February 26, 2020
Dear Senator Warren:
At the Democratic Primary Debate in Charleston, South Carolina, you proclaimed that you would hire a teacher as your Secretary of Education. If elected in 2020, your decision to hire a public school educator for this cabinet position would be a positive step away from the current administration’s choice of Betsy Devos. Furthermore, I would like to take this opportunity to explain why I (and why any of my fellow 3.2 million public school teachers) would be perfect for the job.
There have only been four previous public school educators to hold the position of Secretary of Education. Terrel H. Bell served under President Ronald Reagan; Ted Sanders served as acting secretary under President Bush; Roderick Page served under President George W. Bush; and John B. King, Jr, was appointed by President Obama. Unfortunately, the most recent teacher, John B. King Jr., was also an advocate for charter schools. All of the previous teachers turned Secretaries of Education played into the false narrative of what President Trump has called: “failing government schools.” These former educators must have suffered from amnesia when directing policies like “No Child Left Behind” and Race to the Top.”
What you need, and what this country desires, is a Secretary of Education who has a clear memory about classroom and schoolhouse dynamics Click To Tweet
What you need, and what this country desires, is a Secretary of Education who has a clear memory about classroom and schoolhouse dynamics. Choose someone from the proletariat–you have 3.2 million potential candidates. Make a call for public school teachers, not educational consultants or college professors, and disregard candidates from the corporate world. Hire a public school teacher who sees a student’s face in every policy and proposal. Use a public school teacher’s tireless work ethic to reform the issues that ail public education like poverty, de facto segregation, equitable funding, the teacher exodus, reform of teacher preparatory programs, school violence, Title IX compliance, vocational training, and crushing student debt.
Reinvigorate public education from the grassroots level–the classroom teacher. You claimed that you would appoint a secretary who will “believe that public dollars belong in public schools.” There is no better-qualified candidate than a classroom teacher who, every few weeks, transports a bulk supply of tissues into her classroom, paid for with her funds. Classroom teachers are the most financially responsible citizens. They know how to raise money for a field trip and when to recognize when a child needs a new winter coat. Put one of us in charge of federal education monies!
Test scores do not reflect authentic learning and have not provided the goal of American students outperforming students in Japan, China, and Finland. Click To Tweet
In the debate, you called for a Secretary of Education who would limit the reliance on high-stakes testing. Since the adoption of the Common Core Curriculum and the Race To The Top program incentives, the nation’s students have become extremely adept at bubbling in answers on a standardized test produced by the Pearson Publishing Company. Test scores do not reflect authentic learning and have not provided the goal of American students outperforming students in Japan, China, and Finland. No, Senator Warren, teachers will tell you that the standardized tests held no teacher accountable, but did take valuable time away from instruction. Furthermore, the testing movement does little to prepare our graduates for jobs in the trades, which are desperately needed. The only group that has benefitted from these tests are the people in the business of dismantling public education.
Senator Warren, I applaud your vision for the future of public education in the United States. Your own teaching experience informs your ideas. Please consider one of the millions of public school teachers for the position of Secretary of Education. I would be happy to discuss our qualifications further. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Laura D. Brown
Public School Teacher
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