An Open Letter To The President And First Lady

by EdwardBerger on March 31, 2014

Dear President Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama,

I am writing due to extreme concerns about the American Public Education System being altered and changed on your watch. I am in my 53rd year as an educator. I entered my first classroom,  as a teacher, in 1961 and have learned at all levels of instruction since that time.

As I analyze the legacy of your time leading this great nation, these specific concerns come to mind:

Prior to your administration a family could move from state-to-state and find basically the same common core of essential skills and age-grade level curriculum wherever they settled. This did not happen by accident. It was the result of great evolving leadership and the need to address the Americanization (socialization) of our youth. This is the concept that built One Nation out of a chaos of divergent views and cultures. Now? Chaos is returning.

Prior to your administration, with few exceptions, public schools were not created as sources of investment income or profit. Schools were run by democratically elected boards under state supervision. Schools were accountable for financial management and academic achievement. A proven (if not100%s effective) means of teacher accountability and school effectiveness was in place and functioning well in areas where great poverty and futility were not generated by our failed economic system.

Prior to your administration, the tax dollars Americans pay for public education could not be accessed by profiteers or religious groups and cults. No taxpayer was forced to support a religion, ideology, or partial school with their education tax dollars.

Sadly, strengthened by your administration, an unproven and false use of testing replaced the tests used by educators to understand student needs and to teach effectively. Data generated by wrong and unproven means is causing great harm to students and teachers throughout America. The only known beneficiaries of this drive for data are the corporations creating the tests, and the egos of billionaires who use their wealth to force their “hunches” on our schools.

Your administration supports those who can buy access to schools and thus children’s minds. Your administration accepts the whims of billionaires who have no certification, little or no contact with professional educators, no concept of the history of American education and how education is delivered, and most devastating, they have very little concern for our children. Almost all send their children to separate schools that do not follow the rules your administration is instigating.

Continuing in your administration, a cardinal rule of education is being violated. Children are being used as the fodder for experiments. Professional Educators do not experiment on children.  Parents do not send their children to school to suffer experiments. Damage is done to tens of thousands of children in the name of reform, change, and profit.

In your administration, the USDOE is responsible for the extreme and poorly thought-out ideologies about data. They have sold out to the profiteers. The DOE has supported the idea that corporations that profit from federal mandates (direct or indirect like RTT), should reform our great American education system. That people with wealth, but little knowledge of education, never vetted, elected, or certified, can devise systems that evaluate educators with student test scores. That experts and those who have done the hard work and learned on the job, are ignored and labeled crybabies. That groups that represent teachers are the enemy. That all kids should be standardized and educated by a cookie-cutter shaped by an unproven and inadequate common core that limits or replaces the teaching of the essential skills.

On your watch teachers have been denigrated by your DOE. This has resulted in a discount of public schools by communities and the lack of support for education techniques and procedures necessary for learning. It is responsible for an increase in discipline problems in our schools due to the, “Teachers are the problem!” message.

As an educator who believes in you and is filled with hope by both of you, these concerns about what is happening to our public schools project a bleak and ugly future for America. I understand the Tea Party take on all of this, but never thought they would win.  As of now, the history books will point out that the demise of a great national public school system was fostered by your administration.

History will show that during your watch, the American Dream and One America were severely damaged. In their place, control  by a wealthy few without qualifications, certification, or experience. An oligarchy motivated by profits, not the needs of America or America’s children. We will read that the destruction of public schools resulted in the end of American Democracy and the power of We The People.

Mr. Obama and First Lady Michelle, it is not too late to meet with experienced educators and education historians and counter wrong decisions and the damage done.

Edward F. Berger, Ed.D.

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Going Dark … but not out of the light

by EdwardBerger on February 5, 2014

When one writes in light, the expression “going dark” has real meaning. Since early 2012, I have been in the light, sorting through and sharing thousands and thousands of blogs, Tweets, FB sites, and correspondence from educators and those who believe the future of America requires free public comprehensive schools.

I believe in free education for all. I do not believe in schools for profit. I am dead-set against public tax dollars going to religions for inculcation. I abhor the takeover of our schools to push political ideologies. The awful idea that corporations can run schools is ludicrous. I believe that if democratically elected school boards are bypassed, or fail to function well, children are deprived of access to the American Dream.

I spent over 5 years researching and writing, Vital Lies: The Irrelevance Of Our Schools In The Information Age.  It is about where we are, how we got this way, and where we need to go. I have focused on the pulse of America and find that the so-called education reform movement does not represent the interests or the needs of students or our society. The primary drive that motivates “education reform” is access to the education tax dollars citizens pay. They are for profit, not for kids.

