Books are Enough

The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

To Whom it May Concern…

I did not address this essay to anyone in particular because there are so many people it should go to. Arne Duncan, David Coleman, Jeb Bush and Michelle Rhee are a few of the people I was considering but I realized they would not care. They have agendas that do not permit this discussion. However, they are the ones who continue to mislead the public.

I could address this to state legislatures and governors but they are incapable of looking at empirical evidence. Politicians have been scapegoating our schools for the ills of society for years. Maybe I am addressing “you” in a sort of objective correlative kind of way. So…

Do you realize that we feed kids daily because some of them give what food they have to younger siblings?

Do you realize that we let kids sleep sometimes because they were up really late, working to feed the family?

Do you realize that we work with kids kicked out of charter schools because they have “no chance” to pass state tests (or so they were told)?

Do you realize that we work with homeless kids who are not sure where they are sleeping after school?

Do you realize that we work with kids who saw family members killed by gangs and live in fear? They don’t give a damn about your constant testing.

Do you realize that we spend hours after school working with students as life coaches and tutors- for no pay?

Do you realize that we spend weekends driving kids to sports camps because parents cannot?

Do you realize that we keep kids in school and become mentors to kids who live in neighborhoods full of drugs and violence?

Do you realize that your testing obsession is the least of our concerns?

Do you realize that we are first responders?

Do you realize that you have given us(the experts) no say in testing decisions concerning our students?

Do you realize that it is not the role of schools to prepare workers for your factories?

Do you realize we help save lives daily?

Of course you don’t. You don’t have a damn idea about what we do or how little your test scores matter. Our job is to create book-loving free thinking citizens who love their fellow man and are not afraid to live.

And one more thing…

Stop spreading the lie that “education” is the Civil Rights issue of some random time period. Massive poverty and violence are the ignored Civil Rights issues of today. Scapegoating schools is immoral. Shame on you all.

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