Please take care of my country, our country, wisely. Hopefully, something will be done I hope you read this letter and take it into consideration. Remember. DON'T PANIC! Words can be soothing to most, but we need action So what do you think, Mr. President? Let me explain it to you So Mr. President, it is up to you to direct the youth of our country into a more promising future. It is up to you to prove you have deserved this privilege — make me believe! So grab hold and climb up. It is going to be your job to help us. In case you didn't know ... I hope you can answer my questions. I need an affordable education, I need your help, and so do the rest of us. To space, I say! Mr. President, I need you. This country needs you. Our economy is in crisis. So I'm going to start right now with being honest with you People come to this country for great opportunities Congratulations on becoming the leader of the great United States I wish you the best of luck in your presidency. We have to make it our problem It is going to be your job to help us So what do you think, Mr. President? Although I am far from the age of voting... This country is in your hands, Mr. President Only through global efforts can we hope to see peace. The world is one team — let us unite and share our freedom with everyone. Our motives must change Remember those of us whose futures are in your hands. LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT: STUDENTS’ VOICES Relax and take each day at a time. Make me believe! Well, we have to make it our problem We need to publicize this. Right now is the right time, no more procrastinating, it is time to roll up our sleeves and deal with it. Together we can fix this monster of an issue, but only together. Focus on your strengths, and work to improve your weaknesses. We have to be proactive and take action Things aren’t going to be made better on their own The world is one team — let us unite and share our freedom with everyone. Please take care of my country, our country, wisely. Hopefully, something will be done I hope you read this letter and take it into consideration. In case you didn't know ... Words can be soothing to most, but we need action So what do you think, Mr. President? So grab hold and climb up. So Mr. President, it is up to you to direct the youth of our country into a more promising future. It is up to you to prove you have deserved this privilege — make me believe! Let me explain it to you I hope you can answer my questions. Remember. DON'T PANIC! It is going to be your job to help us. NATIONAL COMMISSION ON WRITING FOR AMERICA’S FAMILIES, SCHOOLS, AND COLLEGES Bob Kerrey, Chair, President, The New School Arlene Ackerman, Superintendent, School District of Philadelphia Nancy G. Barile, English Teacher, 2006 Winner New England Region, Bob Costas Grant for the Teaching of Writing, Revere High School, Massachusetts Robert Bruininks, President, University of Minnesota Sharon M. Floyd, K-12 English Language Arts Coordinator, Saginaw Public Schools, Michigan Michele Forman, Social Studies Teacher, Middlebury Union High School, Vermont E. Gordon Gee, President, The Ohio State University Walter J. Haas, Co-Chair, Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund Lyn Ikoma, Biology Teacher, Chatsworth High School, California James Moeser, Chancellor Emeritus and Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Harvey Perlman, Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bud Selig, Commissioner, Major League Baseball David E. Shulenburger, Vice President for Academic Affairs, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges Joseph Wise, Chief Education Officer, Edison Schools, Rochester, New York Nancy L. Zimpher, President, University of Cincinnati EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS Gene A. Budig, President Emeritus, American League, Illinois State University, West Virginia University, University of Kansas; Senior Presidential Advisor, The College Board Gaston Caperton, President, The College Board C. Peter Magrath, Interim President, West Virginia University; President Emeritus, National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges NATIONAL ADVISORY PANEL Richard Sterling (Chair), Interim Director for Professional Programs and Adjunct Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, and Senior Scholar, The College Board Elizabeth A. Davis, Teacher-Consultant, D.C. Area Writing Project; Technology Education Teacher, Charles Hart Middle School, Washington, D.C. Gail E. Hawisher, Professor of English and Director, Center for Writing Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Sarah Hudelson, Professor, Division of Curriculum and Instruction, Mary Lou Fulton College of Education, Arizona State University Bernard A. Phelan, English/Language Arts Consultant, Elgin District, Elgin, Ill. Jacqueline Jones Royster, Professor of English, The Ohio State University Liz Campbell Stephens, Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Director, Office of Educator Preparation, Texas State University-San Marcos Patricia Lambert Stock, Professor Emerita of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, Michigan State University, and Visiting Professor, University of Maryland-College Park PREFACE For more than six years, the College Board’s National Commission on Writing has been working with K-12 education, higher education and policymakers to improve writing in the United States. Our work is based on a few simple premises: Writing is central to education, writing is central to the workplace and economic competitiveness, writing is central to civic engagement, and writing is central to personal expression. Given the rapid advances in technology and use of the Internet, writing is likely to become even more important in the future. This year’s agenda to advance writing differs from those we have had in the past, and it is perhaps our most exciting one yet. Instead of making the case through secondary means, explaining the importance of writing, we decided to show the power of writing through writing itself. What better way to make