Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tom Poetter 4 Congress Ohio District 8: Letter to Educators

Dear Educators,  

Many of you know that I have been an educator for 25 years.  I have taught high school in public and private settings, worked as a teacher educator in higher education settings, authored many articles and books on education, teaching, learning, and curriculum, and served as a public school partner.  I attended public schools, and sent my own children to public schools.  My sons will both attend one of the best public universities in the country next year. You can and should call me a public school advocate with broad experience in the American educational system.

I am writing today to share my candidacy for Congress in Ohio District 8. Speaker of the House Boehner will not run unopposed in 2014.

John Boehner speaks the language of corporate education reform. His position on private charter schools discussed  in a Fox News Editorial on 1/22/14 reflects what I know and what millions of Americans -- and especially millions of American educators -- know about the privatization of public education: it doesn't work, and it threatens democracy.  In fact, the discrediting of public schools, the bashing of teachers and putting even greater constrictions on their work, the threatening of their professional and labor rights, and the siphoning of public money into private hands have led us to a brink in education, the kind that makes the Speaker's vision of a private education landscape even possible.

John Boehner believes that "school choice" works. You and I both know that school choice simply means choice for a few, neglect for the majority, and immense profit for the corporations.

As I and many others have been predicting, we see the signs of a private, corporate takeover coming to pass that will destroy the democratizing function of public education, that is the political connection that citizens have to making decisions about their public schools, and the end of any resemblance of local control over the school program and the expenditures of funds for students.  And, of course, an end result will be that our students will be no better off, learn far less, be less ready for college and work, and not be ready to act as citizens.

We need students who can problem solve and think in order to reclaim our democracy.

Another end result of all of this movement will be to line the pockets of corporate education executives and to weaken an education system that still, despite the odds, produces strong citizens and students.  All of the most important hallmarks of public education are eroding, or being taken away by corporate raiders who want to control what our students learn, how they learn it, and how they pay themselves to takeover schools and the education system.

When the citizens of Ohio's District 8 send me to Washington in November, I will work as hard as I can to turn back further attempts to privatize schools, work to re-authorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, its last iteration known as No Child Left Behind, and we know how that worked out!) so that we can move past the damages done to schools, teachers, and students who have seen their public schools become test factories and their teachers reduced to robots reading from a script, and lead a watch dog group that demands equal accountability for the use of taxpayer dollars wrapped up in inferior, substandard educational settings that are funded by taxpayer money but are not nearly as good as our public schools.  Our families and communities, children and teachers, deserve great schools.  They don't get the great schools everyone deserves, in every neighborhood across our cities, suburbs, and rural areas, because politics and the promise of private economic gain from education have trumped what we know about schools and citizens: our first priority should be to support and build strong public schools, not tear them down.

Teachers, parents, students and citizens, I am asking for your help. I need to spread the word of my candidacy via social media. It's essential that we get the word out to folks who understand the education issues at stake in this election.  The majority of the population has received minimal information regarding the truth about the Race to the Top policies that are swiftly privatizing our public education system. We need more educators in Washington fighting the good fight in order to reclaim our public schools and improve them to ensure that all children receive a whole and equitable education.  I am ready to take on that fight with the children in mind - that is my focus - that is my end goal.

Please tweet, Facebook, email and share the news of my candidacy for Congress Ohio District 8. Repost this letter on your blogs. Please "like" my Facebook page at Tom Poetter for Congress Ohio District 8  and share articles as we post them. Nationally, we must work together to take down the corporate machine. I am ready to get to work.

Thank you for your support,

For more information:

Tom Poetter on Twitter: 
Tom Poetter's Response to John Boehner's editorial on school choice links below:

Find Tom's earlier Facebook response and comments at this link:

Tom Poetter of Oxford, Ohio, is a professor of education at Miami University, and the author of over 50 articles/book chapters and 14 books on education.  He has participated in the first two United Opt Out National events in Washington, DC.  He is a Democratic candidate for the Ohio District 8 seat currently held by John Boehner.

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