I couldn’t agree more. ‘Teaching to the test’ has been a total disaster. It is difficult to measure teaching quality like judging a great painting. But, statistical measurements do not demonstrate learning. Apparently they’re supposed to validate, or not, the expense of education. Maybe we should start measuring the validity of military expenses the same way. If we did I believe we would find we’re failing every test.

    6. You are SO right about these unproductive benchmark test and what it is doing to students! My daughter has had those exact same problems in her college courses. When the whole curriculum is based around the benchmark tests we are not giving our kids any depth into what they are learning about. When my kids come home with school work or homework and it is based on only what is needed to know so as to pass these tests, I get to play teacher and try to teach them what it is they are learning about and why. I’m all for continuing learning at home, but I am not a teacher and sometimes think I may be doing more damage then good or at the very least confusing them. The many shortcuts being used to meet the allotted time before the benchmark hurts every kids education severely. We are military and have had the opportunity to have our kids in great schools and in some pretty bad ones. Having seen so many different curriculums(wont even start in on Texas and theirs), all based on their own benchmark test makes me even more concerned about the road our education system is taking.
      One of my children has dyslexia, while at one school(for kindergarten-2nd) they said nothing needed to be done till 3rd grade. When 3rd grade came and we were at a new station the school felt they couldn’t/wouldn’t help because she hadn’t been diagnosed through the school system at an earlier grade..WHAT!? We were told it was up to us to find her help on our own. Like Sunil Misra says “What about our special need kids and those with disabilities”. Just very frustrated at our education system!

  8. I’ve seen children in churches I’ve served who haven’t appeared to be receiving the education consistent with the local area I’ve served. I support the Education Declaration, which puts teaching methodologies, and interrelationships with parents and students back in the hands of the teacher(s), and the school principal as the highest administrative authority for any school in any local area.
    Mandatory testing enforced by the government is not working. It may look good on paper; but in actual practice, it’s counter-productive at the local (classroom) level.

  9. Present educational systems are pathetic. Classrooms are grossly overcrowded. Teachers are trying to do what parents should have already done. Parents are overextended and struggling. Children are bribed with candy to cooperate, and they act out from the sugar. They also miss school, or attend while ill, infecting other children, who miss days at school. Vaccinated children are below par in health, their mental abilities are compromised, and they can’t keep up. Over 50 shots are recommended in the first year. How can children possibly need that much drugging [or any] so early in their lives. This situation is being pushed by drug companies – and doctors are paid to do this, and have investment in drug companies. The babies and children are victims of big business. They put pressure on parents to comply through fear tactics. Children’s diet is largely fast food, cheap and not nourishing. Monsanto has created a food supply that is dead, and wheat is toxic today. It harms them. How can we grow healthy and capable children if the law is to put every handicap in their way? Wake up people!! What happened to nature’s way?

  10. I have signed this education declaration but am hopeful this means public school education for all children as well as early childhood education. I believe Charter schools are the worst choice for the future of education. Making money the most important thing is a wrong headed choice. Besides not being accountable to state requirements, the lack of teachers who do not belong to unions and profits, creates an atmosphere which spawns a crass “cash at all costs” mentality.

  11. Glad to be on the list. I’ll be glad to do my part to rebuild our country. There is a great deal of work to do but I’m unemployed, a 56 year old lawyer who has no desire to be part of the justice system as it exists now in this country. But I’m game for any work that involves socially useful work. I spent about 12 years as a public defender and have no desire to be a cog in that judicial wheel again, but am open to other possibilities that involve helping make the arc of justice bend towards justice.

  12. The new educational system must start with “Self-Discovery Science” using biofeedback and neurofeedback exercises and/or games to t each focus of attention and stress management. Teachers should be asked to participate. As an old teacher, I have encountered many stressed teachers, who then pass that stress on to their students. With a simple inexpensive Skin Conductance Response (SCR – formerly called GSR) biofeedback machine, students can see how they are all connected in energy. For a FREE 80-page booklet of theory and lesson plans for grades 5 through 12 go to…. go to the bottom of the home page and click on “Self-Discovery Science” __ included in this is a 40″ (print out 4 pages in landscape format, and tape them together) of an electromagnetic spectrum chart in color to show how human energies (heart rate and brainwaves, etc. relate to those of sun, earth and sound. The Ionosphere-Earth Wave Guide is a frequency of the earth that is in brainwave range… Learning to become very still, one can learn to resonate with the earth, trees, etc., and establish a calm mind.

  13. Folks, the real truth of the matter is if we can take away the torah/talmud influence from washington and congress we will have a better constitution for the people because the torah/talmud teaching break down our constitution as you have seen the results of their moved to a master plan. It is not a religious but a regional laws of talmud/torah to a cult that is destroying our country following that law. Look up a true story on BENJAMIN FREEDMAN.
    Jerry Keller

  14. This will work only if you include and listen to the ideas and experiences of true teachers. Solutions for problems in education cannot be made by politicians. Classroom teachers knew from the beginning that No Child Left Behind would never work. Remember not to assume that there is a level playing field for all teachers. Not so. Students come to us with a variety of background experience, quality of parenting, and ability level. They will never all achieve at the same level.

  15. Having taught primary education for 30 years as well as special education I retired when testing became more important than teaching and learning. Most of my students when on to successful careers and/or college long before they were over tested. Tell me also how we can judge teachers based solely on student testing? Do all students have the same educational experiences, family incomes and stability, pre-school experiences, parent involvement and healthy meals? Many of these things greatly effect a student’s ability to learn and perform to their best ability. When I was young I often became stressed on test days and had severe migrane headaches. I was also a perfectionist when it came to filling in the bubbles correctly. I never felt these test accurately measured my abilities.

  16. With the leadership of the two major education unions and writer Jonathan Kozul as well as others; this should be meaningful and I look forward to participation.

  17. The future of the United States as well as the world depends on our children. We MUST provide the best possible education for them. The recent, extremely short-sighted efforts have denigrated our teachers and denied our children. We also must provide a healthy environment and a safer world.

  18. Education is one of our basic civil rights, keep this in mind. along with the fact that there are those who will use education or lack of to keep some down.

  19. It is always good to make sure no one is left behind a mind is a terrible thing to waste. This is the goal setting factor that is the altimate excuse for bringing the best out of teaching. We in 2013 with all of the technology all excuse are of the past. Learning is instrumental beginners second chair first chair. All wants the best and money should never rule intelligence. The altimate TEST/

  20. I have taught at levels ranging from 7th grade to post-graduate. “Teaching to the test” is not education. Education must focus on how to analyze information, not regurgitation of facts. Education must free students to think, not indoctrinate them in what to think. Teachers are the single most important factor in education. They must be free to teach and stimulate their students to learn. Learning is a selfish endeavor, which everyone must do for themselves; but teachers provide the tools for students to learn and create the environments that stimulate a desire to learn. Education is the most positive and most certain path out of poverty.

  21. It’s about time. There is a deep corporate agenda behind the destruction of public education. The aim is to grow and perpetuate the underclass and to heighten racial division to keep ordinary people distracted from the class war that is being waged upon them. Let’s hope they see beyond the scapegoating of Blacks, immigrants, the poor, and the unions, and come together to put the schools back as they were prior to the rise of the “free markets” mentality, which benefits the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. That includes the fixation on computers and technology — making these the sine-qua-non of public education tends to acculturate students (and teachers) in the corporate dogma and culture. Some instruction in computer literacy is fine, but using computers to replace functions of teachers tends to undermine the goal of fostering free and critical thinking and exchange of ideas.

  22. I am a teacher(retired) who left the profession because I could no longer believe in the mission. Teachers are brow-beaten and threatened which in turn the students are feeling the stress. School is no longer an enjoyable or safe environment. We we REQUIRED to give our students 24 tests per year in addition to the district and state mandated tests for a total of 179 tests for each student for each year. Divergent thinking is gone. Critical thinking is gone. School is joyless. Teaching is joyless. God help us all……

    1. Miki, I heard myself when I read your words. I spent 26 years teaching in a K-12 public school (Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana) in 1986. My early years in the classroom ( 6th grade – 8th grade ELA) were a joy. I spent countless hours looking for new ideas to keep my students engaged and challenged. When I retired last year, I felt over-whelmed and stressed. All creativity and joy were gone. I no longer felt I was teaching; I was simply preparing my students for “THE TEST”. Each year began with new mandates and threats if the mandates weren’t met. I knew my students deserved more, but I felt powerless to meet their needs and the mandates. I agree if we continue in the direction we are going, God help us all!

  23. All of us who wish to preserve Public Education for future generations must act quickly and forcefully to prevent its dismantling. Charter Schools managed by private enterprises; vouchers; the proliferation of private schools under a variety of religious or other supporting labels; home schooling; the increasing number of educational administrators without teaching experience or teaching credentials; an incredible number of tests invalid and unreliable for their acclaimed uses; some well-funded foundations are all examples of efforts to erode confidence in and financial support for Public Education. Our nation became strong after WWII ,in large part, because of our strong support of the G.I Bill and funding for public education. That level of support has certainly declined since the golden days of post WWII. We have well-educated educational researchers, experienced and well-educated teachers interested primarily in helping children learn, parents who want the best learning environment for their children, and professional educators who stand ready to help those parents who find it difficult to help their children. Let’s return public education back to these groups and remove the politicians and the private enterprises who are mainly interested in acquiring for themselves the funds available for public education.

  24. Education is a Responsibility .. a Privilege .. and a Right .. !! .. Knowledge is a Tool .. The Students and Educators Need All the Tools available the build with .. It will Protect them from Ever being without .. Save Education .. !!

  25. The long Republican war against education has been very revealing. An ignorant population is much easier to manipulate and control. This agenda has also been destroying the US, pushing us further behind the modern nations, unable to compete in the international marketplace.

  26. Vouchers and Charter Schools are a great concept, but they are too readily exploited into cash cows by unprincipaled individuals. We have a long battle: continue to improve/reform, AND quash efforts to turn education into a dollar tree.

  27. The Republicans’ long-standing contempt for a modern, comprehensive education system has pushed the US well behind the modern nations, unable to compete in the modern world market. We can no longer afford to let the survival of this country be determined by a handful of rich legislators who are obsessed with an ideology that is disconnected from reality.

  28. A free and public educational system is the foundation of a thriving democracy. Educating our children to become well-rounded and creative community members is the surest path to a sustainable future. Our children are the Hope of our nation. Thank you for this initiative, this investment in our future.

  29. “Teaching to the test” works against helping students learn how to learn.Students need to be provided with time and occasion to ask generative questions, identify what they need to know and want to know, discover where to look for answers and solutions. And perhaps most important of all, students need to feel joy in learning.

  30. Students need the very low interest rates the banks want, the banks need the interest Students Loans will receive if raised!

  31. We really need to teach creativity. The local districts collect a huge amount of money through real estate taxes for schools. I don’t understand why there is not enough to pay teachers and administrators, run the buildings and keep the kids in supplies. Every home owner pays taxes for that purpose weather they have school age kids or not. I’d like to see a break down of how the money is spent.

  32. I have my doubts about the full-day of learning for pre-schoolers, but of course it depends on what that learning would comprise. My children went to a Montessori pre-school, where they learned about the world around them, including their social environment, and how to interact with it. I found this approach allowed for each child to explore their own individuality within the group and to be creative. Any kind of institutionalized learning tends to press students into a pre-set mold, which leads to the kind of conformist, one-dimensional society we find ourselves in today.

  33. (From a recent letter to Washington and assorted TUMBLR posts on Jules’ Journal:) We should be investing in our kids, high school and college students, middle school and grammar school and pre-school. They are the crown of the nation, they are our thinking, breathing, texting future. They are part of the planet keepers who will bring the world to its senses. They are already globalists. We see our schools fail to achieve excellence. Although conservatives frame this as “school failure,” progressives could frame this as “our collective failure,” or the failure of citizens to do what is needed to give our future leaders an education in excellence. A culture of learning would enrich the planet and the nation many fold. Sitting in school all day and sitting at home for hours afterwords is not only making us fat. It’s dumbing us down. Why do we stop having fun learning and playing by the age of seven, eight or nine? Why does the excitement about going to school fade as the homework, often busywork, piles on? How we teach our children where they’ve come from so they can show us where we’re headed is everyone’s concern. Giving them tools to unlock both “doing” and “being” is a necessity. A common good. A basic national objective. In Singapore, the top 20% of high school students are offered full tuition and a stipend to four years of teaching college. Their subsequent jobs are respected and they are highly paid. In America, we must re-frame the discussion on education. The sooner, the betterer.

  34. Yes to Public Schools. After reading many posts on the internet news articles it is clear our young prople are in extream need of a great public school system.

  35. The deep pockets behind the Republican Party/ United States Chamber of Commerce/ ALEC decided some time back that they do not want to bank roll public education. That costs money – tax dollars – they are philosophically opposed to spending. We cannot continue to allow them to sandbag our kids, their education and their future by devoting their not insignificant fortunes to destroying public education by underwriting lobbies that work at the state and federal levels to continuously cut funding for the important programs from Head Start to Pell Grants. If there are politicians that do not work with us, we need to let them know that they can expect to see us in their districts in the next election cycle to work for their defeat. It can no longer be business as usual. Save Public Education NOW!

  36. I was an adult school teacher and had senior citizens from the former USSR for over 16 years. They were attending school as retired people and not trying to get into the work force normally, yet they were constantly submitted to irrelevant testing focused on work and vocational preparation. Many of them had worked years in their country as teachers, engineers, doctors, etc. This was terrible, but nothing like the time wasting testing my step daughter is required to do teaching elementary school. And I am opposed to the idea of not funding sports or the arts, and then drugging energetic young children who don’t have physically healthy outlets for their energy so that they will sit quietly and be good little zombies. Music instruction is proven to raise math testing scores. You have a reason to be able to count, and applied learning is always the best kind.

  37. I applaud your determination but I think America is finished. We have failed to react to all of the assaults on our freedom and democracy and now we will be slaves.

  38. The false ‘god’ of Libertarianism, proposes that anything coming from the government is bad, and that any socialist programs are doomed to fail, but a government of the people and by the people must consider their philosophy treasonous at best. Building an education system is a social program, so is building fire and police stations. There are many countries that use social programs for the benefit of all. There is not a single example of a government based on a libertarian philosophy in the world at any time. At its best it is a failed philosophy that serves no one but the greedy interests of the wealthy few.

  39. Here in New Mexico, the public schools all “teach to the test” – this includes the special-ed kids as well. The young people that I come into contact with at my job at my church don’t benefit, as my generation did, the well balanced education that they deserve. Most have little knowledge in the areas of geography and history. “No Child Left Behind” is failing to produce the well-rounded citizens that our country needs to keep the USA strong and well informed in the future.

  40. Why can’t Congress get it right on the most simple matters? Educating our youth is a must for our future.
    The US Congress is not working in the best interest of their constituents or our Country. The Congress is working for special interest. Under current rules, many, if not most, Congress members simply go for the big campaign donations that special interest groups can easily award to any or all parties. Special interest groups know that, in return for big campaign donations, they can get any legislation they want or can kill any legislation they do not want.
    To free politicians from special interest control, we need a new way to fund Congress member political campaigns. Our Nation and the US Treasury would be far better served if Congress developed and approved legislation for a new public mass media provision that sufficiently supports all party Congress member election and reelection campaigns. Let our Nation (rather than special interest and the wealthy) receive the rewards from campaign financing.

  41. In a Queens middle school, my children were given a project to form a family tree, back to old countries. The teacher presumed anyone living in the city must be immigrant, first or second generation Americans. They should be able to be proud of their own heritage and not be ashamed of who they are for not living in the suburbs!

  42. Different children have different aptitudes. Without the outlet of music, art, crafts, shop — things some children are fed by and need — we are consigning them to feelings of failure and depression. We have harmed enough children in the last 15 years! Let the slaughter stop!

  43. Give the children of our nations future the education needed to succed Don’t allow Congress to take it away

  44. Your goals are exciting to me. The only thing I would add to your agenda is that to attract the best/brightest teachers, we need to offer them a salary that is commensurate with their education. In order to improve our entire eductional system we need to have the best minds working on the issues involved. If a gifted person is going to choose a field that is attractive to them, one of their many considerations is salary. Would you encourage your talented son/daughter to go into K-12 education?

