Here is good advice for the Gates Foundation:

Mr. Gates,
I have been working on this letter for days now. I just can’t seem to get my thoughts down before my anger gets the best of me. Then it turns into a letter of rant which helps no one, least of all my students.

I am a 10 year veteran teacher. I have earned my BA and my MAT. I also have received National Board Certification. I am sick over this testing and evaluation mess that you sir created. It’s time that you clarify and clean up what you have caused.

You and your buddies The Walton’s and Broady’s need to finally understand that you have accomplished nothing to further education. You have caused a chasm, a divide. You have made matters worse. Because it suits your agenda you have fueled the ‘everything is the teachers fault’ fire. We know it and you know it. If you truly care about students and their success and not about dollars and data points, then you will put your resources behind proven policies.

Here are some ideas that you can research, study and then support. These are changes that have actually been proven to be successful.
1. No for-profit schools. No one should make a dime off of students.
2. No standardized tests until high school. PreK-8th grade should be the time to instill curiosity, a drive to learn and to find what excites them.
3. Schools of Education should be extremely selective. Only the best and brightest should be accepted.
4. Educators should be held in high esteem as the professionals they are and paid accordingly.
5. End the competition between public schools. Support collaboration and cooperation.
6. Teachers should be expected to teach 4 classes (approximately 4 hours) per day.
7. Teachers should be expected to collaborate during the school day.
8. School meals should be free.
9. Health care should be accessible. Nurses at all prek-8th grade schools.
10. Individualized guidance for all students.

You finally agree that teachers should be at the table for policy discussions. Here I am. Hear me now: We are mad and we are NOT going to take it anymore. STOP this testing craze. STOP the school to prison pipeline. STOP closing schools. STOP making money off our children!

We won’t back down,
One of many BATs