A Letter From New York Teachers in Support of John King as Education Secretary

Mar 13, 2016 12:00:00 AM

by Olinka Crusoe

We, a group of New York-based educators, share enthusiastic support for the appointment of John B. King Jr. as secretary of education, a committed and successful public servant and champion of children. Dr. King exemplifies the qualities our country needs in an education leader at a time when our public school systems are at a crossroads. An accomplished educator himself and the son of two New York City teachers, Dr. King not only brings extensive experience leading and transforming urban school systems, but also a genuine understanding of the impact teachers can have on the lives of their students. Just as important, Dr. King has shown an ability to navigate difficult political waters, build bridges, compromise when needed and hold true to his convictions when he believes they would serve students well. We may not have always agreed with his positions, but we always felt heard and knew that he was making decisions with children—and only children—in mind. He has taught in schools, created schools and as New York state’s education commissioner, overseen one of the nation’s largest and most diverse school systems. The breadth of his experience cannot be underestimated. Today, the nation’s public schools continue to confront achievement gaps, great disparities in resources and teacher quality, and social justice issues that the next education secretary must address. The new Every Student Succeeds Act, while very promising, also means schools must adapt to more changes at a time when many principals and teachers feel they are still playing catch-up from previous policies. We need a leader who can help us prioritize our work; a leader who respects the role educators play and the knowledge they bring to the current debate about school improvement; a leader who understands that a school system that benefits some but not the whole will not make education the great equalizer generations of Americans have been promised. John King has the skills and experience needed for the job. Please join us in supporting Dr. King as permanent Secretary of Education by sharing this with your fellow teachers, administrators and on social media. Sincerely, Olinka Crusoe ESL coordinator and K-4th grade teacher K532 - New Bridges Chris Fazio 9th grade English teacher Q686 - Queens Metropolitan High School Annie Gallagher 4-5th grade SPED teacher K164 - P.S. 164 Caesar Rodney Suraj Gopal 12th grade SPED teacher M437 - P.S. Hudson High School of Learning Technologies Jemal Graham 9th grade math teacher Q327 - Eagle Academy For Young Men III Mike Loeb 7th grade science teacher X371 - Urban Institute of Mathematics April Rose 3rd grade teacher Q132 - P.S. 132 Ralph Bunche Pat Sprinkle 11-12th grade history teacher M412- P.S. 412 NYC Lab High School For Collaborative Studies Matt Schatz 2nd grade SPED teacher M188 - P.S. 188 The Island School Carla Theodorou Principal Benjamin Franklin High School for Finance & Information Technology (Franklin FIT) Ashley Ward 6th grade ELA teacher Q157 - J.H.S. 157 Stephen A. Halsey  

Olinka Crusoe

Olinka Crusoe has taught mainstream third-grade English as a New Language (ENL), first grade, and now language acccess coordinator in the Bronx and Brooklyn, New York. She holds a bachelors of science in elementary education and master's in TESOL K-12, a professional license in K-6 Common Branch as well as an initial teacher certificate in TESOL K-12. In addition to teaching, Olinka, is part of a founding team of a new Title I community school, establishing academic support programs for ENL students and track coach.

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