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Petitioning President Barack Obama

Replace Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, with Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond

The Obama/Duncan education policies have been totally unsuccessful in terms of creating significant, positive changes to help students become proficient citizens and scholars. Specifically:


1. According to NAEP testing results, there has been no significant improvement of student learning in the U.S. over the past four years, and


2. According to numerous studies, urban students continue to fail to graduate or graduate with the skills needed for effective citizenship, scholarship and careers, and


3. The administration’s promotion of charter schools as an effective solution to the failure of urban schools has resulted in more failure, according to the CREDO research from Stanford, and


4. The administration’s promotion of the use of high-stakes, standardized testing for student assessment and accountability purposes has decreased the professionalism of teachers by removing their freedom to make curricular, testing and pedagogical decisions, and


5. The administration’s promotion of corporate-based school reform through profit-based, selective charter schools is marginalizing the sanctity of universal, public education as an essential part of our democracy, and


6. The administration’s promotion of corporate based education reform primarily emphasizes education for the purpose of economic growth rather than good citizenship, higher-level thinking and character development, three of the original and primary goals of education, and


7. The competition for RTTT funding and NCLB variances, as corporate strategies, have left many of our nation’s neediest schools without the financial support they need, and


8. The administration continues to emphasize high-stakes, standardized testing as a significant part of education reform, despite the fact that it has proven to be a failure for helping students grow and develop effectively, and


9. The current Secretary of Education, Mr. Arne Duncan, has no teaching experience nor has earned an institutional degree in education, other than his failing record as Chicago’s Superintendent of Schools, and


10. The RTTT and NCLB variance policies have stifled educator creativity throughout the U.S., by coercing adherence to non-research based policies, such as more standardized testing, the implementation of Common Core curriculum and assessments, teacher evaluations based upon student test scores, the creation of more charter schools, merit pay and ending teacher tenure, and


11. The administration has failed to significantly address poverty and its related issues (lead poison, nutrition, teen pregnancies, pre-natal care, parenting skills, housing, racial discrimination, etc.) as the primary cause of education inequities and student failure, and


12. The administration has not taken a firm stance against the “union and teacher -bashing” advanced by many corporate-based, education reformers, and


13. New teachers continue to leave the teaching profession at an alarming rate; often due to the stress associated with demands for high-stakes, standardized  testing, corporate-based evaluation processes, the concentration of poverty, inequitable funding and resources, when compared to middle class school districts, and

14. The administration has failed to implement research-based, education reform strategies, such as performance-based assessment, small schools, low student-teacher ratios, intrinsic motivation, constructivist curriculum, positive teacher-student relationships, project-based learning, and building teacher professionalism through higher salaries and participation in school decision making.

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