Teacher Writes Letter Using Pearson Vocabulary

Dear Governor Cuomo …. a note from the students who did not opt out of the NYS ELA tests last week.

Diane Ravitch's blog

A teacher wrote this little essay and dedicated it to Governor Andrew Cuomo:

“There is a man in Albany, who I surmise, by his clamorous paroxysms, has an extreme aversion to educators. He sees teachers as curs, or likens them to mangy dogs. Methinks he suffers from a rare form of psychopathology in which he absconds with our dignity by enacting laws counterintuitive to the orthodoxy of educational leadership. We have given him sufferance for far too long. He’s currently taking a circuitous path to DC, but he will no doubt soon find himself in litigious waters. The time has come to bowdlerize his posits, send him many furlongs away, and maroon him there, maybe Cuba?

She added:

I’m not supposed to say this, but all these insanely hard words appeared on the 4,6, and 8th grade tests last week.

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A Follow-Up on Maggie’s and Josh’s Letters to Governor Cuomo

A few weeks back I published this amazing letter written by Josh – a fourth grader – to Governor Cuomo about the injustices he personally sees in his own education.

This letter has over 26,000 views as of today.

The second letter I published was from Maggie – an extremely articulate and feisty fifth grader also from New York, also addressed to Governor Cuomo, complaining about her public school education.

Maggies letter 2 2 2015In both of these letters, the children are complaining about how the testing is hurting them and their teachers and how their education is lacking music, the arts, and recess because of the flawed reform agenda.

So the saga of Josh and Maggie continues. Last week, Maggie’s mother posted two more letters – one that Governor Cuomo sent as a reply to Maggie’s letter and a second that Maggie wrote in response to his letter.

Here is Governor Cuomo’s response to Maggie:


And here is our Maggie’s response to his letter:

10974664_920143638010780_2400886420286556389_oFrom the mouths of our children come the real questions here. Why is the Governor not responding to the cries of thousands of children and their parents? Maggie and Josh represent Every Boy and Every Girl in New York State. They want to know why their teachers are spending so much time testing them. They want to know why their teachers are being graded based on these tests. They want to know why they are being reduced to a test score. In addition, they want to know why they are being deprived of an education that educates their minds, souls, bodies, and spirits. They want Governor Cuomo to write back and assure them that they are much much more than a test score. Instead Maggie has gotten a form letter talking about the importance of public service? This is not right or just.

So, I publish this follow-up hoping that the cries of the students and their parents will be heard. I truly believe they deserve an authentic reply to their cries for help.

As of this posting, Josh has not received a letter back from the Governor but I do wonder if it would be the exact same letter that Maggie received.

Student Voices

I am reblogging this great collection of NY State High School Student voices. These were collected by Christine Zirkelbach – an angry mom who just wants the voices of these NY state high school students heard.

One Mom's Journey Through Education Reform

The following are letters written by students from a high school in the Hudson Valley.  This is very good school district, with a strong sense of community.  The graduation rate is 93% (keep in mind graduation rate counts only those who graduate in 4 years).  This year, special education students no longer have the Regents Competency Tests (RCTs) as a safety net if they are unable to pass the Regents.  Instead, they have to pass a math, science, US History, Global History & Geography and English Language Arts Regents exam with a 55 (or borrow points if one grade is high enough to loan to another exam). These tests are meant to be challenging, which makes them unfair for students with many different learning disabilities.  These students have taken some of the these exams 3, 4, 5 or more times and are now seniors.  Some made it and others are ready…

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Dear Governor Andrew Cuomo – A Fifth Grader Speaks Out – Maggie’s Letter

Two days ago, I published a letter from Josh – a fourth grader from NYC. That one letter has gotten over 13,000 views from all over the globe. I truly believe IT IS TIME for STUDENT VOICES to be heard. Today I received this letter from the parent of Maggie – a fifth grader from Central NY State. I am honored to share Maggie’s letter with my readers.

Maggies letter 2 2 2015Maggie is the fourth Student Hero presented on this Poetic Justice blog. She, too, is bold and brave and not afraid to put her opinions in writing. I truly hope that Maggie’s letter will be read by many and will encourage other students to voice their opinions in writing to the governors of their states.

As Maggie writes:

“Please read this letter completely and thoroughly until you (Governor Cuomo) get my gist. I am not the only student who doesn’t appreciate you trying to get our teachers fired.”

I do not think any of us adults could have said this any better. BRAVO MAGGIE!

Dear Mr. Cuomo – A Fourth Grader Speaks Out

This is going to be my third blog about a Student Hero. My newest hero is Josh – a fourth grader from NYC who has a legitimate beef with Governor Cuomo. Here is the very persuasive letter he wrote to the governor: 10407630_10153047556870798_3534263753656568750_n He is my hero because he is bold and brave and not afraid to express himself in writing. He is also my hero because he wants his words shared with the world. Josh happens to be the son of a filmmaker. Josh expressed his desire to impact the world with his own words just as his father impacts the world with his movies. His dad agreed to post his letter on Facebook and included his own fatherly rant with the posting. In the rant, his father stated:

…for full disclosure josh will never take a standardized test not while im around to make sure he doesnt. but we have watched as schools here lose their budgets and the pta turns into a fundraising arm to supply every single bit of funding for art, music and science, and we have watched the class size grow and recess and lunch get shorter and shorter. we love our school in spite of it all, and i will say to gov cuomo, you’ve really pissed the kids off…

It is time for those who hold the power and the purse strings over our schools to start listening to the voices of students and parents. Thank you Josh and thank you Josh’s dad for speaking out truth, and thank you for honoring me by letting me blog your letter. Now let’s just hope and pray that your power-packed words are heard.

Hopefully, this will be the first of many letters written by students to the governors of their states speaking out about the negative impact of school reform.