Admittedly I am relatively new to the public school system, but I take such issue when politicians (not just the POTUS) talk about kids "trapped in our failing schools." I have worked in two schools who work incredibly hard to make AYP. One school did not make it, and one school did. Both schools have high transient ESOL populations -- those in education know that it's difficult to work with each child to reach their full potential and pass the required standards, every single time. Am I saying it's impossible? No, of course not. That's why we work so hard - the teachers and the kids, but when we are testing Spanish speaking kids in English the scores don't always match up with the ability of the kids and the quality of the teachers. I'm rambling (and ranting) but it makes me angry.
I would invite the "trapped in our failing schools" speakers into my classroom - or into any classroom in the schools I have been in to see what life is like. To see what current day public education is like. Or maybe I will give them a test written in Latin and see how they do.
Is it too much to ask that policy makers recognize our training and trust us to do our jobs? Isn't that what I do for them?