our point than to give real illustrations of what writing can accomplish? And so to this end, in 2009, we are celebrating the power of student voices. Our first publication, this one, contains letters from middle and high school students to the newly elected president of the United States. Our follow-up publications will present the voices of students on how writing influences their lives and will also present students’ voices on the complex and important issues of immigration and second-language learning. By reading the letters in this compelling volume, we get a real sense of what writing can mean to both the writer and the reader. If you are as affected as we are, we will have made the best possible case for the importance of writing. Before closing, I would like to thank Google and the National Writing Project for the Letters to the Next President project, the many student writers from whom these letters have been selected, and the teachers who helped guide these students. Gaston Caperton President, The College Board PROJECT DESCRIPTION Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future is an online writing and publishing project for students, ages 13-18, co-sponsored by Google and the National Writing Project. They invited young people to write about the issues and concerns that they feel are central to their future, issues they would hope our next president would act on. Topics were chosen by the students themselves to reflect their specific personal, regional and age-related interests. Teachers and mentors guided students through the process of writing a persuasive letter or essay to the presidential candidates using Google Docs. Over 6,600 letters were received from 217 schools throughout the nation on a wide variety of issues, including abortion, college, college cost, economy, education, energy, environment, gas prices, gay marriage, gay rights, global warming, gun policy, health care, immigration, Iraq, jobs, money, pollution, poverty, schools, taxes and war. The site is: www.letters2president.org. Please take care of my country, our country, wisely. Run Forest, Run! Wis. , Sirjaut K., Hartland the test news throughout la e th of ge ra ve co e yet. I I avidly watch t really hit home to m om the age of voting, fr no r ve fa ha am y, I om gh on ou ec lth out, A oblem that I care ab s, such as the dismal m pr a le t ob ou pr ab e e th rit of w y to an country. M today I wanted of the troubles, but ts ep nc co e th nd ta unders ing every day. ooded one that I see happen nded by a densely w ou rr su e us ho d ol 7,000, into an ould vanish ed to a small town of by little, the trees w e ov ttl m I Li . o, ty ag ci s g ar . bi ye a e Nin eased to a plentiful 48 der to get away from cr or in in ly re di he ea st ed 14 ov m of s ergarten clas signs area. My family ular activities, I saw up. My original kind p ric po ur ld ac tr ou ex w to es g us in ho iv and more ared out day, while dr ew to 8,000. Every ighborhoods. As I st gr ne n e or tio m la to pu in po s rn n’ tu w s The to s, I thought wooded area aves left on the tree sale, and I saw more le r st fo la s e rm th r fa e fo cr nd -a ou 52 for rounging ar e forests g the hungry deer sc , what happens to th ity un m m co l al sm is the window, watchin mes in th s are losing their ho to myself, “If animal ” d outside of the state? numbers have droppe outside of my town, st re fo s, ar ye 10 st life is ing. For the pa urces, and rare wild and started research so k od or fo w d to an t se es I m e, ho or r Theref nd area per are losing thei om a 4-acre forestla fr velopment. Animals d de pe to op e dr du ve ly ha al rs tic as dr rest numbe rstand this the past 20 years, fo less than one. I unde of r be m nu ng ki oc becoming extinct. In ribute to the first place, to a sh anting a tree to cont in pl g of in b m jo ar sy al ea is e ch th hi capita, w does not excuse drastically, but this g in ow gr is n tio la popu r forests. e also a the rebuilding of ou n, but forest fires ar io et pl de st re fo of fires and 5,034,070 e not the only causes st ar re n fo tio 52 uc ,3 tr 73 ns co en d be e, there have Development an all forest fires t date, in 2008 alon ac ex is th To I am not saying that . . or ar ut ye st pa e th st n ju great contrib in ce of camping fires ca . This has happened en ed lig ag eg m N . da en en be be ve ve acres ha g lately, any could ha re droughts occurrin the past few years, m ve in t se e bu th d, of te e en us ev ca pr Be can be of homes is dry wood. is all leads to the lack most common cause Th e e. th t fir a bu to e, s es ad th le e ch us and a ca n trigger a spark, whi ing is another issue, ca m s ar w on al iti ob nd gl co , er er ev th certain wea warming. How true cause is global e th gh ou th al e, lif for wild r separate letter. ecious wildlife, of ou pr of es m ho e th ce ing to sacrifi a left for forest-filled Americ esident. Are you will d, Pr le r. fil M eu, lif yo ild to w , up sh is lu So it there be a land? This , the bald eagle? Will lated, polluted waste rd pu bi po d er ve ov lo , be en s rr n’ ba tio a na erica be wisely. Or will the next Am untry, our country, co y m of re ca ke generations to come? ta Please nds, Mr. President. country is in your ha by Poverty Is Everyone’s Problem by Natalie, Shelburne, Vt. I, and many other people, believe that we have let all of this go way too far. We need to go to desperate measures to help the numerous humans who are suffering from poverty. We should not only help the people living in the U.S., but also people all over the world. This is a very serious matter involving millions of people’s lives that are currently at risk. Together we can fix this monster of an issue, but only together. I know that no one deserves to live in the horrible conditions in which hundreds of millions of innocent humans are forced to live. Extreme poverty is no way to live your life, and those people need our help to make it right. The governments need to better fund programs and shelters that help with this rather large problem. We need to publicize this, and make it known so more people are