  45. Excellent statement. I support it completely. As a middle school reading specialist (now retired) I was happy that I was not caught in the memorization trap that my co-workers find themselves in. So, I asked students to create questions that were not answered in the reading, explain what they thought was important in the story and why, and they became better readers, but that just isn’t enough. We really have to confront and change the way public education and the critical thinking of our students is being crushed by the testing craziness they are confronted with.

  46. As a Professor Emerita who went back into the field to serve as a Reading Specialist in a Dorchester charter school–also a Boston Public School, I can’t tell you how desperately this change is needed. Behaviorism can contribute to education, but in my view it should not be adopted as the primary model. That’s what’s happening at both the state and federal levels. Children from advantaged homes quite frankly can be taught almost any which way– although they shouldn’t be– and they will be OK. My kids, who are from low income homes, are vulnerable and at-risk. They need an experiential curriculum that will provide new experiences and make use of the experiences they bring with them. They need a lot of emphasis on vocabulary development since words represent concepts and the more concepts one has the easier it is to understand and manipulate ideas and information. In other words, the easier it is to learn. We are making the politicians who want simple answers to complex questions very happy; we are making the big companies that publish all these high stakes tests we’re administering and are raking in the money, especially happy. And we are doing a huge disservice to all our children, but especially our most vulnerable. I am so pleased that others recognize the problems we’re facing in education today and are committed to doing something about it. I have yet to speak to a practicing teacher who believes that what is happening in our schools today is education as it should be!

  47. My congratulations to this group of leaders for taking this desperately needed initiative. Our country’s strength and sustainability grows with fundamental and strong commitments and understanding that an Equal Educational Opportunity for all, is the centerpiece and heart of a strong democracy! We can go through the ebb and flow of the economy, push-back on militarism, good and bad times for the environment and energy, improve health care standards, and not to mention explosions of technologies. But none of these will ever make the difference that continuing and sustained “quality educational opportunities for all” keeps our democracy strong, viable and growing! I’m sure many people can site their belief about what was and is wrong with America’s education systems. Whatever it is, the most encouraging news I’ve received today is this effort with a commitment by the many leaders, who have so much at stake, to take the leadership and “right our education ship”! I’m happy not to just add my name, but to join and help build the movement.

  48. The teachers are spending more time teaching to the test than they are the books. This is a waste of time. Let the teachers & school administrators make the academic standards. Different kids learn in different ways & not every child is meant to go to college. Let the schools teach them a way to support themselves.

  49. It is imperative that America takes responsibility for our future and become an advocate for our children/youth/ young adults nad push the threshold to rebuild an educational system that will provoke independent and critical thinking in their lifestyle choices. We need to be proactive in restoring a love for the teaching/learning process where the educational professionals are respected and valued for the love, knowledge, gifts, and talents they offer in the educational arena. .

  50. Rebuilding American most certainly means rebuilding our public schools in a way that retains this most fundamental of our democratic ideals. The vandals are at the schoolyard gate, and we need millions to defend the rights of all children everywhere to an excellent education taught by professionally trained teachers.

  51. My only concern with the supporters listed on the site is the person from the American Federation of Teachers. In our Los Angeles schools I’ve often found the union leaders standing in the way of progress for students to protect their own turf. Hopefully this is an organization where the unions will really be willing to do what’s best to engage kids and foster learning and creativity instead of unions making it impossible to fire bad teachers.

  52. The students with disabilities are being excluded from being mainstreamed into regular education classes due to budget cuts and larger class sizes. In our district K-3 classes have up to 28 students so there is no room for the special needs students to join in classes with regular education peers without the class size exceeding 35! What is happening to a free and appropriate education.

  53. As CEO of Resiliency Strategies LLC, which continues to do the resiliency work begun as the former Mental Wellness Program Coordinator for the National Education Association’s affiliated non-profit, the NEA Health Information Network, and as someone who worked and attended the ReBuild the American Dream 2012 Conference in DC last summer, I am grateful for this opportunity to sign on. Teachers and all education professionals need our support. The challenges to their professional autonomy have been significant. Testing, test scores and other metrics have a role to play. However, the heart and soul of education is in the relationships among the educators, students, parents and other people who live and work in our communities. Test scores don’t motivate and inspire children to learn. People do. In today’s ever-changing and challenging world, we need lifelong learners. Connections to the people in our schools are what help to make kids and families resilient. Empowering educators to have the latitude, time, energy and resources to be responsive to the needs of our children, families and communities helps our nation be resilient.

  54. I taught in a highly regarded public school system for 33 years. I was privileged to teach a current governor, a state supreme court justice, and many, many students of all abilities and high school classes (9-12). They were all vital, vibrant human beings who have created their places in today’s world. Some have made good choices in their lives, and, unfortunately, while others haven’t, we did our best to prepare them for positive lives.

    My grandson now attends the same school system, and the changes I’ve seen are sad. The students are no longer recognized as an human beings with various skills, abilities, talents, shortcomings, fears, and hopes. Instead, they are, by necessity of structure, law, and our country’s obsession with overloaded classrooms, over-emphasized tests, and hand-cuffed teachers, viewed as chest pieces used to win over the outrageous demands and skewed expectations of the “game” they are forced to play.

    We must reevaluate the rules of this game before we fail even more of our very precious children and young people. This statement gives a clear, well-stated map back to a way to educate the ONLY hopes for the future of this country. I sincerely hope the country chooses this route.

  55. 64 / going on male retirement age:- at primary school ist memory LITTLE BOY in front of me shrieking…WHY ? school was .all new. .remembering looking up the year “run rabbits, run rabbits….run, run ” was what
    we were sent out in to the playground to RUN AROUND by:-how many women were widowed.ergo single motherS Could i really have had a bettter upbringing than , when my father died.. too young ,her friend my A. ,.LYN…. FATHER, CARER INSPIRATON…..widows in those days
    were expected to remarry..WHY? ..WHO AM I TO SAY if only i knew how to blog.. i could BORE myself at least to sleep…………

    WELL/ SHE DID have more than a few years when i thought i might have a dad.:.sat on , cuddled by, all best unsiad

  56. For those of us who have been teaching since before the shock doctrine and manufactured crisis of “A Nation at Risk,” it has been a very long 30 years of reforms thrust upon educators by politicians, business leaders and other non-educators. I am so glad to finally see this national reform movement driven by those who are actually knowledgeable of education matters and who are the real stakeholders, teachers, parents, students and communities, for the sake of our nation’s children and for democracy.

  57. The item most often overlooked in these types of issues is the essential source of the problem. The year 1983 was cited as the beginning of the downward trend in education. Ask yourselves – what was going on in 1983? Who was in control of the White House? The answer: Ronald Reagan began his programs to “make America great again.” These “reforms” led to what has become known as the “Reagan revolution.” This was the beginning of the United States’s abandonment as the leader of the “free” world in favor of privatization of education and incarceration. From here can be traced the increase in the income gap between the very wealthiest and the lower middle class. Until we address that issue we might as well be peeing in the wind.

  58. Thank goodness that some are now leading this inquiry. I taught children and middle schoolers for 10 years. I discovered that 6th 7th and 8th graders are the saviors if we would but listen to them and show them and allow them to listen to themselves. So, what is the best way to unite the pockets of teachers, schools and administrators of like mind so has to take action? Do we march? Do we stand on soap boxes and tell it like it is? Do we gather our neighbors together and provide an environment of listening to each other and have a civil intelligent discussion. Then gather our neighborhoods together and ….????? Do we go in small groups to the offices of Senators and Congesspeople and discuss. How about a NO PUT DOWNS POLICY…absolutely no putting down anyone nor any idea….Instead intelligent reasoning discussion. Would love to hear from some of you.

  59. The planned assault on education began in the late ’60s’ with the Koch Brothers approaching Ronald Reagan with a mandate: “We will run you as governor, then president if you promise to cut taxes on the wealthy”. The plan included attacks on education and teachers with the intent to erode public support of education. Public education would end and education would be all private. Then there would be little need for taxes. David Berliner’s book, “The Manufactured Crisis”. Chronicles this plan and the process to destroy public education. Don’t believe? Ask his son. He can vouch for this. Ediucators know excellent teaching and it happens every day in America. It is time to “throw money” at education the way Congress throws money to the Bankers.

  60. This is great, but Higher Ed needs your help too. Right now, 70% of instructors teaching Higher Ed do not get living wages, and our $2700/course average, without healthcare, is now being further cut, because universities do not want to pay healthcare under the Affordable Care Act coming up in 2014. So our already measly compensation is going to suffer even further cuts. Do not let this happen. Please sign my petition too:

    Ana M. Fores Tamayo
    Adjunct Justice
    Facebook Page:

  61. I’ve stayed mostly on the edges of discussions about public education in recent years because I thought it was hopeless to try to influence the “school reform” avalanche. But this statement says exactly what needs to be said and makes me think there may be hope yet for American public schools. Thank you to those who got it started.

  62. How about replacing the Sec. of Ed. with someone who demonstrates some understanding of what it takes to help our children become thinking reasoning citizens of a democracy…not someone who wants to turn our education system into a for profit…bottom line oriented…corporate model that turns out future worker bees whose innate critical thinking skills have been disconnected???

  63. I am so glad to see this reforming action! As a parent (my daughter is entering her senior year of high school) I am fully aware of the pitfalls and downside of today’s K-12 system. As a graduate student, I see far too many undergrads who cannot read, write, or do basic math – and I wonder “How did s/he get here?” I would like to see gov’t take it’s pervasive hand out of the educational till – and let professional educators and parents correct the problems politicians have created for our future!

  64. As an 81 year old retired higher education professor, I can only add that EDUCATION is the best antidote to the many problems our overpopulated planet faces. Education starts at home and is the primary task of the parent(s). The schools are important, but are indeed secondary. Teaching to the “TEST” is counterproductive. Teachers must be able to engage each and every one of their students in individualized discussions and should be able to assess and work with each student to maximize learning. This cannot be done in the typical over crowded classrooms now the norm in the US and in much of the world. The funding this requires will be opposed by the CORPORATIONS which control the Congress and our lives. However, it must be opposed by all teachers and educators from Kindergarden to the Universities. Don’t test but engage your students individually.

  65. Story telling which is fundamental for building a sense of who I am, where I am, what I do, etc. can only be done through experiential learning. Stories are the glue that keeps our society together. Let’s make story telling one of the pillars of a great education.

  66. I see teachers spending so much time teaching kids to pass the tests. The teachers are frustrated, the student’s are frustrated and the students are not motivated to think outside the box. Change will be good.

  67. Happy to see a return to creative teaching. Of course it never disappeared, but it was taking a backseat to “teaching to the test.”

  68. There is no question that education reform and restructure is imperative in this country. It is not solely because America has, to put it lightly, lost traction on the global front. We are not only not “competitive,” we have lost the ability to motivate and to help empower our students to realize that their very future depends on their own learning and the application of it in the real world. We, collectively, must change not only our systems but our expectations.

  69. The educational system of this country has been the “dumbing down” of America since Reagan, exactly what the 1% at the top want. If you are not confident, or creative, or free to exercise new ways to approach situations; if you only learn to do what you are told by the man at the top who owns the place where you work, and you accept their word as the last word of how your life should be; if you believe you are here to serve only the ones at the top, with no opportunity to question or change the “accepted” circumstance, you will have no one to solve the increasingly complex and dangerous problems we all face now and even in our near future, much less further down our path. The ones in charge right now, the ones who determine the course of this country by their wealth, do not want competition, do not want questioners, do not want critics, do not want new eyes on the subject, if they will not be the ones to profit. They have slowly been moving us back to feudal times, a few wealthy at the top with ultimate power to decide, to reward or punish, only according to how it will benefit them personally. There is no country in there. We are only a marketplace for the most cunning to fleece, our resources to be co-opted by those few. We don’t have a democracy anymore. They need serfs and indentured servants to get there. Economically they have eliminated the middle class, the group that was creative, questioning, exploring, researching, following humanist values rather than solely profit motive for a small handful at the top. I went to college to be educated. Today they go to college to get a job, and those requirements are determined by the guys who will be their bosses. They has nothing to do with demoncracy, only with personal gain, acquired by using the people here as units or objects to reach you goals. If your people aren’t sharp enough, and are scared enough, you can rule much more easily. Fear, torture, punishment and elimination are always faster and easier than an educated populace from which the ideas come that grow a whole country for everybody in it.

  70. Teaching students to pass a test, while not teaching them the history of our progression to come to these conclusions leaves huge gaps in our educations. When we comprehend the reasoning behind the solutions to the test questions, we are better prepared to deal with abstracts and other similar problems, with an ability to adapt, not just taught to resolve only one type of problem. Being able to answer a question like 3+3=6, while being unable to resolve what the solution to what 3+999= is a waste of school time and cannot be an effective way to judge a teacher’s ability to teach, if only the test question is at the heart of the teaching itinerary of the school.

  71. Quoting Einstein: “The aim of education must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, see in the service to the community their highest life achievement”, resulting in a “harmoniously developed person”. Clearly, a prosperous society is built from the ideas and achievements of a well educated public rewarded by their creativity and ability to employ critical thinking. “teaching to the test” is not the answer and is a shameful waste of talent, opportunity and fulfillment for both student and teachers. . .

  72. Public education is a hallmark of modern democratic civilization, yet the efforts to privatize and monetize education through corporate intervention in schools, colleges, and universities threaten to reverse this legacy of the past century. The principles embraced in this Education Opportunity Network campaign are consistent with the goals of public education and, therefore, warrant broad support. Indeed, we need to stand on these principles in the interest of future generations.

  73. Thank you, Sunil, for bringing up this point. Many fail to realize just how unequal Special Education is; many fail to acknowledge or are even aware of the term “schoolhouse to jailhouse”; many fail to realize that many poor and minority students are placed into the court system due to effects of their impediments and what is even more vile is that the court(s), who are supposed to abide by the law, aid and abet the school systems in violating the rights of the students and their parents.

  74. As an adult I have seen our public education system destroyed by mean spirited politicians pandering to the voters’ fears for over thirty years. It seems all too easy to blame the teachers; everyone has a story concerning a bad teacher at some point during their life. We’re easily misled, when we allow our bad experiences to muddle the discussion. Speaking anecdotally, when attending public school I never once observed an administrator in the classroom evaluating the new teachers’ performance before they achieved tenure, and yet politicians, administrators and parents blame the union for their own failure to act preemptively. There are those individuals that chose to enter the teaching field with aspirations of only working nine months out of the year, but I am appalled that our society has so maligned the profession because of those few individuals. I guess it’s easier to blame a teacher for the perceived shortcomings of our children, than it is to recognize our own. True Story: during a parent – teacher meeting the parents asked their child’s teacher (and my friend) why their son was failing the class. He told them that their son wasn’t turning in his homework; their response, “why aren’t you making him do his homework?”
    Is it any surprise that teachers are unable to capture the students’ attention, when they enter the classroom with the opinion that their teacher is trash; an opinion they hear at home and in the media, on a daily basis!

  75. The comprehensive effort is long overdue and without this kind of comprehensive coordinated effort we will continue to tread water as we watch another generation of students served short.

  76. Look at what they are doing in Philadelphia. That is a national disgrace. It will demoralize motivated students, chase families out of the city, drive down property values and discourage businesses from coming here.. Is there really anyone with common sense making decisions in that town? Or is Corbett, thought of as the nation’s worst governor, the culprit. Whoever it is, they should be ousted before anymore damage is inflicted on that school district. Funding prisons instead of schools, now there’s a formula for failure.

  77. Thank you for including Adult Education in the agenda. With 25% on young adults not graduating with their class every year, public education at all levels needs to take responsibility for meeting the challenge.

  78. Democracy that works must have educated citizens. Public education is our greatest national treasure.

  79. We must not let education slip into the hands of a few wealthy people who have their own goals. We must be true to the goals of education. These goals include providing equal opportunities and equal education for all our children whether from the richest family or the poorest family.
    To do less is to betray the very foundation of our society and we must not let this happen.

  80. What they have done to students is cripple them so they will never really be able to advance… Now they are forcing insidious reforms that go back wards, teaching kids to be worker ants who do not question, do not aspire, can’t think things through and MOST IMPORTANTLY – they do not make waves for their criminally exploitative employers…. Just another anti-american notch in the GOP’s belt and the real legacy of ReaganBush…. creating sheeple…what a terrible waste!!!! What a hideous crime agaonst our own people!!!!

