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Leave a Message With the Secretary


Education Secretary Arne Duncan is soliciting your advice, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Web site.

In an effort to start an “open, honest conversation about education reform,” Duncan is making 15 stops around the country to talk to educators, parents, and students about what is and isn’t working in the current education system. The “listening tour” will continue online, with Duncan posing questions and seeking answers on pressing education issues, such as standards and teacher quality, through an open forum discussion on the USDOE Web site. You can participate here.

The discussion has received nearly 200 comments in the last week, from what appears to be mostly teachers.

With NCLB reauthorization on the horizon, it might be worthwhile to take a few minutes and contribute your voice.


Dear Mr. Duncan:I am so pleased to be able to write directly to you with my comments as a professional educator. I have been an educator for 22 years while living in NYC, Savannah, GA and now Maryland. My best years as an educator and the reason for my writing has been working within an elementary school setting and establishing a Family Literacy program for parents/guardians for the students aged 0 - 8 years of age. This program was funded by the Georgia Department of Education via the Reading Excellence Act. Is it possible to set up other programs on school campuses and develop successful Parents as Teacher programs, early childhood centers, offer free child care, parent education courses, and home visits and support to parents who may or may not have been successful academically or vocationally? The work of the REA grant lasted two years, however, the results and the impact on young children and young parents has been tremendous. As a teacher, the impact on me professionally was also profound. I didn't know how much I knew about helping parents/guardians of young children, didn't realize the tremendous impact poverty in GA or any state in our union had on the academic and social development of children and families had. I would love to sit and discuss this work with someone from your office in order to support what President Obama spoke about when he says: parents must take charge of their children's education. In fact, parents are the children's first teacher and we need to assist parents (especially youthful) parents with their role in the lives of their children.

Please email me or call me at home: (301) 740-8553. I would love to help with this work.

my 16 yr old son has been a victim of his school district for years. He is a special ed. kid, who had huge promise and hope. He began to show worrisome signs in 2005. The district has broken many laws, some hidden from public view, some for public display. My child had become ill in the 7th grade and rather than communicate concerns with me, I found out through a long line of gossip and rumor mills, outside of his school and outside of the district. It had devastating, lasting effects. As I begged his district for minor accomodations (seat change, peer counselor for note taking)they laughed in our face. They let him drown in defeat. They actively ignored his very serious, progressive mental illness and heaped more pressure and browbeating on. He has since encountered the Juvenile Justice system, raised by 'wolves' and tortured and taught not to trust anyone, including himself. He had to become an "alter" personality to survive physical abuse and torture. He had been removed from his family and home, and had not been able to gain any progress academicaly. Once bright, happy, charming, he is almost 200 credits short of a High School Diploma. That's is o.k. as far as his district is concerned. It isn't their ultimate goal to provide an education, or a diploma. If he is behind, he will have to take care of this at his own time and expense. They discarded my child. He was finally reunited with his family in March of '09 and he was refused FAPE, any school whatsoever. The district did, however 'enroll' him and counted him in attendance and I assume gained revenue while my child suffered. He was in the system. He was hospitalized twice for suicide attempt and is currently hospitalized. He has been forsaken by those who at one time cared enough to go into education. By the way, my son was innocent of any crime. He was caught up by corruption and is being left to die. He was a Toastmaster Speech winner, Algebra Award winner, chess playing, soccer playing, Lego building kid with a heart of gold. He had the world at his fingertips. Circumstance got in the way and arrested his life. NOW, his school district has shown him, his family, how very unimportant he is, how unimportant his life is, how unimportant his education is. It's a mess. If he had been provided the least restrictive setting when he needed it, perhaps we wouldn't be here. Perhaps... like his 16 year old former classmates, he would be going to prom and getting a driver's license.

I am the president of a national non-profit organization that offers support, advocacy and humor to families with kids that have disabilities. We are your MOTHERS FROM HELL (2) and we'd like to help you with your journey!!!

99% of our members are having trouble with their school district just with getting appropriate services! We've got an alarming number of cases of abuse and neglect as well.

Tell me what you want and I'll collect all the information and forward it to you! I hope we can work together! It's about time our government gave a crap about what the parents have to say!!

You might be interested to learn that the unacceptable practice of hitting children with wooden paddles still legally takes place in schools in 21 states in the U.S., it is called "Corporal (Physical) Punishment". We found out about this when my own 13 year old son insisted his Middle School Assistant Principal call us, as they were about to administer a paddling to him for going outside with his class when he was told to stay in. It is done as a first resort, with no parental communication in hallways within earshot of other students. Thank goodness we have always taught our 3 children that NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO TOUCH THEM, THEY CAN SAY “NO”, GET AWAY AND TELL SOMEONE to protect them from SEXUAL ABUSE! We have been working for over a year to raise awareness and advocate for Children’s Equal Civil Rights in American Schools. 29 states have Abolished Corporal Punishment in schools making it ILLEGAL. Congress held a hearing about abusive practices in schools 5/19/09. SPANKING schoolchildren with wooden paddles is NOT exactly Education's "Best Practices" in 21st Century classrooms and is ABSOLUTELY NOT A LOCAL ISSUE TO BE DECIDED BY LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS! The problem is that the Federal Government has no authority, although they could tie school paddling bans to federal education funding and States have relegated authority to individual autonomous UNRESPONSIVE local school district Governing Boards. State Legislators and/or Governors MUST pass school paddling bans tied to education funding and/or legislation to Abolish Corporal Punishment of Children in ALL AMERICAN SCHOOLS IMMEDIATELY!

Mr. Duncan,
My beautiful, smart 9 year old daughter has become become school phobic this year. She has been traumatized by threats of paddling, witnessing and hearing her peers being beaten in hallways, bathrooms, classrooms, and teacher lounges. Her school sports a 32% yearly paddling rate on a population of nice kids.
I assume you know of the great abuses are enormous in this regard.
All authorites I speak to simply do not seem to "get" it. Our children desperatly need your intervntion. Thank you. Scott TN.

One issue that I believe needs to be addressed is the distribution of funds. There are a vast number of agencies, including research institutions, that receive funding for educational programming which supposedly enhances the quality of schooling for our students. I am concerned that this money is funneled through bureaucratic channels and has minimal direct contact with students in need.
Let's get the funds to the students. We don't need more administrators to direct layers of employees. Researchers could be offering direct service as they conduct their studies. We need more hands on deck.

If the money is meant to support education, then let's work harder to support direct student contact which, I surmise, is the intent of those who allocate the funding.

What do all these agencies and research institutions do with the money that is meant to increase and enhance educational opportunities for our students.

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Maecare: One issue that I believe needs to be addressed read more
  • Scott: Mr. Duncan, My beautiful, smart 9 year old daughter has read more
  • Julie Worley: You might be interested to learn that the unacceptable practice read more
  • Kimberly Morrell: I am the president of a national non-profit organization that read more
  • Janine Williams: my 16 yr old son has been a victim of read more




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