My Response to Barack Obama about Education

Today, I received a typical generic rallying type email, by which I was apparently supposed to be so moved with pride that I would participate in some sort of meaningless celebration that would… go down in history?

I couldn’t help replying, though I’m sure no one at will read or pass on.

I appreciate the time you took to thank me, Barack.  And congratulations to you on the successful implementation of your health care reform plan.

However, I am no longer able to stand by your side because of the devastating policies affecting public education that have arisen during your presidency and Arne Duncan’s time as Secretary of Education.

The legacy of Race to the Top will include a drastic increase of standardized tests imposed on our children, tests that are flawed products that line the pockets of large corporations like Pearson Education and that do not measure the true abilities of our children.  The one-size-fits-all concept behind the Common Core State Standards has driven a majority of our children to hate school and forced teacher morale to an all-time low.  Scripted curriculum in the form of modules have stripped away teacher autonomy and removed the joy of learning from our classrooms.  High-stakes testing used to unfairly judge our children, their teachers, and their schools has turned our beloved schools into nothing more than test prep factories where curriculum is narrowed and valuable programs like art, music, gym, and even recess are being cut or eliminated.

The work you did is how real, devastating change gets made, and sadly we will suffer from it for years to come.

Any activists who are part of this fight can tell you—our educational leaders aren’t listening to what students, parents, teachers, and tax-payers are saying.  We can also tell you that, although it is never easy, we will continue to fight back against these dangerous, corporate-driven reforms.  This fight will not be easy, but it will always be the right thing to do.  Diane Ravitch knows it.  Susan Ohanian knows it.  Carol Burris knows it.  And many other political leaders who have actually listened to their constituents know it.

No matter how hard it gets, we will not stop pushing back against these policies until they cease to exist, until the millions of American children receive the quality and enriching public education that they deserve, like their counterparts in private institutions.

What we will achieve when we defeat destructive educational policies, and how we will do it by exercising our rights as American citizens to organize and speak out and opt out, will be the real story that should be documented for future generations.  We will be proof that real, lasting change is possible when ordinary people come together and fight for what they believe in.  We will not stop fighting until the corporate takeover of our schools is defeated!

Take a moment to let that sink in.

When I elected you to office, I thought you could be a president I could thank for your commitment to our country and all of its citizens. But I was wrong.  I cannot thank you and I do not want my name along side yours.

Devoted mother and informed citizen,

Danielle Boudet

On Apr 24, 2014, at 12:27 PM, Barack Obama <> wrote:

I had to take a moment to say thank you.

Danielle, you made history.

A long line of organizers fought for nearly 100 years to make health care reform a reality, and now we’re seeing the results. Millions of Americans have health insurance today, thanks to reform — some for the first time in their lives.

The work you did is how real, lasting change gets made, and I hope it will be remembered for years to come.

Make sure you’re included in OFA’s permanent record of the people who made health care reform happen.

Anyone who was part of this decades-long fight will tell you it was never easy, but it was always the right thing to do. Teddy Roosevelt knew it. Harry Truman knew it. Teddy Kennedy sure knew it.

No matter how hard it got, the results we’re seeing today make it all worthwhile. Millions of Americans now have coverage, and even more have better health care, thanks to the work you did.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

It’s proof that when people come together and fight for what they believe in, real, lasting change is possible.

What you achieved — and how you did it — is something that should be documented for future generations. OFA will install a permanent record of people who fought for health care at its headquarters in Chicago.

Make sure your name is added, alongside mine:

I can’t thank you enough,

Barack Obama


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