educated about it. Then they will be more likely to help with it. Things aren’t going to be made better on their own, so we have to be proactive and take action. Some people might say that it’s not our problem, so they aren’t going to do anything about it. Well, we have to make it our problem. Our duty is to help the less privileged people of our Earth. In some places, poverty is improving slowly with help. But in others, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, poverty is worsening. In that region, the poverty level rose from 41 percent in 1981 to 46 percent in 2001. There are also more places in the same situation, like the Caribbean, which is closer to the USA. Once we get our own poverty under control I think we should help the Caribbean with their poverty, because they are in need of outside assistance. Also, this would set an example for other countries with the ability to help areas in need. In the end we need to take charge and control of this difficult situation. Together we can fix this monster of an issue, but only together. This problem may take a while to fix, but with patience and persistence I believe we can. Organ Donors: “ by Surabhi P., Fish Superheroes Sav ers, Ind. ing Lives” I am writing to in form the governm ent of the lack of donors in the U.S organ . and how the nu m be r of or ga n donors can incr government help ease if the U.S. ed to promote th e si gn ifi cance of becomin would be able to g a donor. The go save millions of pe vernment op le an d el im donation is gradua inate the medical crisis that organ lly inclining to be come, simply by donors. Unfortuna encouraging peop tely, the campaig le to become orga n efforts of the gove n centers and orga rn m ent and organ tran nizations have no sp lant t been able to op numbers of patie en the eyes of m nts that need an an y pe op le, since the organ are increasi government are ng ever y minute. of key importance Th e efforts of the in explaining to th donors because e A m er ic an people to becom our government e organ helps to show its aspects of their liv pe op le th e right paths to ta es, which includes ke in most the choice of beco ming an organ do nor. ... African Massacre by Claire T., Dubuque, Iowa In case you didn’t know, last year the re were over 5.7 million people infected with HIV in South Africa and approximately 1,000 are dying eve ry day. Africa is currently going through one of the worst AIDS epidemics the world has ever seen. The big question is whether or not the government has help ed enough. If you were to ask me, I would say we hav en’t done nearly enough. Almost one in five adults are infected with HIV. This means that if they would ever wan t to have children, then their children would be born infe cted. There is a treatment people can take to mainta in their health, but so many people are living in pov erty it’s hard to get ahold of this drug. Nearly all infected people of Africa wil l die by 2010 if we do not step up and do something . The United States is known as one of the most powerfu l countries in the world, which means we have the pow er to stop all of this. We need to educate our citizens and together fight for the young women and children of Africa. But the AIDS epidemic is only one of the few struggles African people hav e to deal with every day. Another issue is the genocide that is going on. The genocide is one of the ma in reasons AIDS is so widespread. So in order to get rid of AIDS forever we need to intervene and stop the violence. The region of Darfur in the country of Sudan is home to many racially mix ed tribes. There is ongoing genocide throughout the reg ion of Darfur. The genocide in Darfur has claimed 400,000 lives and displaced over 2,500,000 peo ple. More than one hundred people con tinue to die each day ; five thousand die every month. The leaders of this genocide are the Jan jaw eed, a governmentsupported militia group. The Janjaweed come into civilians’ towns and stun the m for life. Forms of torture they use are rape, displace ment, starvation, and mass murder. Am eric a needs to sit down with the leaders of these groups and we need to make a stand, for the future of Africa lies in international countries’ hands. It all depends on how much we care. Our gov ernment has done some things to help Africa, but not as much as they need. African civi lians have no form of protection against these violent people other than themselves. …Would you really sit back and wat ch hundreds of the children you kno w and love die every day because you didn’t have the will to eve n try and save them? If you could loo k into the eyes of these children, I know you wouldn’t rest unt il this violence is stopped. We Cannot Do It Without You by Sarah W., Cupertino, Calif. Mr. President, any way uneducated about the I honestly do not believe you are in t, I am sure you are aware of the problems facing our country. In fac not provide you with any more issues in far more depth than I. I can vide insight on ways to create statistical information, nor can I pro so needs, but I do believe that I the economic stability our country who is directly experiencing can provide you with the voice of one t to the skyrocketing values of the effects of our economy in respec health insurance. to watch for the return of a Every month I have to have an MRI had removed twice before. I malignant brain tumor I successfully ifornia and Hospital at Stanford University in Cal n’s ldre Chi d kar Pac ille Luc to up e driv iety are almost r the feelings of desperation and anx the moment we step inside the doo some discussing, arguing, and praying for s ent par of ces voi low the r hea I tangible. not afford e. The horrifying reality is, if they can way to pay for their child’s health car ldren away and forced to watch their chi ned tur are y the e, cas the n ofte it, which is too se parents to ore their eyes. How can we ask the bef die wly slo es etim som and er suff do this? pay for the s of my own family regarding how to I myself have overheard the worrie , my ause of how expensive my visits are Bec tly. uen freq so d nee