  81. I can’t tell who is really behind this website. I would hate to sign on and find Michelle Rhee, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, etc. behind the curtain.
    I want education for each and every one of our students to get a meaningful education and I don’t want students tested 4x’s per year.
    I don’t want kids and teachers bored with the curriculum. I want teachers to teach as if they are teaching their own children. Educators need to listen to Sir Ken Robinson, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, people who know our children are our greatest resource. We know that we, as educators, can inspire and guide students to learn and understand living in the 21st Century. I want parents to understand what role they play in their children’s education. We need to provide resources for families to get their children learning to listen to stories on their parent’s lap, interacting, exploring, communicating, exercising those synapses, so their kids will be ready to start school. That is the education movement I want to see. We need to put our money where our values are. We are not doing that now. In education, we’ve lost our direction.

  82. Providing a safe, stimulating, interesting, rigorous, relevant, developmentally appropriate education is the task of public education. Preparing students for the 21st century is a daunting task. Cooperative and project based learning approaches are an effective venue to prepare our learners. These approaches do not always lend themselves to the narrow measures evident on high stakes tests. If necessary state testing should be less time consuming and only a data point among many. As an educator, the value of informed instruction is critical. I am in favor of thoughtful probes (in my world they are called progress monitoring measures) to guide instruction. Currently the mandated testing requirements remove students from valuable learning time.

    I agree that disruptive students should not be suspended. I have worked with far too many whose end goal is to get out of school. On the other hand it is unfair to an entire class to have their education disrupted by the behavior of one or two students. I would support systems and structures (that are not unfunded mandates) that would support these disruptive students in developing the skills necessary to function in a group learning environment. After all those social/emotional skills translate into being an effective and efficient member of our society.

  83. It is unconscionable that the schools are now pretty much run by the politicians rather than by the educators who see what is working and what is not. No Child Left Behind was one of the WORST things to ever happen to public education in this country. It is one of the few times that I had a serious disagreement with Ted Kennedy. Ted Kennedy was not an educator and had no business subjecting our students to endless testing that impedes the progress of the students while the teacher is forced to waste valuable teaching time testing and testing. While I voted for Barack Obama (twice) he also is NOT qualified to make the decisions about how our students should be educated in this country. Having spent 17 of my 27 years as a teacher, teaching in a bilingual program, I have seen how damaging this tesing course has been for our students. If we are going to insist on having each teacher reading from a script, perhaps we should spend more of our time getting our ELD students up to par since it obviously doesn’t take a university graduate to read a script.

  84. I am currently educating myself about Finland and the Finnish education system. Their emphasisis is on learning through play from ages 1-7, which includes learning to resoect each other, to be concerned about the other regardless of race or class, self reflection. All needs, physical
    and monetary. are attended to by the municipal government. The schools are clean enough to walk around with socks only. First grade begins at age 7, because they don’t want to cut short their childhood experience. From age 7-16, they have 4 classes a week on either music, art, cooking, carpentry, handicrafts.Teachers are required to have a Master’s,ave a lot of autonomy in teaching, are paid better than in other countries, and teaching is an honored profession.
    Finland is a nation of Reds and Whites since the Russian Revolution who have learned to get along with each other for the common good. Somehow, we need to do the same for the common good.

  85. One key problem that nearly everyone ignores is this: To use tests (of any kind) as a central part of teacher or school evaluation is to make assumptions about causation…that when one person/school/diistrict is compared with another, and the results are used for judgments, then these judgments are largely causal. Any student/professor of causal studies can bear witness to how fraught it is to make causal interpretations of data, and those with policy-making responsibilities have a responsibility to learn about these difficulties. The fact is that very few who have looked deeply into such issues support causal judgments, especially when done across a wide range of teachers, schools or districts. This basic fact undermines nearly all the standard arguments for using tests to evaluate teachers, schools, etc. The content or nature of the tests need not be considered at all in this framework. High stakes testing is the worst offender of all, but common core testing, which is now growing rapidly, offers no palliative of consequence either.

  86. I had a good and unusual education long ago. That possibility for today’s youth is long gone. Curiosity for information and a need to know people from all over the world is what today’s youth could be experiencing if given the chance. Creativity is in order. Thanks for this beginning.

  87. I can’t say it any better than Thomas Jefferson who created the first Library in America: “The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.”

  88. The term “school to prison pipeline” is a time tested FACT. Too many people who lived in “poverty situations” as you had mentioned have ascended to Wall Street, corporate America, and even the White House. So, although you make not like to deal with the facts…..the fact is that there has been a “school to prison pipeline” in this country for the past 25 years.

  89. The public schools were not paragons of light and truth in the late 1940s when I began going to school; I doubt they are now either. I found vastly different atmospheres in different classrooms at different grades. Good teachers could make classes where I learned exciting; great teachers could create an atmosphere where learning was a daily adventure; mediocre teachers cold make education boring; bigoted, incompetent teachers (and I had some, even in good schools in upper-middle class suburbs of NY City) made it hellish. My high school happily believed in tracking so that I was finally able to learn amongst peers who could challenge me (rather than mocking me). I went to a public college for my undergraduate degree and to an Ivy league school for my PhD. Some of my teachers at my undergraduate school were exciting, the rest were more than competent; all of my professors in graduate school were superb. I spent 35 years teaching at a major Big-10 university where some of my students were exciting and some should never have been admitted. Almost all of my colleagues were very good teachers and serious scholars; a few were not, and they generally did not receive tenure. These comments are prelude to my comments: not all teachers are good, not all students are willing to prepare for their classes, and generally students need to choose their professors wisely and work hard if they want to learn; teachers and professors must continually upgrade their own skills and continue the kind of hard work and research that got them hired to begin. If education is anything, it is a lifelong process for both students and teachers; if it isn’t, it will short-change both teachers and students.

  90. It is obvious that an educated work force is a productive work force. The quickest way to become a secondary power economically, is to have a work force that can only do those jobs that require a higher education, and then you are competing with the lowest common denominator in the world of competition. Then the negative influences are not just restricted to the lower classes of a nation, but to all classes, top to bottom. Denying opportunity to any one class of a society becomes self destructive of that society over time.

  91. Students need to be taught critical thinking skills, a love for learning and analysis–NOT meaningless facts and information to score well on standardized tests. Study skills would help, too.

  92. As a retired teacher and administrator I am heartened by this statement on education — finally — Someone has put out there what needs to be said. I’ve seen both teachers and colleagues demoralized by teaching to the test and having their professional skills questioned by politicians and power brokers who have no idea what it’s like to work with all students in a public school. I’ve seen student demoralized by a limited curriculum that asks them to sit at a desk and learn only through reading material and then being tested on it. I’ve seen students’ untapped gifts ignored as music, art, dance have been pushed to the sidelines or eliminated while sports continue to reign. Thanks for saying what I’ve been saying for several years. It’s not new. Educators have been pushing these ideas since John Dewey. Unfortunately, we seem to keep forgetting, and then have to” reinvent the wheel.”

  93. Parents must be involve with their child or children school, the administration and teachers must work together with parents, when this happens, that will get the elected officials to do their job in the local, state and federal government, once the basic foundation is firmly in place, the country, jobs, family, education, constitution, laws is the infrastructure of “United States Republic of America “

  94. The first 5 years are the most important when it comes to brain development, so Head Start and all preschool programs should be fully funded.

  95. I agree with Bridget. The schools cannot solve complicated social and economic issues alone and placing blame on the schools or on parents without clear direction and resources to better the situation will not improve the situation. Money is a start. If only a fraction of the bloated military spending were directed at education, we would see a big improvement but MONEY is only part of the picture. We need a clear mission and direction for education in each individual school so or resources are not squandered. Head Start is a great place to start because each kid in that program is taught basic social skills, some functional vocabulary and habits and most importantly how to FOCUS so they can learn when entering kindergarten instead of starting miles behind only never to catch up. Problem: Less than half the kids who qualify here get in for lack of space so we still have huge numbers of “feral children” entering kindergarten and slowing down needed education for everyone else.

    I also see that just condemning “racist discipline policies” and getting rid of “out of school suspensions” is really a cop out because no other alternative is mentioned. What about sending the truly incorrigible to another system instead of expecting the public system in charge of education to deal with those social problems? It is impossible for a school to be everything to everybody. Many schools around here have become the “repository for the poor and high needs” as middle class folks with the means and desire get their kids much better private education or HOMESCHOOL as we do. A dialogue needs to happen where we need to decide on a BASELINE of public education that we are able to provide everyone and how we can allocate resources to allow everyone to reasonably have a shot at reaching full potential. With the social implications, don’t be surprised when those of us who have chosen to have few children late in life so that we could provide the “best” for them do balk at providing a never ending pipeline of services to so many who have had way more children than they could take care of. If you are asking ALL of us as a society to take care of EVERY child, then the whole society is going to want a say in how many children can be produced and by whom. With a “whole village” mentality and stress, individual freedom and choice will take a back seat. We can’t have it both ways because the ones paying the bills will want some say. I can foresee such policies like forcing all women to have amnio during pregnancy and if any genetic abnormalities are present, forced or encouraged abortion as society ( and insurance companies) will not want to pay the high costs of providing for handicapped children. I also would not want to revert to a Third World society where the obviously handicapped either don’t get decent care or are actually abandoned because individual families cannot bear the burden of raising these children alone and meaningful public services do not exist. Evaluating life on a purely economical level has led to real nightmares and a total disrespect for life in countries like China where many families only want a son who can provide for parents in their old age so they abort or abandon the girls. The handicapped are often left in orphanages to die in “dying rooms”. This situation was created by the long history of overpopulation, famines, hopelessness, and struggle to establish economic and political stability where the population so often outstripped the resources of the land.

    Yes, we need a meaningful reform of education for everyone but we also need to focus on dealing with our social problems. One of those major problems is unplanned and irresponsible birth which leads to that “pipeline of poverty” and the continuation of the failure cycle. We need to have a major WPA type of program to employ more of the unskilled at the same time we focus on making as many kids possible members of the “skilled” population with real chances toward living wage careers in the future of our country through decent education. Of course that education would also have to stress responsible social choices that affect us all, from work ethic to responsible parenting (or not becoming bio parents in the first place).

  96. As a former high school English Department chair, I know the power of a good testing program, such as California Language Assessment Program, which tested the ability of students to write eight different modes of writing, providing specific information to teachers so that we could adjust our methods accordingly. I also know the destructive impact of much standardized testing, which has narrowed the curriculum alarmingly and has resulted in far more students graduating (or failing to graduate) without the necessary writing skills needed in the 21st Century.

  97. I teach in an inner-city Community College…the readiness of many of our students suffers greatly for many reasons, but “teaching to the test” is one that we can actually do something about! Let’s gear-up for better contextual and critical thinking!

  98. America is one of the few mega-countries in the world that promises equal opportunity to All. Democracy is not a theory, it is an act of revolutionary importance. If the United States cannot support an equal opportunity education to its citizens, who will? And more importantly, a world that returns to the have’s and have-not’s is what has caused almost all the revolutions against governments against the people. Education is the one of the only roads to freedom, liberty, and a democratic union of the world.

  99. It’s about time that a coalition is formed to support all efforts to stoke the fires of curiosity and encourage young minds to seek answers for questions about all aspects of life rather than limit their learning to the study for standardized testing. If we want future generations to understand the world around them, they must be nurtured to think independently, to create, to invent, to study, and to exchange ideas and ideals for the betterment of themselves and mankind. Education cannot be limited or limiting. Rather, it must be broad and broadening. How many times have we heard the expression: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”?

  100. Education is key to America’s growth and to the country’s future. Already today it is hard to find well qualified employees despite the unemployment rate.
    Give the kids and young adults an even chance for the front of the employment line. EDUCATE THEM, AND DO IT WELL IN A MANNER ALL CAN AFFORD.

  101. When we “talk” about equal educational opportunities, it is a snap phrase. After 42 years of teaching high school biology (including Advanced Placement Biology) – mainly in public schools but, also, in a private school for three years, I have experienced the unequal opportunities beginning with supplies in the lab and technology. In public school districts with strong parental support and financial backing there remains an ongoing effort to provide material needs.The educational goals for teachers should always be to encourage and support students and to give them the best opportunities for learning. This is 24/7 “work” and can only be experienced by the teaching community. The answer is not more technology but, in part, developing a national effort to inspire teachers to excel. In addition – we need to fund public schools in a rigorous manner – funding does make a difference!

  102. Public education is a civil rights issue. It feels like we need another huge protest movement to get the kind of attention that this issue deserves. Otherwise, an entire generation of children in this country will be deprived of the fundamental knowledge and skills they need to improve their lives, protect their liberty, and give them a chance to pursue happiness.

  103. I am delighted to sign onto a declaration that affirms alternatives to suspension and expulsion for students who might otherwise be left on the sidelines. As a long-time special educator, and an advocate for children who are susceptible to exclusion: children with behavior problems, children with special educational needs, children who are poor, children who are homeless–I am so grateful to see the tide turning toward universal public education, recognition of the need for highly skilled teachers, and an emphasis on equity of opportunity.

    Thank you!
    Kathleen Kosobud, PhD (ABD)
    Student Advocacy Center of Michigan

  104. This nation did not build the most dynamic economy in the world without out free public school systems. It was and is the foundation of our middle income society. If we are to continue to be competitive in a world that is changing daily, we must make better use of our underutilized human and physical resources and match them to our goals. The avenue to our continued success is a well funded public education system that is properly geared to help people of all ages to face the future with the knowledge and skills that are required.

  105. Having taught at various universities during my academic career, I have found that requiring essays of students is the best way to make them learn the material and to make them think. The “No Child Left Behind” project is an abject failure. Students learn how to take tests but not much else. Of course, grading essays is time-consuming, so we need to pay public school teachers more, the way they do in Finland, and we need more teachers’ aides to help with administrative chores. It’s high time that we paid heed to John Dewey’s advice to teach the whole student and create a well-rounded adult who can not only benefit him- or herself, but also benefit the whole society,

  106. American education has been headed in the wrong direction for quite a while. Teaching to the tests has taken over, while learning to challenge our world and collectively make it more just and economically fairer for all has died. Reading great and thought provoking literature is dieing quickly in the school curriculum replaced by mainly popular novels.
    As a former public school teacher and professor at a state university for forty years, I would not encourage my grandchildren to become educators. Freedom to teach has been lost. It has been replaced by ‘teaching to the test’ and attacking teachers as the main cause of the inequality that exists in our society and world.

  107. Many of our children have significant needs in learning, but in behavior, social and family challenges as well. It is not fair to them to ignore these needs, nor fair to other children in the classroom. It is a huge mistake to dumby down the curriculum and expectations in the classroom in order to keep all students in the classroom no matter what their needs and special circumstances are. In order to keep them in school, all these needs need to be met, and met according to those needs. Special learning opportunities for children with all these challenges need to take place within their neighborhood schools where people who know those needs and challenges best can address them and propel them forward. We need more teachers and funds to provide these opportunities.

  108. Young people today are unprepared for College and coming out of Colleges unprepared for the workforce. We need to go back to teaching a well rounded education that teaches youth to think independently and not how to just past tests.

  109. I sincerely hope that this initiative gathers lots and lots of steam. I wonder if the advocates will provide the resources necessary to mobilize a mass movement and involve a grass-roots approach to this Declaration. I think parents of today’s school children should be a top priority to be enlisted in the cause! Can you imagine what a potential ground swell across the country this could turn out to be? I bet you would get over a million subscribers? How about a “million-person” advocacy group?

  110. It’s about time that we bring up the standards, not only for the students but for the educators as well. Also, a teacher should not be teaching outside of his college degree.

  111. Jane Powers, whoever you are, you spoke my feelings exactly, when you said, “It’s heartening to see leading advocates for our long-endangered public school system come together to mobilize others who share this value into a movement to defend and develop this fundamental national treasure before it’s altogether lost.” The “reformers” have taken the lead and are taking full advantage of social media and school email lists to promote their misguided agenda. We need strong leaders who will rally us in the field, and tell us what to do to turn the tide! Help! Help!

  112. Classrooms should be an interaction between each student and the teacher on each subject. There is so much to learn these days that classes should last longer that 45-50 minutes. A school in Oregon has tried this and the students seem to be learning more because they spend more time on the subject. But something has to be done, not only with the grade schools focus, but also the cost of getting a college degree.

  113. Needed is an education that teaches the student to THINK! not one that memorizes the answers to tests!
    Your proposals should provide this through an effective PUBLIC educational system!

