A teacher’s letter to the President

17 Jun
Dear Mr. President.

Nine years ago I heeded personal call to teach. I left a six figure Engineer’s salary to go into the classroom because I wanted to make a difference and teach kids in poverty the joys and wonders of mathematics. I figured if I wasn’t part of the solution, I was part of the problem.

Today, Mr. President, I got my assignment for next year. Thanks to budget cuts, and district lay-off’s and class size increases, my district has forced this engineer/math/science teacher to teach language arts and social studies. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for having a job and my heart aches for all the great teachers that we have lost to lay-offs.

Mr. President, I implore you to rethink your policies. Unfunded federal mandates from No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and now the Common Core State Standards adoptions are sucking the financial resources away from teacher salaries. Mr. President, consider the costs for testing alone. It is a multibillion dollar industry. Think of the benefits and savings found if you had the courage to train teachers on how to create and administer accountability assessments. Push the work to the people who are best qualified to do it. All it takes is granting the trust you claim to have in teachers to do their job.

Mr. President, according to your STEM initiative I am exactly the teacher you hope to have in classrooms. I am an Engineer, I hold a Masters Degree in Elementary Math Education, I am passionate about good math, I bring real world experience from industry, and I am a committed teacher.

Mr. Obama, remove the unfunded mandates of NCLB, RttT, CCSS and testing. Restore funding for teacher salaries, reduce our class sizes, empower teachers to do their job and watch what we can do for America’s children. Our passion is in developing the hearts and minds of kids. That is what you expect, that is what America expects. Please unburden us and let us do our jobs. A math teacher is a terrible thing to waste.

Best regards,

David L. Russell
Murrieta, CA

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