What lessons do we teach young people about government when they see the lies told about their schools and their teachers by public officials? Are we teaching them that elected officials can say anything at all, with no regard for truth or reality?

This is a letter from a high school student in Florida. Please read it. She makes more sense than the deciders in DC and Tallahassee or the pundits.

Esther, don’t give up hope. We need your good sense to turn this nation and your state around.

She writes:

I am a high school student who attends a public school in Seminole County and I applaud you for this blog. This past year especially I have felt as if every other second I’m being force-fed a meaningless statistic about how wonderful the education is in Florida and how we are excelling by leaps and bounds, while I watch teachers and students alike suffer the consequences of these careless political decisions.

Our school’s media center is also a “Hub for Technology” computer lab to be used by teachers for testing, and 124 out of the 180 school days it is being used for just that – PERT, EOC, FCAT, AP, SAT, ACT, semester exams – when are teachers supposed to have the time to teach? We worry about budget cuts (to an already laughable budget), but while faculty and staff are being laid off and programs cut, the money is being handed away to test makers. These tests give us meaningless figures to show everyone we can that we’re “progressing” but personally I believe we are regressing.

And the evaluation systems for both teachers AND students are so ridiculous, it’s as if the public school system is a parody of itself. The pressure a teacher is put under to have all of the correct phrases, learning goals, and “percentile gain” methods on display in their classrooms; I honestly don’t know how they manage to do it. Stopping to have every high school student hold up a hand gesture and gauge their understanding on a lesson every time one is taught, just because these Marzano techniques were highly effective in ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS is, to me, insane.

I don’t even know what to do about any of this either aside from hope that someone with power, someone with common sense, someone with a love of EDUCATION, realizes what is going on and decides to take action. Because seeing my teachers crumpling under stress due to the greed of heartless politicians is something that I can hardly stomach.