  114. I support teacher and community led and directed education for all of us lifelong. Local people working together with the environment can improve everything and achieve the highest qualities of life for all. Go Local! Co-Create Community! – Pete Johnson Jr

  115. Tests limit learning. They assess only a small portion of what the test taker knows. Alone they prove little of worth except that the taker is able to respond to specific kinds of questions. I believe that policy makers and test makers should be held as accountable for their work as teachers have been for theirs.

  116. expectations lead to accomplishments. Thus our expectations must be beyond the page(s). China wanted to know how we were so creative. That was their question in 1987. Using things for their not intended purpose was my reply. We must open doors for creative thinking, teaching to test does NOT do that. More need to read Education and Ecstasy by John Holt.

  117. Add the arts and physical education classes back into every school’s curriculum. The school day has been shortened, and meaningful classes eliminated. Art and music classes expand the mind, imagination, and critical thinking, while refining cognitive and creative skills. In young children the art and music motivates young children and engages them in another mode of learning. It stimulates memory, facilitates understanding, and enhances symbolic communication. Additionally, research shows that students who participate in physical activities have higher energy levels and are more alert than those who led sedentary lifestyles. Participation in physical activities can act as a stress releaser — researchers have shown that when a person exercises, the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, is reduced. Physical activity increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, boosting the growth of nerve cells in the hippocampus — the brain’s center of learning and memory. By giving students a daily opportunity to move their bodies, and giving them additional modes of communicating, we improve the health of our children, and their success in all their studies.

  118. As strange that as African/Americans, we were transported to America as free labor, but we don’t get to go to college for free. Everyone is busy trying to tell us that we have arrived, even though the same system in in place to replace us, because we can no longer be used as though we were animals. Well, Thanks for acknowledging that you realize that we are human beings. But, instead of the help that many others are receiving, we are being pushed aside like bad cattle. The same old system is in place, promote one to meet the quota, forget the rest. Our children have to pass Spanish to graduate High School. My son wondered why he could not take Swahili, or another language of his choice. Some of our youth are barely receiving a passing grade in English! Well, look at the eyebrows going up on this one!!!!

  119. After 81 years of learning from my various experiences in Nazi Germany and WWII, then living in the US since 1950 and serving in the US Army during the Korean War, earning my Ph.D. and teaching at the University level for over four decades, I can only conclude that EDUCATION gives us the best chance to improve our children’s chance to save the planet from dictators, greedy politicians and ravenous corporations. Education does and must start with educated parents and proceed through primary to secondary and higher education. Educators must be free to educate without political dictates and must be given adequate salaries and public support. It is obvious those conditions do not always exist. From political to religious pressures on teachers and well meaning but failing efforts to teach to a system of tests, education is often misdirected. However, education in its broadest sense and despite the widespread discrimination against women in many countries, is still our best chance to improve individuals, humanity as a whole, and our planet. All of us are and must be students and educators.

  120. I remember taking the useless true or false tests, multiple guess tests and all the other testing systems that bored me and turned me off. Please teach for broadly educated students, not test results.

  121. meanwhile, Jeb Bush is raking in millions of taxpayer dollars through the education corporation he initiated at onset of “No Child Left Behind”.
    fascists are in the woodwork. “The strength of a democracy is in the education of its citizens.”– Jefferson
    Ignorance and fear cannot endure, but they can enslave.

  122. Myself a beneficiary of public education through the university and graduate school, I grieve that school children today are treated as products for profit by corporate enterprise. Outcomes from this “teaching to the test” system are deplorable. At the same time public schooling has been starved for funds, its infrastructure neglected and teachers demeaned. We must do better.

  123. Teaching for the test is foolhardy and our children will not be able to compete on the world stage if we don’t prepare them . We need to wake up and rally for this cause

  124. We need to put nature at the top of our educational agenda. We have to disempower the corporate way and decentralize back to a healthy happy harmonious way of life. We need an education based on universal and natural wisdom and we need to reconnect with one another and nature. It is the corporate way that is killing our natural world and our children’s futures. Healthy and happy people know how to live in harmony with nature. Our education must teach the natural way. If you have any questions. please contact me.

  125. As someone who has taught her whole professional life, beginning in public schools and then turning to college teaching in part BECAUSE I could avoid standardized testing, I believe passionately in the total and complete abolition of standardized testing, whether to “evaluate” the student, the teacher, or the school. Both “teaching to the test” and evaluating student progress in this wildly irrelevant and counter-productive way have greatly diminished the quality of our schools — both the effectiveness of teaching and the value and meaning of learning.

  126. A Bachelor Degree, Associate Degree, and/or a Technical/Vocational Certificate should all be paid for by our tax dollars and a right for all students, no matter where they are headed after High School. With High Schools no longer teaching to a standard that get all students into College, into a career, or into an entry level job any more, and Corporations requiring a college degree or a two year technical or vocational certificate program at the post secondary education level, we should be providing that to our youth. To do otherwise would be to condemn millions of our youth to a failed life and make them a burden on society, instead of making them productive, happy, and secure contributors to our economy and society on the whole. In this respect, we fall behind the rest of the industrialized world. It is about time we return to giving an education that serves the purpose of having public schools in the first place. The mission of providing an open minded, critical thinking, job ready, informed voter/citizen of our country.

  127. Keep moving forward, don’t give in to politicians who think they know what’s best for education. Invite the politicians to teach school for a week so they can see firsthand and experience what teachers do! Thanks to all teachers out there!

  128. I am a educator right now in a foreign country that intends to be proud of it’s hard-working students. I am also an American who sees my government willing to see the majority of its children becoming dumb and dumber so that they are less discerning about the growing fascist state in which they are growing up. I know that children who are inspired and equipped to learn make the best citizens in a country that needs to be much better than it is today.

  129. Our format for funding public schools needs to be equalized. Most school districts depend on property tax procedures which result in inadeque funding in the less valuable real estate areas. We will need a major change in goverment to secure equalized per student funds for public education.

  130. I retired early because I could not longer stand what was being done in the name of improving education. Political agendas are sapping the joy and soul out of our education system. School is not an assembly line, and a standardized test doesn’t define who we are.

  131. As a higher education educator, I heartily endorse what you’re doing. A quality education, so each child can reach his or her full potential should be an irrevocable intergenerational covenant.

  132. I work at a Title 1 elementary school and I see first hand the damage of teaching to the test. Our students are mostly basic learners who, if given a chance, could progress to the average level or higher. However, they are not aloud to nor are they expected to master any of the fundamental skills they’ll need to advance. It’s all a numbers game, statistics if you will. Meet they AYP (adequate yearly progress) and everyone gets to keep their job. Thank you for finally speaking out. Count me in. Please, do not allow corporations, republicans, and the tea Party dismantle public education and privatize schools. If that were to happen, there would be a lot of children left behind.

  133. One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.- Maria Montessori! Let’s move toward public montessori’s…that’s Finland’s secret.

  134. Teachers cannot change the poverty and violence many of our inner city students live in. While we try to inspire students, it affects students’ ability to be in attendance in the same school on a regular basis and to learn and retain information. Too often teachers are being blamed for low test scores that are more likely the result of these societal ills.

  135. I speak here as a mother with children in the public system. My son loved learning from pre-K through 2nd grade. He began to lose his love for learning in 3rd grade when learning became about passing standardized tests. Children who are less fortunate than mine learn that one goes to school only to pass the test, there is no intrinsic interest in learning for the sake of knowing. Some teachers say they do not just teach to the test, but the reality is that they do. Every week the children are tested, they are trained to become comfortable with testing, they learn they are being assessed every week, every day, every minute of their lives. One of my college students volunteering to prepare the kids for the standardized testing explained that the children are so demoralized by the process that they find it useless to study for they are convinced they will anyway fail. Not only are these tests failing to close the achievement gap, they are damaging the children, making them feel terrible about their inability to succeed no matter how much effort they put into their schooling. Instead of using these exams to assess where we need to put our educational energies or to determine whether a particular pedagogy is working for the student, tests end up being used as measures of the human quality of the students – at least some students read these as such. We even have strategies to teach children as young as 8 years old how to deal with testing stress, as if they were taking the exam that will determine the rest of their lives. If our children, in mass, are put in conditions that lead to high levels of stress and require a counselor showing them coping strategies, there is something wrong with your society – it is denying them their childhood. I want my children to love learning, but high stakes standardized testing takes that away. It is wrong! Our children and their teachers need love and caring guidance, not high stakes, heartless assessments.

  136. Building Computational Thinking Brains – “If you care about jobs and the economy, you should care about computer science and engineering education.” The majority of time in the classroom should be spent on building products of learning and sharing that knowledge with other students. The kids should be talking, not the teachers. Get rid of worksheets, lectures and let the kids experiment and invent.

  137. I left teaching because of the way teachers were treated and the way we were required to teach. I watched the system push my own special needs daughter out of public schools and into the arms of gangs and drugs. At seventeen, after arrests and hospitalizations, as she stood on the edge of the abyss, she realized for herself that her path was one of doom. Too many never come to that realization. Public education needs reform as does our system of dealing with mental illness.

  138. I endorse this statement because it speaks from and to the real educational reform movement, not the ersatz one the true aim of which is to destroy public education. Unfortunately, that is the one that the media covers, and its about time that those of us who want to preserve and improve the public schools do more to get the attention of the mainstream media and force them to start covering that push back against high-stake testing, the closure of schools, the refusal of state governments to fully fund their own schools to make way for private charters, which has begun among the overwhelming majority of families across this nation whose children attend public schools and want to keep it that way

  139. My child graduated from school yet can not read. This happened in two school systems ct and ri. Dont anyone give me excuses about budgets over welmed teachers. Its neglect. Schools dont make parents welcome. Everyone turned their back on my boy. They dont enbrace the child that is slow or struggling. Some children give up or worse get in trouble. The next time you see a young street person he was.ignored or past through in school. What jobs do they get selling drugs. This problem doesnt need extra money only someone to care. My son had me and he hung on. He worked his way to a UPS job fir fifteen years but if someone cared gid knows what he could have been.

  140. I paid a visit to the field office of my US Senator yesterday and to my US representative today with a letter that basically says we need to stop looking to the Third World to solve our First World problems. The problems that the Third World has can — and should — only be solved in the Third World. Ditto for the First World. It is definitely true that the United States needs to get right to work manufacturing stuff for sale; still, one industry that we can do without is the one that manufactures criminals out of perfectly good citizens! A prison sentence measured in decades is not going to encourage anybody to repudiate criminal activity; in such a case, execution is far more merciful. We need to shift away from quantity and focus more on quality PFQ or the United States is in a lot of trouble!!!

  141. “Teaching to the test” has destroyed our societies ability to teach children the joy of learning, to make them life-long students. It is time to tell the government their system is NOT working.

  142. I stick by my “fraternity”s” motto: Philosophia bios kubernitas: the love of learning is the guide of life. Every child deserves to find that guide, and good public schools are the best way to provide that experience.

  143. There is talk about this country being headed down the wrong path, and I find it true. For one thing, people understand less.

  144. Please share with your colleagues and contacts who care about Education. Let’s build the spirit of the Education Declaration into our institutional policy and processes.

  145. After 81 years of learning from my various experiences in Nazi Germany and WWII, then living in the US since 1950 and serving in the US Army during the Korean War, earning my Ph.D. and teaching at the University level for over four decades, I can only conclude that EDUCATION gives us the best chance to improve our children’s lives and an opportunity to save the planet from dictators, greedy politicians and ravenous corporations. Education does and must start with educated parents and proceed through primary to secondary and higher education. Educators must be free to educate without political dictates and must be given adequate salaries and public support. It is obvious those conditions do not always exist. From political to religious pressures on teachers and well meaning but failing efforts to teach to a system of tests, education is often misdirected. However, education in its broadest sense and despite the widespread discrimination against women in many countries, is still our best chance to improve individuals, humanity as a whole, and our planet. All of us are and must first be students and then educators.

  146. I second Carol Patterson’s comment. Having taught a wide range of students at many levels, from diverse educational, ethnic, and economic backgrounds,age groups ranging from teens to adults, in standard, remedial, and advanced courses, and in several different disciplines for thirty years, I’ve seen the damage rote learning, lack of teacher control over curriculum and teaching methods, and the focus on narrow learning outcomes, rather than process, have wrought. As a nation, the last few decades in which badly advised, counter-intuitive, and research-baseless reforms have held sway, teaching talent and skill, student potential, parental concerns, community needs–and ultimately–the advancement of our democratic values, our economic, creative, scientific, technological potential, and our ability to enlighten and elevate individual Americans–and in turn, the global community– has been sacrificed and squandered senselessly, taking our people backward rather than forward.
    Lucky enough to have been on the receiving end of what was then called “progressive education” (no politics intended in the use of the term then, or my use of it now) I am sorry for today’s teachers and students.
    We are losing both pools at alarming rates, literally and metaphorically. We are robbing students of their natural enthusiasm for learning and their curiosity about the world around them. We are teaching them not to educate themselves, but simply to strive for points, grades, test scores. In the worst cases, we are cutting them off before they even begin to strive for anything at all.
    We are teaching teachers that in order to survive they must deny their own gifts, experiences, knowledge, rich educational history, and passion for their subject, even their own personalities to teach endless facts, worthless information, and dis-integated skills, with little real world significance or impact.
    We are engaged in institutionalizing bad teaching practices and ineffective, one dimensional learning strategies, reliant primarily on memorization and other robotic processes. Systemized, regulated, and superficial reward-driven education does not support
    the individual or collective needs of students,parents, or teachers who are subject to it.
    By the way, students need nutrition and a good night’s sleep to start the school day. Teachers need a salary to live on and raise their own families. Schools need books, libraries, structurally sound classrooms; counselors, nurses; after-school activities programs in the arts, sports, sciences, recreation…students need to feel a part of, to be challenged, to be engaged, and many times, yes, they need companionship because no one is at home, whether through necessity or neglect. It does not matter. Every student deserves a new start in the fall of every new school year.
    I’m one of those for whom education was a form of salvation. For too many students, under our standards-mad system, it’s just another form of poverty, denial, and rejection.
    Improving the system is a matter of life or death, the life or death of young bodies and evolving minds, the flourishing or the decline of all of us as one nation under a constitutional guarantee of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. But first, breakfast and then books.

  147. I so appreciate the presentation of the issues involved and the proposal of solutions. It gives me confidence that wishes to intelligently address the problem of education in America today.

  148. Now is the time to Stand-up for Public Education. We must educate and mobilize the citizenry. Democracy is at risk if public education as we know it becomes a private enterprise with the taxpayer picking-up the bill.

  149. Only a society that equates success with profits would destroy one of the greatest school systems ever seen in the world. The method was simple: set the bar too high with “achievement” tests, vilify teachers, parents, minorities or their unions, cut funding, especially for the so-called extras like arts, music, cultural studies or clubs (the enriching activities deemed not “basic” enough). Then it was easy to start saying our school system had failed… “proof” that private for-profit businesses should be allowed to take over. The same ugly model is being used to destroy the Post Office, another American institution admired the world over.

    Chose to Refuse: the Profit model will no longer be allowed to intrude here. Making this choice will help open the door to real solutions.

  150. Finally, a comprehensive statement of policies for conversations at all levels of governance and communities…

  151. Three things are too big and too important to be done by anyone except the federal government: the military, health care, and education.N0ne of these three should involve for-profit entities.

  152. We need to not only teach the basics well but to teach so that our children can think for themselves and to be confident in the fact they can and will figure a problem out. We need to teach moral and ethical standards with universal truths as the basis and have our own actions and words reflect these truths. This cannot be placed on any “test”; only life as we live it will test us…we should all strive to succeed in this and help our children to surpass where we might be in this goal.

  153. We educators owe it to our students to help them love learning and constantly strive to be the best that they can be. This will assure that our communities and our country will also constantly strive to be the best it can be.

  154. It was unbearable to watch fractions being taught less and other things more because fractions were a smaller part of the high stakes testing. It was unbearable to watch special needs students receive fewer and fewer services while the district found new ways to claim that their IEP goals were being addressed professionally and thoroughly. It is disgraceful that this nation’s corporate governmental policies are allowed to address their agendas first and the needs and rights of our children …. barely if at all. It’s easy these days to look on with hopelessness – but we can’t let ourselves do that. Somehow there has to be a way to redirect attitudes and funding, a LOT of funding, to the one most important aspect of our childrens’ and our nation’s future.

  155. We may need more than 90% of citizens on board before any change can happen…..remember background checks for gun purchases?

