Archive for 'Current K-12 Teachers'

Michael P. Klimetz

Dear Professor Ravitch,

This past September was the beginning of my seventeenth year of teaching science at John Dewey High School in Brooklyn. Since the school had been on the New York State Department of Education’s Persistently Low Achieving list for the past few years, it has been selected by the New York City Department of Education to receive remediation assistance in the form of a “Restart”. This method of remediation had been touted as the least invasive and disruptive among ...

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Las Vegas Teacher

I’m sure you get a lot of mail, but I felt like I had to reach out to you because you may be the only person (outside of my fellow teachers) who would understand my frustration. I’m an English teacher at an inner-city turnaround high school in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our school district is famous for being the worst in the country – so they say – and my school is one of the worst schools. Last year, 50% of ...

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Melissa Merwin

Dear Ms. Ravitch,

Hello. My name is Melissa and I teach Language Arts at an alternative high school in central Minnesota.  I work “part time” (all that our financially strapped district can afford), but put in well over 50 hours a week and I’m paid about $24,000 a year, but I don’t do this for the money.  I am writing this letter to say thank you. I read a lot of your nationally published pieces about education and education reform. Thank you ...

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Martin A. Olszewski


My name is Martin Olszewski and I am a kindergarten teacher for a school district in Western Pennsylvania. This is my second career; I chose it. The 2011-2012 school will only be my 12th year teaching, but it may be my last.

The current course of public policy with regard to public education can only lead to the final demise of this institution and the profession I love. No one test score can possibly measure the true knowledge of a student ...

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Jamie Shell

I just finished reading The Death and Life of the Great American School System, and I sincerely want to thank you for writing this book.

I am 30 years old and about to start my eighth year as a public school teacher. I was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow (a program that is sadly on the chopping block right now due to budget) and honestly initially went into teaching because I knew I wanted to “do something with Spanish.” The Teaching ...

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Jason Manviller

Hello Dr. Ravitch,

I stayed up later than I normally do to finish your book — I actually couldn’t put it down it was so compelling and through certain chapters found myself saying “uh-huh, yes, exactly, and that’s what my district does/is heading towards!”

Thank you so much for saying what many of us feel in education. We find ourselves looking around the room at staff meetings, bewildered, when we are presented with the onslaught of ill-conceived reforms, quick fixes, ...

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Thirty-Eight Year Veteran Teacher

If this gets to Diane Ravitch, I just want to say, “Thank YOU!”

I read The Death and Life of the Great American School System early in 2010, which prompted me to purchase additional copies for others and become an apostle of the rational word. The message has sustained me as I deal with the absurdities of sanctions and the disasters of reorganization in the time of Race to the Top.

Yippee, I’m from Tennessee and work in Nashville Metro Schools! We ...

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Florida Math Teacher

Dear Dr. Ravitch,

You don’t know me; aside from this e-mail, I’m sure you never will. I am a high school math teacher in central Florida. I teach at a public school, and have just finished my 24th year here.

I’m writing to thank you for trying to be a voice of reason in what feels like the war against public education. A couple of months ago a former student of mine who worked for a couple of congressmen and is now ...

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Misty in New Hampshire

Hello Dr. Ravitch,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your hard work in trying to educate the public about the damage we are doing to children through our obsessive reliance on standardized testing. I am a middle school social studies teacher in my 11th year, and I am currently working on my second research paper about why this testing is the wrong investment in our educational system. My first paper was written as my in graduate ...

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E in LA

Dear Dr. Ravitch:

I am writing to express my gratitude for the truths you revealed in your Op-Ed piece in today’s New York Times. There is much heat surrounding the public debates on education reform, and it is refreshing to read an article by someone willing to shed some light on the issue.

I am a public high school teacher in Los Angeles. I spent five years at what is commonly deemed to be a model charter, and I routinely speak with ...

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Priscilla Lightbourne

Ms. Ravitch,

I read your op-ed piece in the Times with genuine excitement. With rare exceptions (Bob Herbert and Joe Nocera come immediately to mind) you don’t hear the education conversation focusing on families.

I lived in Portland, Oregon and have taught in Title One schools my entire career. Three years ago I moved to Baltimore to teach for Baltimore City schools. I wanted to see what life is like for an inner city school teacher. Portland has poverty and there is ...

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David T.

As it is a Friday afternoon, late in the year, late in my career, I will not be nearly as eloquent as those whose letters have been posted on your website (a terrific idea, by the way).

To put the upcoming comment in context, I should note that I have been married to the woman of my dreams for 27 years, but I want you to know this: I LOVE YOU. Sure, you have heard it from countless teachers already, but ...

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Scott Schneider

Dr. Ravitch:

I am a high school teacher in North Rockland, a district just about 30 minutes North of Manhattan. Our district has been financially beleaguered recently by many things, not the least of which is the advent of the testing movement. It is a rare moment when I turn inward and find hope that I have chosen – and must stay true to – the right path for myself.

Yesterday, I graded the 8th grade ELA’s with my colleagues. A friend ...

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Kerry Lozito

Dear Ms. Ravitch,

I have taught high school math and science in the small rural town of Bishop, CA since 1984. I consider myself dedicated and philosophical, and I’ve seen many trends in education come and go. I heard your interview with Terry Gross on NPR and then bought your book The Death and Life, intrigued because our school was smack in the middle of standardized testing. This evening I had the chance to start reading.

This is the quote ...

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Amanda Sheaffer

Ms. Ravitch,

A few months ago I watched you on The Daily Show and subsequently bought your book. I felt validated and empowered by your words as our assessment season in Tennessee quickly approached.

So often I have felt as though classroom teachers have no voice in the education conversation, but in the weeks following your appearance on The Daily Show, I felt a sense of urgency. I wrote a short piece that was actually published by Edweek’s Teacher.

I want ...

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