I ms exa al medic ntally struggling stressing over finding new jobs, me parents are giving up their passions, in My brother is in college, I am a junior . me for pay to e abl be to t jus ty, for stabili upon them. of paying for our education is also high school, and the daunting reality of all that my if I could just take away the burden If I could do anything to help them, . And so Mr. overwhelming displeasure, I cannot my To . uld wo I m, the t cos ds nee health needs you. President, I need you. This country able to put the faces to the issue. As I walk through those halls, I am ssness. Please, Mr. President, Their tears reflect nothing but hopele ing economy has left your citizens Please, something needs to change. The fail provide health care to those to s, ilie fam ir the for e vid pro to struggling y, r. President, M college. You must save this econom to n ldre chi ir the d sen to e, lov y the ation of these people on your hands. something needs or be left with the cries and desper to change. Congratulatio ns on Becomin g the Leader of the Great U nited States! by Adam, Tulsa , Okla. I wish you the I hope you rea consideration Remember. D best of luck in d this letter an . Do the countr ON’T PANIC! your presiden d take it into y some good. ... cy. 13-year-old speaks out by Shadowmox, Southgate, Calif. Dear Mr. President, … Now, only if you’ve been living under a rock all your life would you not know about the economic crisis. Let me explain it to you, in a 13-year-old regular eighthgrader’s point of view. The economy effects us all, not just the citizens of this country, not just the people with jobs, not just the people who work in the government, but EVERYONE. I find this rather obvious, but I thought I’d explain it anyway. Someone has to fix this economic crisis, and it’s not going to be me, because there’s only so much I can do. It’s not going to be my parents, because there’s only so much they can do. In fact, no one in my entire family can do anything about it. All they can do about it is to learn to live with it, which is nearly impossible, or they can vote for a person who will do something about this. And if you haven’t already done something about this, then I suggest you stop reading this right now and go do something about it. But if you want to keep reading, then be my guest. I really don’t know what I would do about the economy if I were you, but then again I’m only thirteen and politics really aren’t my best subject, so I’ll just leave that part to you. Hopefully, you can make the changes we need in this country. My parents are immigrants (don’t worry they aren’t illegal immigrants), so immigration is a big issue that I am concerned about. My parents didn’t always have the documents they needed to stay in this country, so I know how other people with parents like mine feel. I can’t imagine how it must be living every day with the worry that your parents are going to be deported if caught and you are going to stay all alone, homeless and broke in the streets. That would make it a really tough childhood. But if illegal immigrants came into this country with children, they would use that as an excuse and, if it were permitted, then illegal immigrants would only have children to stay in the country. I really don’t see the point in keeping people out of this country. Is it too crowded? When you walk on the sidewalk, do you have to push people out of the way just to walk? In my experience, this is not a problem. I really don’t know what I would do about the economy if I were you, but then again I’m only thirteen … People come to this country for great opportunities; in fact, they are so desperate that they jump over borders and risk getting deported, just to look for jobs that aren’t even guaranteed due to today’s economy. So I suggest you do something about both the economy AND the immigration problem in this country. ... Improve the Future ts, Ohio by Brid R., Cleveland Heigh Dear Mr. President, d we d, as is most of America, an rrie wo am I le. ub tro in ’re We to be your job to help us. have reason to be. It is going ed with teenage girl who is concern I feel that I represent every end try’s, and the world’s. At the un co the n, ow r he , ure fut the a sophomore in college. I am be l wil I t en sid pre as m in his ter of your my brother who is currently as le ub tro l cia an fin ch mu concerned that I will be in as second year of college. le, and , the stock market is in troub ion ss pre de er oth an o int g er day I Our country is now slippin economic situation. The oth nt rre cu r ou of ct pa im the g are even the wealthy are feelin . Since when? Now not only nts ce y fift st co ine ch ma mball was at the store and the gu our youth. Now r economic state, but also ou for g yin pa n me wo d an our business men . When does is also on everyone’s mind le op pe g un yo r ou for re r for the burden of health ca serving, life is getting harde ob am I at wh m Fro nt? ide this madness stop, Mr. Pres everyone in between. everyone, young, old, and re than last that’s about 381 dollars mo ar, ye s thi nt rce pe 6.6 en e some College prices have ris ol have no choice but to tak ho sc in led rol en dy ea alr year. Some students who are sses. Some smaller, the hopes of returning to cla h wit y ne mo ve sa n ca y time off so the t because the to no increase in enrollmen le litt ing nc rie pe ex are s ge ges are more remote colle ce is too much. Many colle pla to ce pla m fro t ge to nts ome cost of gas for the stude me students from lower inc so for t bu s, ce pri ir the er going to extra lengths to low . families, it just is not enough re promising uth of our country into a mo yo the t ec dir to u yo to up . So Mr. President, it is lp, and so do the rest of us he ur yo ed ne I , on ati uc ed future. I need an affordable Let’s Go Back to the Moon by Steven R., L ongmont., Colo . ... To space, I say! There, co lonies will be bu and whole aste ilt, on the moo roids can be m n and elsewher ined for the na There, we can e, tural resources study new sigh w e humans crave ts and sounds, and perhaps even . new