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JUNE 23, 1997

Opinion

Guest Editorial

A request to graduates

graduates' opinions by Bob Chase, Social Studies Teacher
President, National Education Association

Dear Graduates:
   This month, all across the United States, millions of young men and women just like you will be graduating from America's public schools. Your teachers--and all the rest of the members of the National Education Association--extend our deepest congratulations to all of you.
   Over the past dozen years, you've worked hard and learned a great deal, about science and social studies and every subject in between, about life, and about yourself. You've grown up into a new digital world. All of us, as teachers, hope we have prepared you well to succeed in it.
   As high school graduates, you'll now be moving on to new challenges. We teachers will be facing a new challenge, too--the challenge of educating your younger brothers and sisters, neighbors, and friends. We want to make sure America's schools offer these students the best possible education. You can help us.
   How? By, in effect, turning the education tables and grading us. For years, we teachers have evaluated you through report cards. Now we hope you'll take a moment and give us a report card--on your entire school experience.
   We're eager to know what you feel "worked" in your public school experience and what didn't. How did we do? Did we demand too much or not enough? Did you have enough time and the right supplies to master each subject? Were your schools and classrooms safe and secure places to learn--or overcrowded and intimidating?
   We want to know your answers to these questions. As graduates, you're the newest experts on American education. Your insights can help us, your teachers, make the improvements that will make tomorrow's schools all they need to be.
   So, please, take a moment to reflect on your school experience and share your views with us. The National Education Association will be collecting your "report cards" on America's schools all this summer--and then sharing what you have to say with our 2.3 million members and the American public at large.
   Consider this your last homework assignment. You can e-mail your thoughts to us at graduate@neatoday.nea.org/graduate, or mail them straight to me at my address: NEA; 1201 16th St. NW; Washington, DC 20036.
   Again, on behalf of America's teachers, our sincerest congratulations and our best wishes for a rich and rewarding life in the brand new century ahead!