I’m taking a break and may be directing my time into another book – #12, histerical fiction, I’m thinking.  On Feb 7, Jo and I head to Mexico for three weeks in Nayarit and Jalisco. That will give me time to examine options. My gut feeling right now is that I will stay dark and let others fight the education battles. In this past 2 years, I have connected with a great American woman who is able to get Americans thinking and fighting to save the most remarkable education system in the world. Sure the system needs to evolve, but you do not fix something by killing it or taking it over for nefarious purposes.

If anyone who follows me has not read, Diane Ravitch’s, Reign Of Error: The Hoax Of The Privatization Movement And The Danger To America’s Public Schools, or her book, The Death And Life Of The Great American School System, then you probably do not have children and you are not involved in education or things to do with the future of our country. Diane Ravitch’s books are pivotal works – that means her books place pertinent information into the course of our society and the future pivots around that information.

So many educators and concerned parents do not read. “I just don’t have time,” I’m told too often.  After gleaning through many sources, I conclude that these citizens are responsible for the BAD that has happened to hundreds of thousands of children and to America. We have failed to meet our obligations as Citizens. Every parent must understand what a public school with a full curricula will do for their child, and reject partial schools. Every educator must educate their community and be an active citizen. Education is not about going into a classroom and shutting the door to keep out reality.

I have been asked to compile my WordPress blogs and the best of my FaceBook comments.  I will do that. At best, the information will give an insight into over a year tracking what is happening to or for our children. Our time in Mexico will help me adjust to having 4 – 6 hours a day free. Hours when I am not exploring the world through Social Media.

After an amazing meeting last week in Sedona, with amazing Citizens, we came to realize that educators  and parents need to share their achievements and the programs that are working for kids and communities. There are some really fine sites that share this information – I am hoping more energy is put into what is right – what is working – than that siphoned-off by those who want to destroy the American education system. Hasta Luego, my very special friends,

Ed Berger, Ed.D.

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I Was A Different Person Last year…

December 31, 2013

Ed, all you ever blog or Tweet about is education. Ending this year, can’t you write about something else? Okay, from 2013 here is something educational, but not about our schools: When I was in college, I inherited old books from an Englishman’s library. One set of leather-bound books contained the complete works of Bulwer [...]

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The Ignorant Mindset Destroying American Education

December 19, 2013

To get the most out of this blog, view Ted Talks 2011 – Knowledge Is Power.  #1:  Sir Ken Robinson; and  #5: Salman Kahn, and the Kahn Academy. I selected these two excellent presentations for many reasons, but the most important reveal is when Bill Gates comes on stage with Salman Kahn. His reaction and [...]

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Two Systems Collide. Representative Democracy Ends

November 17, 2013

A majority of those who hold the power and wealth of our nation run their coercive top-down empires as personal wealth and power generators. They see themselves as decision makers who should shape the world (i.e., similar to the ‘rule of the few’ model used in China). They believe in their system of unquestioned force-based [...]

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We Honor Diane Ravich

October 1, 2013

I finished reading Reign of Error as my family explored Colorado’s  beauty, not long  after stopping at 12,180 feet above sea level, overlooking the Continental Divide and Trail Ridge Road. That eagle’s view of beauty, and my mind’s view of America, made the book even more special.  From that vantage point, with Diane’s information filling [...]

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Into The Realms Of The High Rockies

September 10, 2013

Out of Africa, out of Denmark they came home for a visit. Two sons with the world at their feet and service in their hearts. How our hearts swell and our smiles last. We are of Colorado soil and high aspen groves that quake like our imaginations. The call of the high country as the [...]

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Billionaires Bypass Accountability and Democracy

August 15, 2013

The super rich are more privileged than the rest of us as they do not have to have their ideologies examined by the people. They do not have to be elected before they force changes. If they believe that our public schools should be destroyed, they destroy them. If they believe that educated and certified [...]

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Testing The Reformers – Part II

June 25, 2013

Last week I posted a blog about testing those who are having a major impact on education in America. Are these people qualified to affect the lives of children? To reorganize or destroy schools? To evaluate teachers? To introduce alien and unproven processes and top-down edicts on all schools? What must they know and be [...]

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Educators, Parents and Students TEST The Reformers

June 18, 2013

Let’s start evaluating the qualifications and accomplishments of the self-appointed education reformers. On my list of those to be Tested, Bill Gates and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Walton’s and the Walton Foundation, Eli Broad and the Broad Foundation, Michelle Rhee and the Students First organization, also Bloomberg, Parents First, etc., … you [...]

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