October 22nd, 2012
02:13 PM ET

Homecoming queen breaks barriers

(CNN) - CNN's Don Lemon talks to Courtney Pearson, who became the first African American homecoming queen at Ole Miss.

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Letter-writing campaign shows frustration with Obama education policies
Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaks on the state of education at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 2, 2012.
October 22nd, 2012
04:10 AM ET

Letter-writing campaign shows frustration with Obama education policies

by Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) Earlier this month, Education Secretary Arne Duncan delivered his state of education speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., which was part self-review of his department’s goals and achievements and part campaign speech for his boss, President Obama.

But not all educators are ardent supporters of the president’s policies, and they are letting him know.

At about the same time Duncan was giving his speech, education historian and professor Diane Ravitch issued a call to teachers, administrators, parents and students to send letters to the president, expressing their sincere views on his education policies.

In her own draft of a letter to President Obama, Ravitch says, “Please, Mr. President, stop talking about rewarding and punishing teachers. Teachers are professionals, not toddlers.”  She also asks the president to “stop encouraging the privatization of education” and to “speak out against the spread of for-profit schools.” She adds “Please withdraw your support from the failed effort to evaluate teachers by the test scores of their students."

Teacher and education activist Anthony Cody volunteered to help gather the correspondence.  In 2009, Cody led the “Teachers’ Letters to Obama” effort and collected about 100 letters. That campaign led to a meeting with Secretary Duncan but no change in education policies.

This month, educators and parents sent correspondence to The Campaign for Our Public Schools website. On October 18, Cody compiled nearly 400 letters, almost three-quarters of these from educators. They were printed, bound and sent to the White House last week. Cody told CNN that “the level of frustration now is even higher” among teachers than it was three years ago.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Arne Duncan • Race to the Top • Teachers • Voices