  156. The so-called “reform” efforts of the past several decades have ignored what educational research tells us about how students learn. Part of the problem is that the “reforms” have been proposed in the political arena. It is long past time that educators control the educational agenda. I hope this manifesto is the beginning of that effort and I would be glad to assist in any way possible.

  157. Yes, American school children don’t need to be subjected to the monopolistic practices of the “Educational Industrial Complex” that is really designed to put $billions of dollars into the pockets of America’s oligarchs under the guise of doing philanthropic work. While the internet and computer industry have contributed to education, these industries and their lobby groups have also undermined (LEAs) local school boards, administrators, teachers, and parents. LEAs in their civic effort to provide educational opportunities for ALL children has been thwarted under the ideological guise that “private” is good and “public” bad. The national agendas by neo-liberals and neo-conservatives has been to “privatize” education using Federal incentives. While school systems are inappropriately represented as being “monopolies” –really public and civic endeavors that are voted on- real monopolistic practices in the private economic sector as related to education does exist. For example, just two publishing corporations will share in the development of the Common Core Standards evaluation process across 46 states.

  158. As an educator and most importantly as a parent, it is imperative for our nation to shed testing as the ‘tail wagging the entire educational dog’. I applaud a this declaration. I live in Washington DC, a city whose educational system has served as a petri dish for failed education reforms for past few decades. What do we have to show for it – the highest dropout rate and largest achievement gap in the nation. I am gratified to see this movement come together to turn the tide towards educational opportunity that will truly serve the needs of students now and into the future.

  159. As a grandparent of students in an excellent Public College-Prep Charter school that conforms very closely with EON’s goals, I know those goals can be reached if and where the American public is willing to invest in the nation’s children. Two additional goals could be added or at least better emphasized. One is the safety of the students and teachers in the classroom and in transit within intrinsically unsafe neighborhoods. The other is to provide at least equal emphasis on the needs of the willing and enthusiastic learners as there are efforts and resources expended on the unwilling and disinterested who make learning difficult for the others.

  160. Quality education in the public sector is an important building block for all of our communities, and that is why I’m involved in every effort to improve, enhance and safeguard quality public education of the children in my community. Talking about it can help, but really getting involved is the best way to contribute and make a true difference.

  161. As a recently retired public school Art teacher,in the past decade I had witnessed so many Elementary School Students become disengaged with school and formal learning,and develop test phobia and school phobia. They looked forward to Art class where they had an opportunity to explore their creative potential without fear of high stakes tests!

  162. As an educator for 15 years at the middle school/high school level all I can say is that when I entered the profession at the age of 42 I had a sense of joy in teaching. That joy is being replaced by this data-driven, lockstep, standardized approach to education. The joy has left the teachers and the students. When we get entrenched in this approach we are a doorstep away from becoming a fascist society, which does not embody the principles of democracy. We, as a people, need to DEMAND that democracy be placed back in the classroom and that corporate/political interests and gains need to step back and allow us to teach.

  163. Schools provide teaching but real teaching is not “putting in” but allowing :out” which means allowing a child,to safely develop self-esteem.How do we teach a subject and allow the child the joy of discovery.Any school plan should conform to the needs of the child and not to a plan which inhibits or destroys a childs willingness and curiosity to learn.

  164. First of all, children need to be taught to read and write (cursive would be nice). Many teachers and schools have given up on grammar and spelling. Just teaching to a test, does not teach a child critical thinking skills. So many children are doing so badly, that test grade standards have been lowered so that most children will pass. What good that does, I have no idea.

  165. Hearing new teachers talk about having to be on the same page of scripted dialogue at the same time chills my heart! They need to be helping kids do more than fill in bubbles and yet are discouraged by supervisors from making learning exciting.

  166. This is very well written, with a clear vision and a clear message communicating that vision. Thank you for putting this together! This is reform that we can all get behind.

  167. We need a multi-faceted educational reform agenda to meet the educational and developmental needs of Latino children and youth by providing access to culturally and linguistically-appropriate education programs that build upon the existing strengths within Latino communities. We must strengthen public education by supporting students through to graduation, especially in the STEM fields while preparing educators, social workers and public health professionals who are culturally competent and committed to social change.

  168. I have taught since 1972. I became a teacher because I deeply felt that education was the ‘second chance’ for children to have a nurturing childhood, and a ‘first chance’ to learn about the world. I sensed this same resolve within the parochial school system of which I was a part (Lutheran education). It wasn’t Lutheran dogma but rather the spirit of protest (Martin Luther’s nailing the 95 theses on the church door in Wittenburg, Germany on October 31, 1517 – a list of problems denied by the larger church system) that led me to always dream of using teaching as a vehicle for positive social change.

    In entering public special education, I have found a system built on paper (“compliance”) rather than possibilities. I had filed state and federal complaints before I even had tenure. Surprisingly, the “system” didn’t see the problem because “compliance” was paperwork and not action.

    There is so much terribly wrong in our education system right now – from implying to our children that their entire worth is wrapped up in their ability to bubble in answers on anonymous tests, to inferring there is no ‘skill’ to teaching and thus, any college graduate can do it. Children with exceptional needs are particularly vulnerable here.

    We may well have lost entire generations of Americans to this absurdity. I feel like the progress I “believed in” as measured via my own teaching efforts has been ‘erased’ so that America’s children become someone else’s factory product.

  169. I’m glad I taught in another time when I had a chance to impact the lives of my students in a good way. We had fun and they learned the joy of learning. I hear from many, many, former students attesting to this. I regret nothing. If I had to teach for these tests, I would find it difficult to go to school every day.I also put up with many LOUSY principals-but, I survived.

  170. Every human being reserves to have access to good education, this is for a personal, community, city, and Nation’s benefit. Being proactive can rescue this beautiful country.

  171. Education on all subjects –the arts, all crafts and hobbies, physical health and nutrition, emotional self-awareness, social interactions, civic duties and responsibilities, self-motivation, many languages, career explorations, and many more– is the only pathway for citizens to forge a GREAT NATION.

  172. It is time that someone stood up and acknowledged that only educating “some children” and not “all children” is wrong. That is exactly what the Voucher system does. Every child DOES deserve an education. It’s time for reasonable, enlightened, and caring people to stand up for ALL children!!

  173. I am 68 in June. When I was a student in high school, the federal gov’t MATCHED state funds for education, student by student. Now the federal gov’t spends only 3 percent annually on education. This is SHAMEFUL!!!! In high school, every student had a microscope. There were 4 year art and music programs, advanced writing and science classes. School was a pleasure and was rich with possibilities. There was no end of “hands on” and our schools were clean. It was a very good thing to be a teacher, and we students knew we were the hope of the nation. What is a nation without education being the center?

  174. Thomas Jefferson is reported to have said that the way to judge education in a democracy is for citizens to know and understand what secures and endangers their liberty. I’ve noticed the New York Board of Regents have added a few items to the NY public school curricullum, that note what also secures and endangers our liberty, since I went to school there. In New England, “Home Rule” is also a part of what secures or endangers our liberty, as local school boards have more say in curriculum choices

  175. My niece and her husband are both teachers.I hear first hand the problems in our schools.Drastic action is required to save and strengthen PUBLIC SCHOOLS, not for profit charter schools.

  176. Having been a Program Director at the New York City Department of Education after spending over 30 years as a teacher and administrator in both public and private schools in New York and New Jersey, I have witnessed the comings and goings of so-called “Education Reform” in many forms and many resurrections. It is my strong belief that, over the years, we have been susceptible to “quick fixes” that have either been harmful or of little use in raising the bar for all students. Hopefully, this initiative and your organization can bring about meaningful programs that are the heart and soul of the pledge I have enthusiastically signed today. I am available to help in any way I can to make this pledge a reality for all of our children.

  177. I am a mother, grandmother and great grandmother with a Master’s degree in Psychology. I continue to care for children. From my personal experience I know teachers make a difference in our lives. We need to support them and give them the freedom to TEACH! As my mother told me as a child, “Public Education is the best thing we have going for our country…we need to support it.

  178. I am a graduate school educated woman who is a mother and grandmother. I have long wondered at the weakness of leaning toward educational fads. It occurred to me that seeking the wisdom of other cultures in teaching their children would be of use. For instance, Finland has had great success in educating children at all levels of society by building a culture of unity of purpose and communication among teachers, administration and parents. All need to be involved to make this work. What is it of the elementary school systems of China and Japan that work well for children?

  179. I also caught the “school to prision pipeline” statement. I personally don’t agree with it either. What I am seeing at a local level is scary. Lots of community schools are being closed while population in the community increases. This is causing over crowding in each school which is “lucky” enough to remain open. Teachers are being laid off and no one seems to have any say in the matter. The end result I don’t imagine will be a good one.

  180. For too long we in the education community have permitted politicians, entrepreneurs, private foundations, and others to define the conversations around K-12 public education. In many cases we have passively gone along with practices that we knew were not in the best interest of our students, and for which there was little to no evidence of their efficacy. No more! Speak up! Act up! Put an end to corporate exploitation in the name of “reform.”

  181. I am heartened to see groups and individuals coming together on behalf of our children and our embattled public schools. Kudos to the leaders of my union, the National Education Association (NEA), Robert Reich, Diane Ravitch, and other courageous leaders, groups, and individuals. We have strength in our numbers. Just imagine what clout this would have if every public school teacher and parent in America signed this declaration!

  182. Show me a corporate community willing to invest in America, hire American workers and I’ll show you revitalized neighborhoods, cities, and improved school performance like you’ve never seen! Stop denying the obvious connection between poverty and a student’s success on school!

  183. Standardized tests suck! No wonder kids are dropping out of school! Give teachers the freedom to teach in their own way.

  184. I am not in the Education trenches I am in the Community Development trenches. The inequalities in public education in rural southwestern Pennsylvania are deplorable. Pennsylvania’s property tax structure that funds education creates ignorance in this rural area and has for decades. Yet, this area extracts so much gas and coal from beneath its surface that the CEO of Consol Energy has said this area, specifically Greene County, Pennsylvania is the largest producer of energy to China in North America. This is an anomaly really, in that more property taxes are gained by upscale housing, retail stores and business offices, such that exist in the Pittsburgh suburbs, than are gained by harvesting billions of dollars of energy from the ground. Property taxes paid by these extractive industries to fund school districts remains so low that and none of the school districts, in energy rich Greene County score even average on SAT TESTS.

  185. To become an educated person, one must take risks – take chances. We cannot ask young people to take the risks necessary to learn while penalizing every wrong answer. Life is not about finding THE answer. It’s about creating possibilities.

  186. America needs to do away with charter schools profiteers. Instead give more autonomy to our public schools. Let them elect among teachers a Principal, vice principal, keep their employees, hire a book keeper to prepare the annual budget and control income and expenses, etc. Eliminate all school districts with all those high salaried individuals that create useless forms and tests that only make teachers work longer hours and reduce their times teaching our children, non of them should have a salary higher than any teacher. Keep only the counties schools districts to pay salaries that already do, supervise schools and other duties. Only the State education dept. would be the one to raise salaries, etc, etc. Conclusion: we don’t need Charter Schools which is an attempt to privatized our educational system.

  187. As as teacher who works with low-incidence disabilities in multiple districts, I see every day the unfairness and obstacles to success in so many schools. I’m also disturbed by the craziness brought on by ceaseless “testing” to measure “success”. Thank you for this declaration. I’m passing it on to friends and colleagues.

  188. Teaching to the test seems to me leave out critical thinking and creativity. As long as you have the answer you’re good. But offering times for problem solving could be useful for real life living.

  189. It is time our children and everyone else stop being held hostage by a small and vicious minority. Quality education is a key component to our economic, social and national security and servival.

  190. A distressing trend of late among proponents of radical change in education is to look at education as a means to “get a job.” Recently a representative advocated a closer relationship between the employers in the community and the students in our schools. As far as it goes, the idea has some merit, but is limited in scope and reflects a sad misunderstanding of what education is all about, at any level, and by extension what skills young people need to meet the challenges in the era into which they have been born. Yes, people need to be literate to find employment and a way of providing a living for themselves and their families. But that is not its only purpose or even the main purpose in educating our young which is to learn HOW TO LEARN no matter what an individual’s goal in life, no matter how the world around them changes, and to learn how to think, to be aware of a larger society than the neighborhood in which they live. If schools in depressed areas are being closed because they do not pass established tests the natural question to ask is: How will closing those schools improve the education of the children that attend? Another question: What are the contributing factors? Blaming teachers and administrators is an easy “out” for those intent upon closing the schools. Does that make the poorly performing students disappear? Does it improve the economic stability of the communities? Yes, the schools need improvement, but so do the districts in which these schools are located. For far too long communities have looked to the schools to solve or resolve the myriad social ills that afflict many of them and then blame the school districts for not performing miracles and doing just that. We are facing a very serious, complex problem and so far have applied simplistic solutions–penalize the schools by closing them–which any thinking person will recognize as a solution doomed to failure.

  191. This is a great start, but although I find mention of children disadvantaged by poverty, I do not find mention of those made ‘different’ by conditions such as autism or extraordinary intelligence. Federal law requires appropriate education for every child but that is not enforced, largely because of lack of funding.

  192. So much of the disfunction in our society today can be laid directly at the feet of our public education system. It is the only institution that all of our citizens pass through and if we miss that opportunity to encourage critical thinking skill, academic excellence, and cultural sensitivity, we pay for it later in so many ways. We desperately need a revolution -not just reform- at this critical juncture. Hopefully this will be the seed that grows into that.

  193. We cannot treat children like feedlot cattle and expect them to learn. We cannot turn them into a commodity and expect anything other than a school-to-for-profit-prison pipeline.

  194. These are all the areas (including special ed and ELL) that we, the teachers, are bringing to the table in negotiations with out District. We have been working on them for awhile and are backing them all up with research. It is great to have this declaration to back up what we are asking for. Thanks.

  195. Let’s all stand up for rebuilding our public education system! Cutting funds for education is an abomination and must be stopped now!

  196. I hope this movement can put an end to the wrecking job being done on the public school system in the interests of privatization. What kind of a society sells its children for profit? our kind, except for this valiant group of resistors that is putting people first.

  197. This is thoughtful, well expressed and much needed work! I’d welcome an opportunity to be part of this movement and would welcome an invitation to be engaged…please let me know how and when. The platform is very well written and I will use segments w/ credits in numerous speaking engagements offered to me this summer and throughout the fall…thanks and all the best, Mike Collins

  198. The attack on public education of the last 30 years has cost the soul of our local communities, nation and culture. Tests do not measure character. Students are not products that can be pressed out like or by machines. Learning is more than a right it is a necessity of life. The reforms in this document can give back dignity, integrity and character to public education.

    What is at risk in the struggle to recreate public education are the core values of democracy and the soul of our nation.

  199. It’s time we all put our collective feet down to the rampant new industries that are spinning off in the name of “reform”. As educators, we want to improve at what we do, but every new training session I attend finishes with a list of “approved vendors”. The corruption is getting out of control; just follow the campaign contributions from testing companies and other “carpet baggers” to see where the money is going.

    Thank you for your all your efforts to protect one of the best institutions we have going in America, the public schools!

  200. This is a human business. It will always be subject to human nature. Human nature is powerful. It does not change. Attempting to change human nature leads to de-humanization. A de-humanized human place is no fun. Learning should be at least, enjoyable, at best, fun. Let’s stop de-humanizing education.

  201. It is about time that we started putting our most honored, deeply-held values and principles into practice with a positive, supportive approach and meaningful standards; rather than the negative, punitive and counter-productive approach that has been pushed down on us for at least 30 years now. This has culminated in the ‘No Child’s Behind Left’ travesty of defunding/underfunding our schools, blaming teachers and students for what is primarily an uneven lack of resources, ‘teaching to the test’ (including cheating when the stakes are so high) and last, but not least, the all-pervasive putsch to privatize our public schools for the private profits of a few…along with just about anything and everything else the corporate-controlled state can privatize and appropriate from ‘we, the people’. As we have seen, time and time again, privatization results in consistently more expensive, less effective and less efficient outcomes than institutions staffed by public/civil service workers. This is true in spite of all the breathless, corporate propaganda to the contrary. One goal of this appears to be to destroy public/municipal workers’ unions. In my state of Pennsylvania and especially in Philadelphia, we have seen excessive corruption connected with these privatized schools, poor performance in many of them, a near complete lack of appropriate oversight – and it is much more difficult to hold them accountable. I, for one, do not want ANY of my tax dollars going to support privatized, for-profit schools! And money should not be taken from our already underfunded public schools to fund more for-profit schools. In fact, no for-profit entity should ever receive public subsidies, in my opinion. It seems like an oxymoron, to me, and results in many negative consequences, whether intended or “unintended”. Teaching to the test breeds idiot savants and young people who are not capable of critical thinking. The teaching of history must be completely revamped so that students actually learn real history instead of memorizing trivia, myths and comforting fairy-tales. More emphasis must be place on the arts and literature, too, to stimulate creativity and independent thought. We are stunting and wasting the creativity of whole generations. Our country, as a whole, cannot be successful into the future as long as this situation remains in effect. If we want students to become masters of their own destiny, i.e., fully free and fully human, they must be more actively engaged in the process of their own education. This must be nurtured and encouraged, not punished and discouraged. This Education Declaration is a great first step.