phenomena new life. And, o not yet explaine f course, thes our home planet d, e new discoveri . New energy so es will benefit urces will pow and the vast ex er our cities w pansion of hab it hout pollution, it able space will outdated. Anoth make conflict u er great leap it nnecessary and will be! ... Sell Your Clothes and Keep Your by Whitney R., Aurora, Neb. Thoughts down what I wanted … It took me quite awhile to narrow biggest point that I to talk about in this letter, but the ut this consumerwould like to get off my chest is abo ut me, me, me. No one driven culture. Everything is abo else; you couldn’t find thinks to give anything to anyone h and low to find it. generosity unless you searched hig to be always focused Everyone, including myself, seems get for themselves. on themselves and what they can said, “Ask not what We need to do as John F. Kennedy what you can do for your country can do for you, but to be taken off of your country.” The attention needs at can I do for others. me and what I want, and put on wh es as consumers, We need to stop thinking of ourselv country. We don’t and more as citizens of this great hout even thinking. exist just to buy more and more wit faulty character, it Not only is consumerism teaching the environment. As is also destroying and polluting more, always needing things consumers, we consume more and and give what we could take pride in this country, we s, zen citi As . ics bas the ond bey ut what do. As citizens, we should think abo we n tha re mo it d nee o wh ple peo have to ng ring. As citizens, we would be doi spe pro and ng goi y ntr cou s thi p we can do to kee pleasures and pastimes that don’t on y awa m the g tin was n tha s far more with our live d to do to prepare for be farsighted, and see what we nee ld wou We . run g lon the in tter ma the future. eone stands up isfied with what we have, unless som We, as a culture, will never be sat y are acting, people don’t even realize the way the st Mo ht. aig str ord rec the sets and As Eric e wakes them up to smell the roses. eon som less un are es riti prio ir the or what d to make you get enough of what you don’t nee Hoffer once said, “You can never the stores or on TV e that everything that they see in happy.” If people would just realiz Magazine put it would no longer be an issue. Mad ue iss s thi , ity ess nec a ays alw ’t isn only reason still a lot of truth behind it. ”The is re the but , yes y usl oro hum , this way been an elephant is that they have never own ’t don s ilie fam an eric Am a great many temptations n and easy weekly payments.” The offered an elephant for a dollar dow re, and we as re and more possessions are out the mo ing ain obt for ies nit ortu opp and how to say ist and desist. The skill of learning res to how rn lea to d nee t jus ans Americ ained. ... “no” is a lost art that needs to be reg much to get new reau said, “Do not trouble yourself Tho id Dav ry Hen as do to e tim It’s hts.” l your clothes and keep your thoug Sel ... s. nd frie or hes clot er eth wh things, How Can We Help Education in the USA? by Casey W., Boone Grove, Ind. Dear Mr. President: I would like to ask some questions that really concern me. One issue is education from preschool to college. Another issue that I’m concerned with is the working poor. I hope you can answer my questions. I would like to know why 12 states have no state-funded early education. Studies show that early childhood education increases achievement test scores, and less kids being held back a grade, or being put in special education. It also decreases crime and increases high school graduation. I would also like to know how you are going to keep kids from being high school dropouts. Almost one-third of high school students don’t graduate on time. One study shows some of the top reasons for dropping out are: classes weren’t interesting, they missed too many days, or they had family issues. Another question that I have about education is how you are going to stop the cost of college tuition from becoming too high. The cost of college tuition for a four-year college can be $10,000-$30,000 per year without housing and other expenses. Many other countries provide college at little or no cost. Why can’t we? I’m concerned that scholarships won’t be available for college. Will people have to spend the rest of their lives paying back a student loan, if it’s available? Will they have to get a job in college to pay for it? Do you have a plan to make college tuition less expensive? What about the working poor? Since 1968, minimum wage has dropped 40 percent. If it would have kept up with inflation, it would be $8.46 an hour. If a person earns less than $8.70 an hour, in a year, he earns less than the federal poverty level for a family of four. How are they going to afford housing, food and health care? How are they going to be able to send their kids to college? Helping Hands , Texas by jenny_baby, Arlington may ng out those people that lpi he on rk wo y all re ll ing their hands I hope that you wi overweight materials, us ing rry ca y, da all n su sent e work in th any kind of help has been e lik em se n’t es do It . t very happy to for rough purposes ke up every morning no wa le op pe e es Th . the em around for th ey get up thinking of all Th . job sy ea an t no is it and simply go to their job because cient money to pay bills ffi su e ak m to rk wo to e to their job hours they have up too much of their tim e giv ey Th s. ilie m fa eir own maintain th I say this because of my . of off e liv to ey on m to work just to make enough early each morning to go y all re up s ke wa d da y y experience. M us to live a good life ever r fo ey on m e ak m to er rked very as a construction work do know my dad has wo I t bu h, ric am I y sa to day. I don’t want g hours of work where at lon d ha he d an w, no ve ha t hope hard for everything we all the work he had. I jus of e us ca be him e se en at you times I couldn’t ev w hard it is to work for wh ho ds an rst de un nt ide that the pres hing will d it all. Hopefully, somet ite er inh ve ha t jus t no d have an be done. I