NEWTON, MA | January 1, 2004
- Bill Cosby likens the raft of regulations and directives placed on schools to so much “litter-piled on and abandoned by generation after generation.”
- “Extinguishing [the spark of learning] is the cruelest and most short-sighted thing we can do,” writes the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone.
- Eighth grader Ashley St. Pierre in the Bronx , New York, writes, “City schools are really in bad shape. If we need more, how come we get less?”
Letters to the Next President: What We Can Do About the Real Crisis in Public Education, is a collection of more than 30 letters from writers aged 8 to 92 that Publishers Weekly calls “thoughtful” and “refreshing.” The book features the exhortations of students, teachers, senators, and parents, including EDC’s Leslie Hergert, who co-wrote a piece with former Senator John Glenn. The two worked together on the National Commission on Service-Learning, which was based at EDC from 2000 to 2002.
Barnes & Noble will feature the book on their new-books tables in late February, according to Teachers College Press, which has published 10,000 copies.
The letters, “all from the heart,” notes Hergert, cast the status of our schools as the ultimate expression of our democracy and societal success. The letters contain “no ferocious polemics, no fancy footwork-just what citizens need to know when thinking and acting upon ways to improve our schools,” says editor Carl Glickman. Glickman, a prominent scholar in education at Texas State University-San Marcos, who also was a member of the National Commission. Other contributors include U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont, education philosopher Maxine Green, author and educator Ted Sizer, scholar and MacArthur “Genius” recipient Lisa Delpit. Also writing are Navajo students in Arizona, high school and middle school students from around the country, and teachers and principals from urban and rural schools.
Hergert’s and Glenn’s letter focuses on civic education and service-learning: “We call upon the next president to reclaim the public purpose of education and include preparation for citizenship as an important goal of education..Civic education is about learning both the history and principles of the past, as well as the can-do spirit we need for the future.”
The book is divided into five sections: Schools for All, Learning for All, Teaching for All, Standards for All, Education for All. “The power of these letters deeply underscores the urgency of the clean-up mission to save our public schools,” writes Cosby.
More information is available at www.tcpress.com.