  202. Children are our most important asset. It’s critical to make sure that every child is offered access to schools and teachers and subject matter that makes sense for their future success. I volunteer at our local high school, and I can see the importance of a great environment for learning and how kids respond when they are treated as important members of our society. Unfortunately, not all school teach at this level. They need to do so. We need to fund school systems adequately, and make sure they are using those funds effectively and for the children.

  203. There is nothing in the constitution about government on their own, making decisions about education.
    I agree with the government being for the people, and by the people.

  204. Now in my 14th year of teaching in both private and public school systems, I have seen the results of replacing curiosity and creativity with test preparation and testing. I endorse the above Declaration.

  205. Students arrive at the University expecting study guides, word banks, etc. They can’t spell even everyday words. Their only concern is what they need to memorize to pass the exam. Imagine how this is going to translate in the workplace! Public school teachers are being forced to “teach the test” to keep their jobs, and the rash of new voucher programs showing up for private education is worse. The new “private” schools don’t even have certified teachers. They use DVDs to “teach” the kids. What hogwash!!! We are in dire need of a return to days past when teachers actually taught students and students learned how to think and reason, not memorize.

  206. I am happy to see movement to reject testing as being the measure of children’s education. Education is so much more and teachers need to be
    encouraged to use their gifts for learning and teaching to help ALL students learn.

  207. Where does the current top-down philosophy leave the arts in public school education? The emphasis on AP programs and the fear of not achieving high test scores is undermining the important contributions of art and music. The arts are all about creative, higher level thinking and define a nation’s culture. I fear that we are becoming a mean-spirited, linear thinking culture with little understanding or appreciation for the great masterworks of history and contemporary thought. Is art, like other true forms of education, too subversive for the top-down business model?

  208. It has taken a while. Let us hope that this message overwhelms the privatizing, test crazy crowd (who know nothing about
    education but a lot about making money),

  209. This is long overdue. We the people need to be put back into force and not legislature. We need to cut back on their salaries and benefits that we do not share in. Our legislature is all about them and business not the people. We have to take back that control that is our given right. Education is our responsibility to oversee.

  210. My grandson, with Asperger’s Syndrome, has needs which can not be met at the public schools he attended. There are so many others in this situation.

  211. Having three children who are successful adults and who received their educations through high school at public schools in Teaneck NJ ,makes me know that we were doing it correctly. The broader the curriculum, the more diversified the students and their teachers the better for the children and for the world they will inherit. Let us continue to support liberal education at all levels and the “products” will be ones we can all be proud to call our own.

  212. At age 6, I was diagnosed with ADD; the same year, I started to learn the violin in a public school setting, while receiving special education services from the same public school system: The North Suburban Special Education District in Illinois. If it wasn’t for that early intervention program that was recommended and my parents enrolled me in, I wouldn’t have to learn to read and write, or even graduate from high school. Well, I am now a College Graduated Music Educator, teaching violin to children and adults, some of whom have special needs. If it hadn’t been for that intervention from master’s level educators in a small classroom size, I wouldn’t have achieved to the level that surpasses all expectations. Every Child should have access to the same kind of education that I was blessed to receive, and I hope that this vision is implemented.

  213. I am SOOOO glad to see this petition! I have said for a long, long time that what we need is a complete educational revolution – on the scale of what we saw in Wisconsin with the unions or with the Seattle teachers refusing to give yet another test……but BIGGER – nationwide! A complete walk out at all levels of public school! Education “Deformity”, as I like to call it, has changed the face of education and given kids a terrible lesson about what REAL learning is! The time it takes for teachers to create self-assessments under with the “new” core curriculum, the amount of time testing and prepping for test, the wasted hours – net, weeks – spent justifying meeting the standards; the lack of focus on creativity, imagination, critical thinking, character education and experiential learning is despicable and harmful to all. And it’s an insult to the teaching profession! What other professional has to get a graduate degree, take a (bogus) test, and get licensed….and then is told what to teach, how to teach and when to teach it?! Thank you for starting this petition! Where does it go from here, though and who will hear about it who can make a difference??

  214. The problems with the education system in the United States are but some of many problems in this country. Politicians in Washington, D.C. have forgotten that they are in office to serve this country and its legal citizens – they work for us. Most of us seem to have forgotten that as well. We, the people, put them in office and can remove them from office. The people must collectively speak loud enough, and take action where necessary, to make our politicians understand that we are tired of politics as usual and we want changes now. We have the right to expect them to be totally loyal to THIS country and its legal citizens, the majority of which are middle-class and include families, children, and a growing number of seniors and veterans; and, if they are not they should be held accountable and removed from office immediately, not necessarily at election time. The President and every member of the Senate and the House should set aside party loyalties and earnestly work together to fix the problems in this country and ensure that all legal citizens have the opportunity to improve their lives. Their loyalities and their actions should be to this end and not to political parties, lobbyists, other countries, big corporations, the wealthy, and illegal immigrants. Our government could ensure that the USA is the best country on this planet; that our economy is vibrant and healthy; that our education system is the absolute best; that all legal citizens have access to affordable higher education, housing and healthcare; that we take care of our children, our seniors, our disabled and our veterans; that our military is strong and properly equipped; and that our borders are appropriately protected against drug trafficking and illegal immigrants. They can focus their attention, efforts and our taxpayer dollars to fix the problems in our country. Until they do this, they should stop trying to fix the problems in the rest of the world and stop sending taxpayer dollars outside of this country. They could also save money by reducing our government’s size, staff and overhead expenses. They could also eliminate all tax loopholes that benefit big corporations and the wealthy. Making this a better country, with a better economy, a better education system, etc., is doable. But we the people must want that and we must emphasize that to all of our politicians. It is up to the people to put into office men and women who really are loyal to this country and its legal citizens and have their best interests at heart, putting them first and foremost ahead of all others. It is also up to the people to remove from office those who do not.

  215. If the top heavy policies and decisions continue you will see teachers and arms leaving the profession in droves.

  216. In Memphis, TN, our inner-city schools are being taken over by the Achievement School District (ASD) due to “low achievement scores”, and the fact that the Shelby County public school system doesn’t want these students, who happen to be mostly low-income African Americans and Hispanic. The top two ASD officials have annual salaries, bonuses, and benefits packages that total over a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS each. They make more than U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan earns. In my opinion, ASD has the biggest privatized charter school authorization “buddy” system going on in the country that relies solely on public funds. Applicants who are not authorized to operate charter schools have no appeal or redress process as ASD operates, again, using public funds, like a monarchy. We are angry because every system that uses public funds should be transparent and have a system of checks and balances in place to ensure integrity. What is going on in America when money that is designated to improve public school education outcomes goes into a top-heavy vacuum with no oversight, redress/appeal process, or accountability? With all the local, state, and federal funds that go into ASD, they should be producing Baby Einsteins by now. Let’s see the data. I would like to know if this is how America intends to race to the top? Or, are we be taken down a slippery path to becoming a third-world country? As we were told during our interview…”There are no right or wrong answers to this question?”

  217. education, schools and standardized tests

    New idea, springing from article this week:
    Can a group of experts, especially ones with life experience of many Blacks and others in ghettoes and iin poverty, devise new standardized tests…ones that many of us white Honkies couldn’t pass because we lack the experience? I suspect it’s highly possible, and maybe a useful tool to demonstrate the unfairness of the present testing system.
    If kids from a wealthier background have the advantage now because the tests are created by people like themselves, maybe the establishment could be taught a lesson on the bias their tests take for granted
    (And I secretly wonder how Obama would do on such a test?)
    Larry Carney
    Clifford, Ontario

  218. My daughter works diligently and hard for her students in a Brooklyn, NY public school. She and her co-workers are literally besieged by hostile powers from downtown and in Albany. We must stop this war on our schools.

  219. Children are not widgets, that can be placed in a form, subjected to several tons of pressure, and finally emerge looking like the the market models dreamed up by some ad guy who doesn’t understand manufacturing. They are individuals with different needs and learning curves. Only an expert who is well-educated in her subject, as well as child development and pedagogy, who is then paid appropriately, and given the space and time to do so, can be successful in facilitating a child’s educational development. As an English teacher, I am not qualified to do oral surgery; neither is an oral surgeon qualified to decide how best to educate my students. Teaching has been reduced to a job, not a calling. We are workers, not professionals. And our students are merely pawns in a high-stakes political game, played without regard to their human and educational needs. So sad.

  220. One of the most important fundamental changes that needs to be included in the NEW educational system is to teach “Self-Discovery Science”
    By this I mean students by the age of 10 can learn to focus attention and manage stress without expensive and dangerous drugs, when they are introduced to biofeedback and neurofeedback. For a free 80-page booklet with lesson plans from several teachers, go to: main page and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Included in this booklet are 4 pages to be printed landscape in color. This, when taped together becomes a meter long (40″) electromagnetic spectrum chart to show the direct relationship between human energies (heart rate, brainwaves, etc.) and those of Earth, Sun and sound. I began introducing biofeedback in the classroom in 1974. Those of us who did so found remarkable results in helping students to handle problems more easily…. and it helps the teachers, also.

  221. We have been at the nadir of educational policy for quite a while. But when enough teachers, parents, grandparents and students unite we can
    enforce change. Been in this fight for decades: we must go on!

  222. Our public schools are our future. We need to work with what our children know and encourage them to find their own strengths. We have to learn along with them, demonstrating the excitement and power of learning throughout life. Testing is only a good tool in the hands of teachers looking for what students know, not what they don’t know.

  223. It is about time to take action. We need to all become active for our children and grandchildren. It is our moral duty! Let us get on with it. It will soon be too late for us to take action.

  224. The root of education,educar,which means “lead out.Real teaching allows “out” which means allowing a child to safely develop self esteem.How does one teach a subject and allow the child the joy of discovery.How important is it when the teacher says “you must learn this now.” The subject manner must conform to the needs of the child and not insist they must conform to the plan devised by committee.Each child is different and so is each teacher. Let both have the joy of expression and discovery.

  225. Food for thought:__ The people that are SO concerned about our children inheriting a debt .. really are voting to double student loans .. ??!! .. Doesn’t make sense .. ~

  226. I have taught The Illinois School Code in 56 educational institutions, to hundreds of parents, teachers, principals and community members (Local School Councils, LSC). The Roles and Responsibilities of the LSC in the school system was a big part of the curriculum. From that experience I can say that there are a large number of parents who have no understanding of what an educational environment looks like in the home. These parents are not particular to an economic class. Some of them had college degrees yet failed to comprehend their role as the children’s first teachers. Without that primary learning environment a child may start school educationally handicapped especially if the school is lacking in educational funding, overcrowded, and has a challenging disciplinary structure (School to Prison was created in the school system). Parents and teachers must work together to educate any child. If the schools are underfunded or lacking in supportive curricula then the child suffers. It does indeed take a village. This initiative is sorely needed.

  227. Between the dismantling of our Public Education system and the privatization of American education along with that abomination “no child left behind”, I fear we really have our work cut out for us! Education at all levels is a real mess and as a community leader and progressive pastor I observe a real anti intellectual direction in our country which is quite frightening.

  228. As an arbitrator of labor/management grievances and bargaining impasses for more than 20 years, I have seen the destruction rendered by the cut the budget and disparage the teacher duality. It is time to stand up for a fair system of taxation. Wealthy corporations and financial institutions must provide their fair share. THE MONEY IS AVAILABLE. The reactionaries must cease their demonization of teachers, administrators, school workers. and the children of urban America.

  229. Grover Norquist should be arrested and tried; due to his ideas and philosophy; in my opinion. His ideas and philosophy has fueled The Republican Obstructionist Congress. Norquist should be treated like Jack Abramoff and put in prison. It’s alleged that he was involved with money laundering, mail fraud ; just as Jack Abramoff. He also it is alleged that he is funded by Muslim Extremist Asssociations. This Mr. Norquist is an impediment to any reasonable bi-partisan negotiation. There is something werong with this man ; in my opinion; when he he says ” he wants to shrink the Federal Government that he can “drown ” it in a bathtub. He is an impediment to this rteform

  230. That is a beautiful distinction you have drawn – that it is not a School to prison pipeline but an effect of ever Widening inequality and divisions that are well known to/designed to lock people Out of ever Narrowing “legitimate” channels of opportunity. It is already a “mathematically proven” fact, starving education leads to a contracting economy, a downward spiral that eventually sinks everyones boat. It’s some kind of punitive, irrational, austerity game that the elite are playing out because it temporarily gratifies the “Survivor” in them. They can afford it for the moment because they rigged the game and stole all the chips. But we’re playing with our Lives. You gonna let them play with Your Life/Your Childrens’ Lives? Unrig the game and take back your chips.

  231. It is long past time that morons such as those in the Bush family quit making money from education privatization schemes. A stupid country follows “leaders” who lie them into wars for money/bankers, e.g. the moronic George Bush Jr. and his Rasputin-like puppet master Richard Cheney.

  232. Benchmark Testing stifles creativity, passion to learn, development of problem solving skills and the development of logical thought processes. It also destroys innovative teaching methods, respect for the teaching profession and vocational incentives leading to highly qualified teachers. Students should be given the opportunity to learn for the thrill of learning and their inquisitiveness channeled by dedicated teachers.

  233. The only “top-down” reform needed is equalizing the financial resources available to school districts. In too many states wealthy districts try to clutch their money to their breasts, wanting their children to have educational advantages at the expense of equality of opportunity. Poor kids deserve to have an education as good as rich kids have. When we have that, then that will be the true route to “no child left behind.”

  234. See below a letter I recently had printed in the Columbus Dispatch, with a similar one in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

    As I follow the incessant coverage of standardized test scandals in our nation’s schools, I am struck by those covering and opining about these situations demonstrating not the least bit of understanding about the root causes of this trend.

    Don’t misunderstand: I believe the cheating by educational professionals is unacceptable behavior. However, it is completely understandable given the intrusion of the corporate inspired amateurish standardized test mania overwhelming our schools. And neither major political party seems to have a clue about their contribution to this mess. Those who have cheated have in almost all cases done so because their positions were either threatened if scores did not improve or driven by extrinsic rewards such as equally foolish and ineffective merit pay schemes.

    So much of the current attacks on public education have been framed inside a concept called the “business model.” As it turns out, many uninformed elected officials, and even many education-bashing business leaders themselves, apparently don’t understand at all the fundamentals of effective businesses.
    The centerpiece of effective organizational practice, whether in the private or public sector, is clarity as to purpose. And it’s precisely there that those many critics don’t get it. Ask them what the purpose of education is, and you’ll likely get answers such as, “master the basics…prepare students for work…raise test scores…improve graduation rates…encourage life long learning…get more into college,” and the list goes on.

    These are all commendable but they are desired outcomes and not the central purpose of education. A well-conceived purpose will achieve all such objectives and more.

    As I have come to realize, the fundamental purpose of education is “Engendering increasingly enthusiast learners who continuously seek and achieve the skills necessary to advance their learning, satisfy their natural curiosities, and become contributing citizens.”

    Skilled professional educators know this instinctively. And when we all get this and begin to measure its presence in our schools, we will finally make progress. Those who do understand it, and have measured it, are struck by the level at which we miss this purpose and how devastatingly misplaced and detrimental is our emphasis on standardized testing and all that it represents.

    Bob Barkley, 490 Evening Street, Worthington, OH 43085 – Phone: 614-844-4788

  235. This issue is personal for me. I was reared in a family that had lost everything in the Great Depression. There was NO money in our house, but we were not “poor”. My parents knew the value of education and encouraged me to use education as the pathway out of our hardscrabble existence. Public schools, state colleges, and the educational programs of the National Science Foundation provided the access to education that personal and family finances could not provide. As a result, I eventually became a university professor, teaching at South Dakota State University, Iowa State University, and Cornell University. Along the way, I learned that education involves much more than providing the “right” answers on a standardized exam. — Every student deserves the opportunity to “be all that they can be”. That involves critical thinking. Public education is the pathway for all.

