Whether the President listens or not, we won’t stop telling him to pay attention to the people who work in the nation’s classrooms and schools every day. His Race to the Top is NCLB 2.0. The original failed because its sponsors tried to impose their theories on practitioners without listening. When we get the President’s attention, he will learn from letters like this one.

October 17, 2012

Dear President Obama,

I believe you are passionate about the potential for education to change the future for children and thus our nation. But the innovations your administration is seeking are taking us down the wrong path. Some of us have been working to improve education for many years. We have studied learning, curriculum, the change process, and supporting children in poverty. We are the professional educators that have had no voice in this administration. We have been able to make important changes in various schools throughout the nation, but have never had the commitment of time and money necessary to make the level of change we seek. I believe you would be inspired by what we do and have done.

For me and my colleagues, the teacher’s unions have been irrelevant throughout my more than 40 years of living my passion for children and teaching. I am dismayed that the union is shown to be the face of education everywhere I look. I think the unions have a role but it is so minor compared to the myriad of professionals who have dedicated their lives to accomplishing what I believe are your goals. Please listen to those who are, not tied to ideology, but to a search for understanding. Listen to professional educators.

Sincerely, Kathy Richardson Math Perspectives Teacher Development Center Bellingham, WA