hope that you will really work on helping out those people that may work in the sun all day … The Cure for Racism by Angelo E., Snow Hill, Md. Dear Mr. President, The United States of Ameri ca was founded on the be lief of equality. “All men are that include all African Am created equal,” but does erican men and all Hispan ic American men, or just all white men? Anthony Jackson is an Af rican American teacher at Jena High School, the ho Six case. Wade Goodwyn, me of the infamous Jena in reporting on the event sta ted that Mr. Jackson said, do things and receive a sla “‘White students can p on the hand,’ but author ities ‘want to throw the bo Whether Mr. Jackson’s ob ok at blacks,’ he adds.” servation can be proven or not doesn’t matter, this m If Mr. Jackson feels this ine an feels the way he feels. quality, there are others th at are bound to feel it too. inferiority has seriously cri This sense of superiority/ ppled Americans’ ability to collaborate throughout every American has an eq his tory. Some may think that ual opportunity to achieve whatever they want to, wh opportunity only exists for ich may be true, but the those who will take advant age of it, and with so man Jackson does, they give up y believing things like M before they get started. Pe r. ople begin to hate each oth er for no reason at all. Nothing is more fatal than a country divided. There is no plague, no scourge as division, an unspoken civ destructive as racial il war. Racism is the real we apon of mass destruction of America. No weapon ha for the United States s the ability to cause such animosity against our ne abstract concept, existing ighbors except this only because we allow it to. Nationalism and unity and powerful nation. ... are key to a successful We Americans need to be able to speak our minds. We need to learn how to people better. In order to communicate with other resolve problems people have with one another, we and talk these problems ou need to be able to sit down t. In this country today, we are unable to do that. Pe fast and are too quick to ople become offended to sue. If one person could tal o k out their feelings, and an Americans could reach a other could listen, then new level of understandin g. If this could be accomp unfathomably more powe lished, our nation would rful. Surely there is someo be ne that can come up with an idea. ... ! I’d Rather Not Be Charbroiled, Thanks by Lauren P., Bellingham, Wash. Dear Mr. President, ns coal or oil, leaves their lights on, Every time someone drives their car, bur they are slowly helping to char idles their car for more than 30 seconds, greenhouse gas inventory shows the earth and all life on it. The latest EPA ion metric tons of greenhouse that, in 2005, the U.S. emitted over 7.2 bill ing to NASA and NOAA data, since ord acc , ord rec on r yea st rme wa the also gases. That was are glaciers are melting, animals and plants ng, risi are ls leve Sea . not k thin I e? enc 1850. Coincid earlier; intense, ice is freezing later and thawing re mo ing om bec is er ath we d, ere ang becoming end is currently the United States of America — which of nt side pre the : dle mid the in , are you and here for you: mingly no way out. But I’ve got a ladder see h wit e, hol big tty pre a into lf itse g diggin grab hold and climb up. ... renewable alternative green energy. So Don’t Forget t by Brittany L he People. ., Cottondale, ... I’m here to s erve as a remin work through the flaws in o the problems in ur education you remember America what as humans. C not be forgott still needs to States a land Ala. der. Even as w our economy system, I ask ivil rights an e United State ens and their d women’s rig en. I ask that be done in ord you consider ty. ... s of rights hts must all that er to make the of true equali and that what makes th it is — its citiz e United Words to Live By , Calif. by Shelby H., Sonora Dear Mr. President, ents on to visit my grandpar ed us I r, ge un yo home, as When I w ck up a pizza, come pi go ld ou w us of e chocolate weekends. The thre ould bake THE BEST w I d an a dm an gr y eat, and then m r worries decreased ou d an n w do nd ou w ith a glass day in front of the TV w n w chip cookies. As the do t si ld ou w I d y grandpa an the “The the oven, and watch considerably, both m om fr m ar w ill st s, l of cookie ayne. I grew 72 starring John W of milk and a handfu 19 om fr rn te es w a is ay or boys” ory seems to, one w em m od Cowboys.” “The Cow ho ild ch nd made such a uke,” and every fo cted me greatly and fe af up idolizing “The D ve ha ds or w is H all-time hero. s I make. another, involve my ople and the choice pe ch oa pr ap I ay w difference in the ring your ight think of each du m u yo at th d an es enjoy these quot I thought you might time in office: anyway.” death but saddling up to ed ar sc g in be y.” is “Courage ething from yesterda m so d ne ar le ve ha e “Courage is being “Tomorrow hopes w to do.” t go ’s an m a t ha w “A man’s got to do scared to death bu ” s a sign of weakness. t .” id “Never say sorry — it’ re stup u’ yo n he w sa r he d d ug li to ng up anyway.” s “Life is tough, but it’ right.” is ks in th he t ha w “A man ought to do day of my life. ugh each and every ro th e m ed lp he ve These sayings ha help me. you as much as they I hope that they help Be Prepared a. by Carolyn W., Opelika, Al th the opportunity to take wi od G by ed ac gr w no e ... You, my friend, ar ight renewal. Remember br a to in try un co ul tif au charge and lead this be iling economy and lack fa e Th s. nd ha ur yo in e ar s those of us whose future e you ers. It is up to you to prov ld ou sh ur yo on up w no e of education ar — make me believe! ge ile iv pr is th ed rv se de have Reforming the War on by MB, Boulder, Colo. Mr. President, Terror Only through global efforts can we hope to see peace. ... I write to you as a yout h deeply concerned abou t the way America is fig on Terror.” To truly be hting the “War effective in our efforts to eli mi na te terrorism we must reform tactics. In recent years our there has been too much em ph as is on American goals and and not enough though motives, t has been put into the eff ect of our actions on the regions we have invaded people of the . The media constantly covers the number of Am in Iraq, Afghanistan, an erican lives lost d Pakistan, but have we stopped to consider the Afghanis, the Pakistanis? Ira qi lives, the Are their lives less valua ble than Americans? It that the number of Iraqi is estimated civilian deaths is betwee n 88,656 and 96,766 (ir org). American deaths: aq bodycount. 