  236. High stakes testing of students means nothing. Students do not care what they accomplish on those tests. They have no effect on their grade and as a result they are just coloring dots to hand in a document. I have seen it a thousand times each year that I administered the test. If the student does not get an immediate reward or some incentive to do well on the test they just fill in dots to get the test out of their way. It means nothing to them. Most of the time they do not even read the questions. They might do a terrible job on the test as a revenge factor to get back at certain teachers or departments. Students are not loyal to their school when it comes to high stakes testing. They are just filling in answer sheets to get the test out of their face that day.

  237. Each child is a “special needs” child; education should be individualized to meet her/his needs. Teaching to the “mean” is not effective.

  238. The idea that the US public education system is failing based on international test score comparisons is a lie perpetrated by a corporateocracy hell bent on privatizing public education in order to line the pockets of test publishing companies, technology edusysters and educational privateers. The standardizers of educational experience advocating for a common Pavlovian pedagogy enacted upon unsuspecting children are out to replace teachers who are knowledgable in holistic approaches to learning and replace them with cheap pseudo teachers who can manage scripted curricula emphasizing information processing and radical behaviorism.

    The same corporateocracy responsible for the failure of imagination that is NCLB and high stakes standardized testing are offering an even narrower form of educational experience through the common core. Children are not in control of their educational experiences when testing companies dictate to them what they will learn, how they will learn it and when they will learn it. Problem is…children learn at different rates and in different modalities. When high stakes tests determine whether a teacher will keep their job, children are objectified, and teachers will teach to the test. What the Common Core is prescribing is Pavlovian Behaviorism for other peoples children. Americans deserve better!

  239. Schools and teaching should be exciting, stimulating, meaningful, relevant,fun and enjoyable. Teachers and students should look forward to attending school. Learning should be a lifelong endeavor. None of “No Child Left Behind” fits into any of these catergories.

  240. All school systems should be required to provide their students with a complete and through education. All subjects must be taught, not just Language Arts and Math because that is what is being tested. Test-Prep. should be prohibited. The current obsession with DATA should be stopped. Teachers should be allowed to be teachers, not coaches or ring master at a three ring circus. Instruction should direct and systematic. School systems should adopt a curriculum similar to the “Core Knowledge Foundation Curriculum”!!

  241. Great idea. As a college professor, I am tired of dealing with the lack of preparation resulting from the leave no child untested policy that’s destroyed students’ intrinsic desire to learn.

  242. This movement is dangerous to our corporations who don’t want us to read ingredients, much less know what they are, understand how and where things are made, comprehend the financial ‘loophole-loving’ their hired CFOs and CPAs implement and how to parse advertising……..teaching to a test ‘they’ develop, then sell for big $$$ to schools isn’t the status quo – it continues to worsen the ‘status quo’…………they are the predators – ‘we’ the prey. Hey, parents! How do you feel about your kids being ‘educated’ to be prey? Just like, maybe, you…..?

  243. we seem, in our race forward, to have forgotten the most important part of teaching – learning. perhaps such a petition will give us pause, a chance to think and speak about how we determine that a child is learning not just what is presented but how to show and speak to positive applications of the learning process.

  244. I am encouraged by the broad approach to restructuring our current public school system. However, i am concerned that the entire emphasis appears to be on assisting those who need additional support in the system. Nowhere do i see an emphasis on providing for the gifted. I am concerned that the gifted receive as much support as those who come from impoverished backgrounds. Only when we as a nation recognize the needs of each individual child for an education that answers their needs within the system’s framework will we have achieved a mature and fully functional public education system.

  245. I’ve felt so isolated these last few years, thinking that few others agreed with me about education and that the for-profit movement had the upper hand. I’m so glad that someone is organizing a mass movement to respond to the greedy and punitive pols who are ruining American education….not to mention our corrections and policing systems.

  246. Finally, a real chance to come together on education. I find it so difficult to grasp how our educational system caters to the elite, the rich, the fortunate ones while literally robbing the poor’s children out of a decent and proper education—since they can not afford to pay to play. After high school, if the student is not completely lost by the system’s failures, the student is prayed upon to enter into a LIFETIME of student loan debt by Banksters! What nation straps is citizens with debt-slave status just to go to school (now over $1 Trillion Dollars)? THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

    In hind-sight, we are all to blame for our complacency over the last 30 years that has allowed Reagan’s radical War on Education to dismantled our great public educational system. Now, society is starting to pay the price for this sin. So lets wake up and stand together to create a system that guarantees a quality PUBLIC education for ALL of our children, not just for the spoiled rotten elites! Remember a man called Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia, the first free college — we can do it again. I hope and pray this program addresses the many thoughtful post I found in this thread, or I feel this country will continue to face a rapid decline on every economic and social front. —Peace & Love

  247. Concur. I work with students from grade school through university level as a tutor. “Teaching to the test” is a disaster; they are often incapable of relating ideas together to form a whole. At the same time, simple things which ought to be memorized (such as multiplication tables) haven’t been, so progressing beyond that becomes hideously frustrating and complicated for them.

  248. As a retired teacher of 21 years in High School and Community colleges after a career of 24 plus years as a US Naval Aviator, I am convinced that the teaching done in advanced placement or honors classes is much more effective. Not only is it more challenging but it is much more interesting for the students. The teacher is much more capable of selecting material and tests for certain groups of students and grading accordingly. They are the ones who know each other best. Administrators who dream up stardardiize tests are for the most part not classroom teachers and base their test on what they imagine tests and accomplishments should be. They don’t live in the real world

  249. Having had a long teaching career on a Faculty of Education in a Bachelor’s of Education Program, I spent much of my time supervising students in school placements and teaching secondary and post-secondary methods courses. Earlier in my career, I served as a school principal for thirteen years, working often with student teachers. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that my students developed successful teaching skills more through their practicum experiences than they did through hours of theoretical coursework in methodology. Working directly with students under the guidance of experienced mentoring teachers provided them with confidence and a level of engagement that our university courses just couldn’t match. Too often we graduated new teachers on the basis of their grades rather than on their moral and intellectual aptitudes for teaching. For many years I have been recommending that we should adopt an apprentice-like teacher training program with complementary methods coursework that is aligned with their practical experience in the schools. An enormous amount of expense, for taxpayers and students could be avoided and the public school programming could benefit tremendously from the presence of the student teachers. The assessment of the student teachers would be made more accurately because one would be evaluating their committment and actual performance within the context of the school setting. Successful teaching requires a broad range of inherent human traits, traits that cannot be taught through a text or determined from a transcript. High academic standing as an undergraduate does not alone a teacher make. Teaching is a practice, not an academic discipline. Get a BA in a discipline then learn to teach in the schools.

  250. Our daughter graduated high school in three years, and college in three years. She made the national dean’s honor role, with two majors in English and Art, and a minor in Spanish. We always told her, to get a good education, because that was something no one could ever take away from her. She made us very proud. Education is a very basic part of life. We must preserve public education and hire good teachers with good salaries, and teach the children to respect them as they would respect their own mothers and fathers.

  251. Finland has an education system that hires (and handsomely pays) only the best and brightest teachers and their education philosophy is centered around facilitating creativity from their students.

  252. Education is not only about employment skills. It is also about transmitting our civilization to the next generation (and I don’t mean only Dead White Males). The narrow focus on “skills” is stultifying.

  253. As a social priority and a key element in the well being of the people of the nation and the world, education must be provided to all on an equal basis. I think that in the case of public education, the practice of taking public funding and putting it in the hands of for-profit companies is a recipe for disaster. A quality public education is as basic to the perpetuation of the quality of the lives we live as any other factor, including the security we pay so dearly for through military spending, and educational funding should be maintained just as staunchly. We don’t depend on the vagaries of the market to provide our national security, and we can’t afford to have public education depend on them either.

  254. This movement is an encouraging development. As a recently retired English teacher, I have had the misfortune to witness the dismantling of programs of excellence in the service of a testing frenzy unlike anything we could have imaged twenty years ago. How is that supposed to prepare our students and our nation for this new century? The corporate influence on education benefits those who are interested in two things– profits and an uneducated populace of non-stop consumers.

  255. parents in our failing rustbelt City school system are racing to enroll their kids in charter schools. Only a few of those have shown decent results.
    Stripping the City School District of funds needed to properly teach and also provide a host of supportive services and enrichment are thus reduced. Business leaders, who raised their kids in fine suburban schools, don’t see that this is only making things worse. With adequate funding for early childhood education and our public schools, it may be possible to decently educate kids in the City; notwithstanding the enormous handicap of the 80% poverty rate and very poor job outlooks for city residents.

  256. Public education that is equitable, available for all, and focused on learning and developing critical thinking is the foundation of a democratic nation. Unfortunately, in this country and for too many people, often in positions of power, the emphasis is on efforts to derail it into profit-making companies, to stigmatize teachers as lazy or as non-professional, or to turn education into data collecting and preparing for “the test.” This situation will not change until those of us who believe in the power of education and every child’s right to a good education speak out and challenge current beliefs and policy. The first step is this Education Declaration. The next step is to bring it to the general public and work to convince those in power, wherever they are, that this declaration’s reforms are the right things to enact.

  257. AND diverting public funding to CHARTER SCHOOLS is NOT the answer!! My son lives in Arizona where public money goes to Charter Schools which are not held up to common standards, teachers are paid minimum wage (my daughter in law is a teacher and she was paid $8.00 an hour and was not paid several times because they “had no money)..

  258. Chuck Baxter says:
    It’s time teaching became a science. No more psycho brain-boss gibberish to explain away why we aren’t teaching all students to an equal standard or higher.

  259. We need to fix us. It is my belief that we should leave our children a better America than we had (that was great), not leave it in ruin! Our system is broken and needs A LOT of work. I know deep in my heart that we, the American people, can fix this! We can fix anything if we band together, unite, and become the country we all know we can be! Lets go America!!!

  260. Thanks for this initiative. I am very concerned too about the current direction of Public Education. The dumbing down of US Citizens and especially our children seems to be a national phenomenon. Education needs to again focus on developing creative lifelong learners and thinkers fluent in reading, Math, Science and with knowlege of history and the world and not “teaching to the tests”. I am shocked at the multitide of ignorant, biased and outright racist statements coming out of the mouths of so many Republican Senate and House Representatives. Unfortunately, too many Democrats in positions of power are also turning our educational system over to Big Business and Publishers interests by placing our schools in the hands of Managers, not Educators. I am pleased to see this fight back for our children who deserve free Public Education from pre-school through College.

    It was a pleasure to read so many thoughtful responses.

  261. The punitive high-stakes testing regimes called education “reforms” have been toxic to our schools, teachers, and students. It would be better for government to do nothing than to continue this insane idiocy. While we try to raise the nation’s PISA scores, nations with high PISA scores are trying to make their schools more like ours once were before this standards-based education cult started. If government officials wish to help, then let them HELP rather than judge, condemn, and punish schools and teachers on the grounds of meaningless memorization tests which rarely measure anything besides students’ patience and willingness to put up with abuse (and which always ignore student histories and environments, so it’s frequently the school or teacher down the line from where the gaps were created who gets the blame, and the many disadvantages of low SES gets regularly ignored). Instead of politicians’ fire breathing, how about a national data bank of excellent lesson plans, or – better yet – interactive learning software with a computer for every student and each teacher as a support professional rather than a drill sergeant dancing like a puppet to the tune of politicians who know absolutely nothing about classrooms and student needs? In the latter case, all students could learn at their own rate (how is that for realizing differentiation?) and teachers could actually find time to help those with special needs. Top-down curricula are also questionable. Why not introduce democracy into school systems which are supposed to raise democratic citizens? There is a lot of good that could be done, but the draconian reforms of the last decades have always done the exact opposite. The current reforms continue this destructive tradition. Let it stop!

  262. Teaching children and adolescents is a job that America’s public school educators have done exceedingly well for decades. We must demand and force our legislators at both the state and federal levels to return the profession back to teachers and administrators. We must expect policy makers to protect the sanctity of effective teaching by ridding schools of the defeating testing companies’ influence on how we teach, what we teach, and the healthy ways that we as professional educators promote comprehensive growth in all developmental aspects of childhood and adolescence–from healthy social growth to the guidance of appropriate identity development. Now is the time to refuse to administer the standardized tests and to demand that NCLB be scrapped. Let’s return education policy to the local communities where it belongs!

    Read: Why America’s Public Schools Are the Best Place for Kids (2012) available in all formats at by Dave F. Brown

  263. I’ve been waiting for a long time for our leadership to see that education reform is the Emperor with no clothes again and react appropriately. I have watched reform unfoldwith mostly ill effects for students and schools for many years. It’s time to do what we know works! Let’s respect teachers, as the rest of the world does, and address the poverty and inequality of many of our students. Early education and language development are musts!

  264. It should matter more what you know; rather than who you know. Americans must focus on giving, teaching, and helping others again as our basic purpose in life as individuals and as a Country.

  265. The Montessori metho of teaching allows the student to participate in the choices and the activity that is carried on. It is the best method for long term learning as it allows students to build on previous educational experience and Life experience outside of the class room.

  266. We desperately need a thoughtful approach to meaningful education reform in our country. The privatization of public education is NOT that! The overload of responsibilities placed on educators in the public education system today is completely unreasonable, The top-heavy hiring practices with administrators arbitrarily invoking the “latest” new trend every few years has been a practice in ego-satiation of administrators and an out-flow of educational funds to the benefit of consultants and private corporations. The disaster of NCLB has truly resulted in the “teaching to the test” discussed above. We need an approach that is TRULY focused on the needs of our students and our broader society. The hostility of the far Right to public education has had a devastating impact on our country. This is an approach that appears to be solution-oriented, with an agenda truly focused on student learning.

  267. As a teacher, I have seen the destructive results of the misguided attempts at education reform that have occurred over the last decade or more with little to no consultation from those who work with students first hand. Students are now used as guinea pigs at the behest of each series of reforms trumpeting so-called benefits while introducing cost cutting initiatives that eviscerate an already piteously underfunded system. These short years through childhood and adolescence are preciously important to the development of a citizenry and when our children are marginalized, stratified by income and generally deprived of a high quality education, what outcomes can we expect? True reform will only come if we demand it, and an educational system that we as a nation can be proud of rather than embarrassed by will only come if we value it. Make no mistake about it, we are fighting for the health of our nation; do we build schools or do we build prisons?

  268. I’m a retired teacher in Forest Grove, Oregon. I was trained in Riggs explicit phonics in 2004. I saw immeditely it was better than anything I saw in the public schools. I have been investigating reading ed ever since, and my retirement dream is to bring EP to every public school child. See wikipedia: Dr. Samuel T. Orton. It’s cost-effective and FREE after teacher training. I can give you a list of 25 schools now using it. Very soon I will be releasing The Orton Whitmore Phonics Alphabet for K-2 kids. (It adds Dr. Orton’s 45 phonograms to our existing 26 letters to give kids an understandable tool to help them “sound it out.”) Possibly the “silver bullet” for our failing ed system. See,,, America is 22nd in world literacy–we can do better!

  269. In Wisconsin — and, I would think, around the country — we need to think about kids, their educations, and their futures. If we did that, school-funding reform would be easy: We need a system that provides local communities with the resources they need so that every child in the public school system receives the opportunities to learn in school and succeed in life. Instead, we get public policy that is ideologically driver, fiscally unsound, and educationally unproven.

  270. The health and wealth of our country depends on high quality and equitable public education. Let’s get back on track and make the necessary changes for the improvement of the educational system rather than the abolishment of it. We are only as strong as our weakest link!

  271. I utterly agree with Ms. Moore-Hargrove “Knowledge is Power”. Also I believe the Education is one of the greatest give the we as parent or caregiver can give to our children. Me as a ESE ASST. know the important and need in this matter I leave a piece of my heard with each of my little one that I work with.

  272. The declaration for more critical and creative education displays a well-intentioned start, yet we first need a national maximum class size (teacher-pupil ratio) when urban districts typically suffer from overcrowded classrooms and fewer resources. Foreign language should also be required for grades 2-6, when such secondary aquisition is much more naturally synthesized. In general, schooling needs to be customized, not standardized. Still, most researched-based pedagogical realities are ignored because capitalism demands a certain percentage of failing schools for a pipeline to prison and the military. Sadly, the Obama-Duncan Race to the Bottom remains more detrimental to meaningful learning than even Bush and No Child.

