Dear Bill and Melinda ~
Dear Bill and Melinda,
We feel it’s important for you to hear the voices of those who leave comments on the footpaths of our letters to you – postscripts written by teachers on Facebook and Twitter who pause in their internet travels to read our letters to you on Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates.
We have collected a few of their comments here because we think it’s important to make them more public. We will do so again – from time to time – to elevate these previously silenced and hidden voices, for the purpose of establishing some semblance of democracy within the walls of this now corporate-run institution where we work.
While we will maintain a respectful tone in our letters to you, we do not want to silence other voices of dissent. Some of these voices express clear outrage, but in the spirit of democracy we did not edit them. Nor do we apologize for this. These voices convey what is happening to children and teachers because of the reforms you have pushed upon us all without our consent. The voices are important to listen to and to reflect upon, and hopefully they will inspire you to make the kinds of changes that truly improve education for all.
We also note that while we have no evidence that you are reading these letters, we do know that other teachers are reading them. We do know that the voices coming forward in each letter and postscript give courage to those who remain fearful. These letters to you have a wider audience of readers that are important to us; teachers working and living in fear, and the public who has – for too long – read about the demoralization of teachers in the press, demoralization often led by you.
We hope these postscripts, as we are calling them, help shift your thinking and change your ideas about education just like talking to other educators around the world has changed ours. We also hope they give other teachers the courage to speak out and to stand up. Additionally, we hope the people see how much teachers really care about their students and that they’ll gain a better understanding of the the oppression we are under. We are standing up – no longer silent.
Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates
P.S. Please read the voices of real people below the blog posts they commented on, which were included for context.
“You two have captured the depth of despair of teachers all across the country. I pray that your letter writing campaign sparks others to share their stories and feelings as well. You are wonderful role models for what teachers stuck in the middle, delivering resting, not meaningful education. I love your spirit, your voices!” ~ Barbara Gilbert
“I teach juniors and seniors, worthless time consuming tests week after week that disrupt everything, teach the child nothing and only make them feel dumb and worthless.. It’s a matter of moral turpitude now. Teachers are getting close to feeling they have to protect the child from these worthless tests.” ~ P. Busche
“Thanx, Bill Gates for pushing me to home school. I never before had the thought……….” — J. Caldwell
A comment inspired by this graphic above:
“One thing I wish would be addressed is teacher’s pay. Schools that deal with children in poverty need teachers that will stay but because of teachers pay being tied to property taxes teachers move on after a year because the school down the road pays $20000 more. Right now, I teach 5 different preps, Rti and PBIS lessons. A friend of .that teaches 20 miles away teaches 2 preps no RtI and no PBIS gets 2 prep times and earns $30000 more than I do. No wonder people don’t stay at the poor schools. But kids in poverty NEED teachers to stick around, they need consistency. I know some states have figured this out but I bet if the Gates Foundation but there heads together they could figure this problem out.” — R. Brandmeyer
“We can truly use the millions to create awareness and show how bad Common Core Agenda , standarized testing and persecution of teachers have create chaos in the classrooms…..If you really want to help go teach high school for one year in any of our inner city schools…Then and only then maybe we can speak the same language…” — D. Watkins
“What a powerful letter! I hope that these letters are being read by Mr. Gates…they are heartfelt and honest, sometimes even raw! I hope that something comes of this campaign.” — B. Gilbert
“:( to see a class called “Reading for Pleasure” tossed aside for more test prep.” — S. Doherty
“Bill Gates could care less. He will make a bundle of money. The man thinks he won the Presidential election. Maybe he did. Maybe his money bought him the rights. He thinks he has the right to dictate education for all of our children. Wonder if Common Core is taught were his children go. I know President Obama’s kids are not getting Common Core.” — K. Brakken
“Wow! GREAT letter!! After reading so many of these, it’s hard to read more, and the bar is high, but this one did it for me.” –S. Atkinson
“Seriously, this is child abuse. If I see one more child break into tears, bang their head on the table, take off running, self-injur (I teach elementary learning/emotional support) I’m going to snap myself!! Makes me want to leave teaching. When I have children, we will be opting out of this nonsense!” — M. Simmons
“It is so hard on the special education students. I have been a special education teacher for 15 years and this is a form of emotional abuse. I can not stand watching my students suffer with all this testing. They are so defeated.” — H. Jones
“Leave them alone. Testing does not teach learning, problem solving, analytic thing or creatively.” – S. Clark
“Even students without any issues can have a hard time with these…some of my better students simply freeze cuz it’s a test and no one can give them a good sense of what they (the tests) really mean in the scheme of things…the admin puts fear in their hearts and tells them they will be put in the wrong classes…doubtful given that we have only 2 tracks…Honors/GT/GATE/AP…and everyone else…” — J. Oliverez
“When I have to administer these tests to SWDs [students with disabilities] or newcomer ELLs [English Language Learners], I find myself apologizing to them and feel fake.” — Katie Lapham
“That has to be the worst thing about NCLB.” — A. Tenaglia
“How wonderfully written. Had to have made a difference to that child…” — M. Nurse
“When you see an article that tells you that you are crazy for challenging the core, or one that puts you in a box, tweet, I am ___, and a ___ and I am #againstcommoncore. They need to know that we are Democrats, Libertarians, atheists, Christians, teachers, college graduates, military, parents, grandparents, business owners, and we are all against the core!” — R. Eckert
And to the Seattle Times post on their front page:
Gates Foundation Looking to Make Nice with Teachers by Linda Shaw
“Teacher Evaluations: why don’t they start with teacher training programs and make them more rigorous-like medicine or law school? ohhh, I know, no one would go through such a process to be degraded, underpaid and under appreciated.It would coast to much money to do this…so lets go after current teachers and ignore issues such as poverty.” — P. Voas
“As far as I (a teacher) am concerned actions speak louder than words. I call the Gates’ Foundation “bovine feces” statements and lay down the future of our country. I also remind dear Bill and Melinda that there is a big difference between entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Unlike his windows operating systems, our children cannot be “fixed”, “updated”, or “replaced/recreated” every few years.” — A. MacAbee
“This is nothing but PR…and working to appropriate…its an old trick that’s been around for a long, long time.” — S. Grande
“Students take many of the mandatory tests to measure progress in math and reading on computers running a Microsoft operating system. Bill and Malinda Gates want education reform to line their pockets with more money. Apparently having as much money as a small nation hidden in off shore accounts so they don’t pay federal income tax is not enough for them. Greed is the motivation for the Gates’ educational reform.” — L. Caywood
“This totally broke my heart…but I completely understand where she is coming from!” — P. Monds
“Wow, very moving! I truly pray that it gets read by Melinda Gates!” — J. Curry-Lambert
“This is how many teachers feel, and this letter stated it beautifully! Why can’t the teaching be left up to the experts–the teaching professionals who have the knowledge and pedagogy? Are lay people telling other professionals how to do their jobs? Imagine telling your doctor what he/she should be doing!” — S. Mazzell