Dear Mom and Dad,
It's almost back to school time. I've been thinking about the coming year. I know I'm not an expert, but after seven years of going to school, something seems wrong. Don't misunderstand me. I love seeing my friends and I can't wait for football season, but I'm just not looking forward to sitting in a classroom again. I mean it's been seven years and it seems like every year it just keeps getting worse. I'm not sure how to explain it, so I thought I would just list the things that I am talking about -- what I prefer and what I prefer not to
I prefer to engage in real learning.
I prefer not to spend the first five months of school preparing for tests.
I prefer to have gym, art and music classes.
I prefer not to sit and listen all day long.
I prefer to look forward to going to school.
I prefer not to get nervous when I'm in school.
I prefer to read interesting books and go on field trips that help me connect what I'm learning in school.
I prefer not to spend most of my time on boring math and reading assignments mostly preparing for tests.
I prefer to have teachers that are allowed to teach more than just to the test.
I prefer not to have my teachers be afraid to teach.
I prefer to have assignments that are interesting, hands on, help me discover, make me ask questions, and allow me to be proud of my work.
I prefer not to dread going to school.
I prefer to have the materials, books, equipment and technology I need in all of my classes.
I prefer not to have so many students in my classes that I become a number.
I prefer to take the tests my teachers make -- ones that grade me on my abilities, efforts and participation.
I PREFER NOT TO TAKE STANDARDIZED TESTS!
There's more but I think you get the gist. I'm hoping that you will help me take the dread out of school this year. I have heard people talking and they say that only parents can make a difference. Will you please do something? Can you talk to my friends' parents and see if they will help? I need you, my teachers need you, we can't make the changes needed without your help. I can't take one more year of being treated like a test score.
P.S. I almost forgot to ask. Can our school be like the one President Obama's daughters attend? I saw him talking about how they don't spend the year preparing for tests. That would be so cool.
Follow Timothy D. Slekar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/slekar