  273. Sure, I signed. Why not? In the last 10 years, small teacher advocacy/activist groups and their declarations and petititons are popping up all over the U.S, after over 30 years of seeing the destruction of the potential of millions of our students in our schools; poor students of color along with poor whites have been reduced to economic slavery, criminality, mental illness, physical illness, suicide, and a host of other diseases.

    Prediction: the small advocacy/activist groups with their declarations and petitions will continue to pop up around the U.S. for the next 10 years at the same time that U.S. elites and corporations and their middle class minions continue to destroy the lives of the majority. We have been divided and conquered; and could never unify into any type of significant movement for many reasons; we the people, do not have and can not learn what it takes to make any substantial changes in our perverted and evil U.S. educational systems. Just getting over race issues to do the real face to face daily work makes true and meaningful change mpossible. And at this point every little org that pops up thinks they are saying something new so wants to lead; will this org be the one to lead? Oh, I forgot, having one leading org with all the others supporting and actually working for it in tangible ways is a bad thing.

    Even if by some sci-fi stretch of the imagination we could produce systems that would allow a poor kid to compete with a middle class to rich kid; the jobs are not there and keep disappearing. What little jobs are out there are for the middle class to rich kids with a few token positions given to the poor kids just to keep up appearences.

    So sure, I’ll sign the declarations and petitions and actually physically move from point A to point B in effort to keep hope alive. But that’s the only thing that we will ever be allowed: hope. Hope we can have, because what would the status quo be without hope of the poor and struggling. We are fun and games for THE ONES who have and will continue to have real world changing power.The sun is big and hot and getting hotter every day; THEY hold the magnifying glasses; and we are the ants.

    So sure, I signed, keep hope alive, yes we can, etc etc, but would understand completely if not welcomed, so feel free to delete my name if you think I’m too much of a drag.

  274. I hate the mandates that fail to come with the resources needed to implement such mandates. I hope that politicians and others will stop wasting money on witch hunts of so called bad teachers as if this was the only problem to address in order to fix public education. I wish that the wasted money would be spent instead on the principles advanced by this declaration.

  275. the Republicans have long wanted to privatize education in this country, and they have done a lot of damage while moving closer to bringing this to reality. when americans stop voting for Republicans, there will finally be a chance to start moving the country forward again. When will there have been enough school closings to wake us all up?

  276. An education should develop and enable youth to live life constructively, with all the challenges and joys it contains, and prepare them to preserve the planet for the future generations…To that end, what does taking a “standardized test” prove? Does it show their ability to support the next generation, or that their time in school has been well spent? Have they learned to work as a team to solve problems, or to create novel solutions to difficult problems? Do they think with depth and complexity, and ask critical questions, or have they simply memorized meaningless answers to “pass a test”, and then go quietly down the beaten path? The value of a true education cannot be measured or replaced by a “standardized test”, or an electronic device!

  277. It is time to identify the things that distinguish us as a nation of learners and innovators and put a stop to the endless, moot comparisons to nations that are so very different from us in history, culture, diversity, geography, and size. We can no more be Singapore, than Singapore can be us. We educate everyone, from kindergarten through twelfth grade, with no tests for elimination (yet).These comparisons have done nothing but undermine the very things we have always done so well as a people: tolerate difference, think outside of the box, answer old problems with novel solutions, and offer an optimistic view of the future to our children.

  278. 53% of college graduates under the age of 28 are either underemployed or unemployed. It is time for education to be a benefit to our country again….and not leave so many behind.

  279. Just a few random comments.: the “school to prison pipeline” is often multi-generational: very few jobs have existed that pay enough to support a family, say in Newark, NJ where I live There was a process of de-industrialization. Corporations did and still do seek the lower wage, non-union areas. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, often it was Southern states. NOW IT IS CERTAIN LOCATIONS IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.

    Holding parents acountable misses the point of understanding purposively hyper-segregated areas of mostly non-white folks. Hyper-segragated areas were explicitly planned by the housing policies of Departments within the Federal Government, mainly through selective of access to mortgages. “White flight” was a coordinated, conscious policy of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!!! The relevant Department is coordinations with racist bankers simply denied mortgages to most non- white people. REDLING.Of course, many oher white people, from the real estate agents, white leaders in the growing white suburbs, the racial covenants of the “Levit-towns”– simply excluding all non-white folks.

    To hold the parents directly accountabile– claiming that the combination of schoools AND parents is THE solution, misses the most important set of causes: a political-economic system that puts profits before people. We must come to understand, as did Dr. King before he was assassinated: “it is a system of economic exploitation-militarism-and racism” that must be torn down and re-built.

    Since “we” never had America, “it is not time to take back America” it is time to build coalitions of all working people, to finally create a democratic set if institutions. Especially to democratize where everyone works: the working people of the corporations, the schools, the communities, and so forth, are also the owners: one person one vote at work– where we all spend most of our waking hours: some call this socialism. A dirty word, thanks to the efforts of all levels of Government, which began in earnest at the turn of the 1900’s. If “real democracy” — the ownership and decision making by working people at their places of work, so be it.

    “Our long endangered public school system” is actually a statement that is too sweeping in scope. Wealthy suburban districts, mostly white, and high level private schools in urban areas– mostly white– are doing “just fine” Harvard, and Yale and Princeton are happy to welcome the privileged. A sector of the public school system has “always been in crisis”– public schools in low-income poverty neighborhoods. “Damae done by teaching to the test” is often damage done to my students when they are born into poverty.

    The current hue and cry is partly related to business groups– and the Obama Administration, who cleverly created a national curriculum: the Common Core National Standards– the euphemism is using the term “State” Standards” A variety of profit-seekershey all see a new system “private educational system” in only certain demographic areas of education to make profits. These groups also include: the publishers and test-writing corporations; the companies that eventually take over some K-12 schools as “private corporations, and so on. In New Jersey, Commisioner of Ed. Christopehr Cerf and Gov. Christies have a direct relationship with the Broad Foundation– specializing in funding and training leaders for: charter schools; private charter schools; and full blown K-12 Private For-Profit Capitalist Corporations.

    If we do not see this bigger picture, bye-bye collective bargaining, bye-bye any autonomy in what we can teach and so on. Unfortunately, to me, the National Curriculum” is endorsed by the N.E.A. and I believe the U.F.T. Our leaders have failed us. This is a tough struggle!!

  280. teaching ” to the test” is brainwashing:- education….leading out…should expand the mind :- the purpose of education is to pass on the accumulated knowledge of previous generations and the intelligence to build on it by questioning…..(.what do all children ask when told to do something? “WHY?” ):- in order to become civiiised my little island race has begged , borrowed, stolen from cultures in some ways far more civilised than ours in the name of WOT? sabre- rattling, my dick’s bigger than yours…now all the historic documents..artwork, artefacts on which that great civilisation was built has been destroyed . saudis ( royal family that is) know damn well what they’re doing:- royal family rich as croesus, riddled with syphllis, (getting treatment in london, discceetly , while gambling,’ picking up girls,. drinking ) are deliberately denying education to the real source of the future :- by idolising and demonising women is it any wonder young men are screwed up?



  281. The overemphasis on the linear education for the 3 Rs, has left a new generation in a cloud. We must begin to introduce students to their own amazing body/mind potentials. This is done by allowing them to practice biofeedback and neurofeedback. These techniques have been used successfully in therapy for over 40 years, as well as in a few classes, starting in 5th grade. For a free download of lesson plans developed by teachers of different ages and classes, go to: Scroll down to the bottom of the web page until you find “Self-Discovery Science.”
    Included in these lessons is a meter long Electromagnetic Spectrum Chart in color to show the relationship between human energies (brainwaves, heart rate, cerebral spinal fluid, etc.) and those of sun, earth and sound. The newer technologies have made it possible for classroom use… to play games with your muscle tension/relaxation responses, with your emotional responses, and to find coherence in your heart rate and brainwaves. Results: Increased ability to focus attention (without dangerous drugs and dependence on Big Pharm for the rest of your life); Increased ability to manage stress (the biggest cause of illness in later life); Realization that we are all connected in energy…. that we are in fact a resonating circuit between earth and sky…. we are not alone in The Consciousness of Life of the Whole Biosphere.

  282. As a beneficiary of elite private primary and secondary education, I look at today’s trends in public education with real disgust; and remember how I was taught coming up, I ask “Why not?” An important part of why is that today’s rulers actually don’t want critical thinkers and problem solvers–they want obedient wage slaves. As a nation, we need to up-resource public education by some kind of crooked-number multiple with all deliberate speed. i mean in like three to seven years, much like the 3 to 7 multiple by which we need to up-resource our schools. These privatization, standardized testing, charter school, and for-profit post-secondary education schemes together constitute a rogue industry. It sure is sad. jimmy midnight

  283. I lve in Indiana, that has the largest School Voucher system in thme country. Over 20,000 students now use the Vouchers to attend Private Schools. The tax money that would go to the child’s home school district is transfered to the Private School. The student’s home school district LOSES the tax money and it is NOT replaced. Righet -Wing Conservatives like our Governor Mike Pence have an agenda to Privaitze Education, and put it under the control of private for profit investors. McEducation is not the answer. Please fight any attempt to impse School Vouchers in your state. Tax money in School Voucher schools in Indiana can now be supporing right-wing fundamentallst school “education” that does not teach tolerance and does not value diversity and fairness in our society. They can be sing my tax moeny to teach thqat thier brand of fundamentalilst christianity is the only true religion. I fear for or democradtic way of lfe fis School Vouchers become the nrom and the Publlc Educationm system is privatized.

  284. Linda Says, The problems you’ll looking at if you really think about it started about 40 years ago or maybe even 50 when most school districts started to combine smaller elementary and high schools into super schools to save money. It was to save money in taxes for teachers along with other things like building maintenance and so on. So what happened? Well simple a break down in our schools and home life along with our children’s behavior in society. We ended up with teachers not being able to give each child the attention they need to learn the way they needed to, but the state required that each child not be left be hind teachers past them learn levels dropped. Parents in the mean time have had to deal with bad economy, both working if there were a both, then coming home dealing with diner miss behaving child simple because their education levels are now lower. Lets not forget it is also against the law to spank a child who just got expelled from school for carrying a knife in school. Now is the teachers fault for just showing up for a pay check, it’s not what they wanted when they dreamed of becoming a teacher. Do we blame all the parents who where in love and had a few children and just struggled to give them a nice home to live in whether they rent or own. It was our elected officials those many years ago who had convinced our parents that it was in our best interest to consolidate the schools to save tax money and as anyone can look at our schools, our youth with knives, guns, and gangs. Parents who are helpless to fight back even if they wanted. I would take $20.00 extra a month from my pay to return our neighborhood schools. I had only wish our parents would have been able to see what a simple yes vote at each school board meeting to consolidate would do.

  285. I would like to know what is happening in Colorado on December 9th in the Colorado Springs area so that I may become more of an activist against Common Core. For the past 6 months, as a retired educator from the Colorado Springs major school district, I have become very alarmed about what is happening in Colorado. We have spoken in front of the Colorado State School Board in Denver, to no avail. It seems that our legislature and governor totally support the Common Core movement. When I read about movements against Common Core in Colorado, there is not much happening, as if it is here to stay. I found out that Bill Gates donated over 11 million dollars to support Common Core to our State Department of Education. Where are the vocal people in Colorado? I have joined the group Parents and Educators against Common Core on Facebook, but I have not heard anything about December 9th in Colorado except on this website. Thank you!

    Sandra L. Wickham
    Woodland Park, CO

  286. Privatizing equals profit. The profit motive is well and good in many areas, particularly in the manufacturing and selling of goods. Privatizing certain services for profit becomes much more problematical, particularly in education, health care, national defense, the criminal justice system, and other public services. The results of heavy privatization in these areas over the past four or five decades have,overall, been negative for the majority of Americans.

  287. Thanks! I have enthusiastically signed the declaration; a much needed declaration to galvanize our grass roots movement.
    I have a friendly, minor but important amendment: Add the word ‘and’ to the first bullet in the list of seven principles to say “aspirations for college and/or career” or just say “aspirations for college and career”. When we say college OR career we indicate that these are two separate paths and create a false choice that separates college academics from career aspirations. This is the legacy of an old, classist, obsolete distinction (in which the education system separated college bound students from vocational school students).

    Kay O’Neill

  288. Teachers are dedicated professionals, NOT machines.
    Children are creative and joyful, NOT widgits
    Classrooms are dynamic environments, NOT sterile laboratories,
    Parents are partners, NOT uncooperative adversaries,
    Supervisors help make the good BETTER!
    What is your role in our DREAM OF EDUCATION?
    Mary Najeddine

  289. If it’s “kids first” why are the students not allowed to make policy and determine how the schools should be run? Why are their voices NEVER heard? Why is it that the corporate owners that are profiting from privatization make all the decisions? Why are these decisions based on economics? What is the purpose of education- to turn out workers that would fit into offices and factories, to turn out artists and philosophers, to turn out housewives and religious ministers? In 23 years as a teacher PEDAGOGY was NEVER mentioned. There was never a single comment at staff meetings or in credential courses of what we are teaching FOR?
    I have been all over the world, speak 4 languages, and can verify that most of the world considers Americans to be appallingly ignorant about EVERYTHING, except inventing useless gadgets that could make a million dollars. They’re good at that.

  290. it is time to return to good schools for “all”, not just the few driven by privatization and the market based processes being pushed by the privateers and profiteers. The proliferation of boutique schools in Houston ISD is simply increasing the segregation of students, not simply by race, but by socio-economic status and, more insidiously, by ability. This failed small school approach is ruinous of the basic goals of public education. it is hoped that the progressive movement will catch up with the profit driven strategies running rampant today.

  291. Cut off the “smart-ALEC” Koch Heads (including JEB) and the Common Core and dog-wagging tails perish!

  292. Learning begins at home. (Note: Decades ago, Dr. Bill Cosby published a pamphlet with this title, to help less educated, often low-income parents understand how they can, indeed must, take simple basic steps at home to “jump start” their children’s educational journey.).

    Advocates keep insisting on EMPOWERING parents with “parental involvement” in making complex policy decisions that those of us who have advanced degrees are still debating! Yet, we liberals” know that Parents with limited education, low household budgets and stretched family time need HELP understanding how to carry out THEIR fundamental roles in raising educated children.

    I hope the Institute will add a goal to its Declaration to urge Boards of Education that sub- contract with local non-profit agencies for before/after school programs, to develop mandatory Family Parenting Education components. These program components must be user-friendly and inviting to help parents who are already pressured to understand basic actions they can and must take at home to prepare their children for lifelong learning.

    In the 1990’s, as CEO of a non-profit agency in Newark, NJ, I did two things: (1) required the low-moderate income parents/guardians of the teens admitted to our rigorous and popular summer work-study program to attend Mandatory parent orientation sessions (scheduled evening OR any other times individually for parents who worked shifts). (2) initiated the very user-friendly Family-Math-Science program developed by the American Association of Math & Science beginning with local black congregations, then in collaboration with a local Latino after school organization. The parent responses and outcomes were significant. Currently, the State of California runs simple but professionally produced “Talk,Read,Sing” television ads – PSA’s – depicting parents of diverse backgrounds interacting with their infants.

    In other words, we have any range of existing or “to be created” strategies and specific methods to engage parents as partners in their children’s education. It is not easy. But we must stop being “patronizing liberals” (Oh, they are too beleaguered, they work, blah, blah) and follow the formula used by thousands of poor minority parents who guided their children to educational achievement – emphasize “you can do this,” prioritize home space and quiet time for homework, visit the free cultural institutions like libraries, play educational games, read together every day, etc. And communicate high expectations for success to children – every day, no matter how hard things are.

  293. No one, Democrat or Republican, is talking about the biggest obstacle to improving education…funding. Too many states, (my state of Illinois especially) rely on the system of funding education through property taxes. Great system…if you live in a wealthy county or area of the county; absolutely putrid system if you live in an impoverished area. The funding formula is in desperate need of an adjustment, with tax revenue doled out on a need basis, instead of the percentage each county collected. Otherwise, we’ll perpetuate the current system of haves and have nots, with the have nots gradually overtaking the haves (if they haven’t already done so.)

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