4,124 (globalsecurity.or g). We invaded Iraq un pretext that Saddam Hus de r the false sein had weapons of ma ss destruction and was terrorist organizations. su pporting As the war has gone on it has become more and the driving force behind mo re clear that our invasion was our de sire to control Iraqi oil an military base in a sea of d to develop a anti-Americanism. This is absurd. This is not fig terror, it is amplifying th ht ing a war on e issue. We are giving th e rest of the world justifi hatred toward America ca tion for their . I agree that terrorist ne tworks must be eradica ted. However, we must a country is, in fact, supp first establish that orting terrorists. Only th en do we have any right to violat nation’s sovereignty, an e that d even then we must do so for the right reasons. ... Mr. President, we cann ot continue to make enem ies of our allies by destr homes and villages, killin oying their g their loved ones, and lea vin g th e devastated masses to cle up the messes we create. an Our motives must chan ge ; we mu st fight for the lives of th oppressed and underpriv e ileged. We must work fo r their progress and their war and terror, not for ou freedom from t own selfish political de sires, or to gain puppet We cannot enter this fig sta tes and allies. ht alone, nor can we wi n by force. Only throug can we hope to see peac h glo bal efforts e. ... g Immigration Makes America Stron by Litzahaya M., Marysville, Wash. Dear Mr. President, my mind — peanut butter cup, I write to you today with cookies on s. These delicious cookies are chocolate chip, peanut butter cookie ntry, these cookies are made of America. Just like our magnificent cou ether to make something special. many unique ingredients coming tog America special are our people The ingredients that combine to make But now this “American of different cultures and backgrounds. e of our leaders restrict our cookie” is beginning to crumble as som tion and turn a shoulder to farm borders and crack down on immigra workers’ rights. r huddled masses yearning to be “Give me your tired, your poor, you eted immigrants to our country free.” These words have warmly gre the Statue of Liberty, these words for many years. Proudly displayed at who seeks a better way of life. send a message of hope to everyone ce these words any more? A few However, do our leaders truly embra crete, barbwire serpent erty stretches a barrier — a steel, con Lib of tue Sta the of est thw sou es mil hundred tes citizens. Some h aren’t lucky enough to be United Sta birt by o wh s am dre ’s ple peo to — l of a wal true. Supporters this wall can stop dreams from coming But re. the be uld sho l wal this e iev people bel uring our borders with a mit a lot of crime. Therefore, by sec com nts igra imm gal ille t tha say l of the wal a and crime will go l that less people will come to Americ fee y the rol, Pat der Bor re mo and l longer wal am across the border, ed as now more than ever people stre kfir bac has r, eve how ch, roa app s down. Thi tue of Liberty holds a flaming torch Sta The . am dre an eric Am the of rch n most of whom come simply in sea a. Our differences can’t stand betwee eric Am to nts igra imm es com wel that lights the way to freedom and What are you going to do, and share our freedom with everyone. te uni us let — team one is rld wo us. The tion laws? t burn out because of stricter immigra sn’ doe e flam the ure ens to nt, side Mr. Pre erent places. Almost everyone has a diff from ple peo nt ere diff of ture mix first The United States is a beautiful immigrants. Maybe they’re not the are , tree ily fam ir the from e eon story about how they, too, or som nts, America exists. ond or third. But because of immigra sec the y sibl pos but , ans eric Am of with generation from all over the world. Immigrants ple peo the but es, stat 50 the te uni The United States doesn’t just e true — enjoying our s to make their American dream com der bor the g ssin cro are rts hea ir the n hope in join our team. We will be stronger tha to nts igra imm re mo w allo and s side of America. Open your eye the family of the world. ... ever before and become once again Masters vs. Morals by Nick P., Mount Vern on, Mo. ... My third grade teache r was my hero. She wa s able to get all of us ex because it was reading cited about school day, or we were going to start a new project; hours and twenty-eight not because in two minutes we would be pe ltin g tin y ba lls of death at each othe heads, gratified by the r’s “phink” sound rubber m ak es wh en in contact with a face. new fire with me all year. I carried this ... lass Skating in Gym C seph, Mo. by Barend U., St. Jo e with the t be an urgent issu no ay m s as cl m these gy t please consider I know skating in bu q, Ira in ar w e ng and th erican stock markets falli al education in Am ic ys ph of um ul ic e curr in gym class, there ed er suggestions to th off e er w g in , stamina, if skateboard d learn, like agility schools. Imagine, ul co ts en ud st s ill to new sk t sport and needs ea gr a would be so many is g in rd oa to learn k that skateb ulum. If you were ic and balance. I thin rr cu n io at uc ed physical s running, be included in the a lot, which mimic sh pu to ve ha ld , you wou ina and, of course rding am how to skate, you st e or m ve ha America, skateboa t, you lo rd a oa n eb ru at u Sk yo if to so ng kids and al ateboard. Accordi looks cool, not all it sk k a e in th rid ey to th st e ju e us ed in gym like it beca need balanc So why isn’t it offer e. t in popularity. Kids or rid sp to t ed ea nk gr ra s h el y xt fe is the si offering them man , or just because it by