PSAT for 12-20-11: A gift to share

We work really hard here at PURE, and the rewards sometimes seem few and far between. Then we get a message like the one that follows below, and it all seems worthwhile.

For Public Schools Action Tuesday 12-20-11, Part 2, please share this inspiring story of a young man who was threatened with retention by CPS based on one-tenth of a point on an Iowa test. And if you believe it’s important for PURE to be able to continue our work, speaking out against harmful school policies and standing up for a high-quality education for all students, please consider an end-of-year tax-exempt donation. THANK YOU!


Dear Julie,

Hello, this is Everett Fonéy. I do not know if you remember me or not, however PURE helped me in 1999 when I was an eighth grader in Chicago Public Schools. Your organization allowed me to retake the Iowa test that I sadly failed due to being sick. I was able to retake the test after a retest. My retest made CPS look stupid when I scored a 10th grade Iowa Test score. I thank you and your organization. The voice of PURE helped me.

Since I graduated HS in 2003, I have graduated from Morehouse College. I am currently working on my MBA as a graduate student. When I graduate in June, I would like to pursue my passion of journalism. I am hoping to attend Berkeley School of Journalism in the fall of 2013. My hope is that my talent can give voice to people and tell their stories internationally.

For two academic school years, I have worked in Atlanta Public Schools where I have witnessed the injustice of “No Child Left Behind” and the standardized test. Teachers are at risk at losing their jobs due to this unjust system. Children are also at risk of losing qualified teachers based on a law and metric that holds no weight. Additionally, my school system made national headlines with a teaching scandal due to the pressure of standardized tests in this nation.

As I pursue my last MBA courses, I would like to do some freelance journalism work that will give voice to teachers, students, and parents about the injustice of “No Child Left Behind”. Additionally, it is the best service I can to give back to PURE as a former case load. I would like to write an article highlighting the relationships that will be broken by parents, teachers, and students if the turn-around proposal succeed.

As a former educator in a Title 1 school, I remember having students who did not want to learn because they had personal problems (abusive parents, HIV infection, molestation, pregnancy, drug abuse, and human prostitution). The children were able to learn when they told teachers who they trusted about these situations. In Chicago Public Schools, I am sure these same problems and trust relationships occur. If these students lose teachers they trust, they will be set-up to fail. I would love to find this story to begin a series of spotlights in our public “No Child Left Behind” education system. Sadly our children are left behind.

Please tell me your opinion and let me know if you know of any parents, teachers, or students I could talk to. I would also love to investigate or do a story on any situations that you deem worthy to have a voice.

-Everett Fonéy

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.