am le te ty a es on lif y be th to al ate, it may cents a he have the time ents a chance to sk s is to teach adoles as ud cl st m ng gy vi gi of al By in . go class? The r that list perfectly er 300 skate parks de ov e un ar lls e fa er g Th in it. at g sk t have a healthy by doin sports to try and . If a school does no to enjoy and stay em th ity ss tiv ce ac ac w to ne ts a d studen show them easy for schools an be ld well. ou w it d an a, Americ would work just as t lo g in rk pa d ve , any pa ught me skate park nearby d strength, has ta an gy er en e or m … e lot of fun doing it. e and has given m a av d br ha be ve to ha e I d m an ht e healthy, Skating has taug before, has kept m an th le ab st e or m to be much measure. This isn’t an urgent The Necessit ies by A., Tupe lo, Miss. Dear Mr. Fu ture Preside When people and frustra honest with like the ma that come o aren’t hone ted. So I’m a project rela anything h nt, you. Until ting to this aving to do jority of tee st with me, going to sta I sometimes about five w rt right now eeks ago wh year’s electi with the new nage girls, on, I paid n s. I would s only watch get confuse with being d en assigned o attention ay I’m prob to ably ing a few s hows as “Gossip G I don’t read irl“ and “G the newspap rey’s reason to ev e r and I really en have an f ound no interest in the election that I’m not . My views old enough were to vote, I can why even pa ’t m a k e a differen y attention ce, so ? I’ve found discussed in several reas ons. The iss this election ues affect my f things mor amily and e than other me. Some s and the on even discus e s I’ m referring to sed that mu aren’t c h . I’ v e g r o w debates and n fonder of have a majo the election r interest n and ow. ... Anatomy.” n during th e week such Heed My Warning: Inva sion of Alien (Exotic) Sp ec by Stephanie W., Taipei City, Taiwan ies Congratulations for beco m ing President. In our modern world, we are separated by an invisi ble border between natu technologically advanced re and our communities. We assum e that nature can continue way we live, and we don’t supporting us the stop to consider what ne gative impacts we have ca have concerns about glo used. Only recently bal warming finally hit us . But there are allegedly sm that are occurring on ou aller problems r planet that can eventuall y lead to a situation as ca warming; one of these sin tas trophic as global ister problems is the globa l threat from invasive sp have the idea that invasive ecies. Many people species are not that bad. Well, they are wrong, inv problems that are potentia asive species pose lly, catastrophically bad be cause these exotic species take over the resources th can and will at were used by native sp ecies and will thus cause organisms that were there ex tin ction of the previously. This problem creates a dangerous decre discoverlife.org explains: ase in biodiversity, as “Invasive species have th e ability to displace or rep animal species” (discoverl lace native plant and ife.org). A classic example of the potential harms can be se en in the history of Guam post-World War II, the br . Around the time of own tree snake was intro duced to Guam, apparen snake is a voracious, sem tly on a cargo ship. The i-venomous species that in less than 50 years all bu the northern Pacific islan t destroyed bird life on d of Guam. Ever since th en, the biodiversity, espec has taken a severe hit in ially of the native birds, numbers. The snake “has killed off 10 bird species the process of wiping ou on the island and is in t the remaining two” (was hingtonpost.com). This ho could have been prevented rrendous situation if leaders at the time acted more quickly and proacti vely. ... We live in a time of mass extinction where nature is taking the greatest toll reasons being the introdu — one of the main ction of invasive exotic sp ecies by humans. If we do hesitate, we will watch as n’t act now, if we our native animals and pla nts become extinct one by I urge you, Mr. President one. Therefore, , to start taking this prob lem seriously and to not country end up as anothe let ou r beautiful r example of the damage invasive species may caus our beautiful country en e, but rather to let d up as an example of a co untry that has the power difficulties which others and will to overcome cannot. America Needs a Life Jacket by Sarah E., Bellingham, Wash. Dear Mr. President, et, clutching a few suitcases. Your neighbor walks down the stre his family have been shoved out of and He ck. tru g vin mo a rd affo n eve He can’t r them. a foaming river of debt rushing afte and nts me pay d car dit cre se, their hou ns on up shop, taping Out of Business sig se clo ner cor the on es ess sin bu The ng caught ies come crashing down, most bei pan com ge Lar . ws do win pty em ir the esses? Our m. But what about the small busin by bail-out packages offered to the economy is in crisis. ... THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON WRITING The National Commission on Writing was established by the College Board in 2002 in an effort to focus national attention on the teaching and learning of writing. The decision to create the Commission was animated in part by the Board’s plans to offer a writing assessment in 2005 as part of the new SAT®, but the larger motivation lay in the growing concern within the education, business and policy-making communities that the level of writing in the United States is not what it should be. The Commission and its Advisory Group are made up of leading educators, policymakers and writing experts and over the last seven years they have worked to improve the teaching and learning of writing through research, public voice and change in practice. More information can be found at www.writingcommission.org. THE COLLEGE BOARD The College Board is a not-for-profit membership association whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board is composed of more than 5,600 schools, colleges, universities and other educational organizations. Each year, the College Board serves seven million students and their parents, 23,000 high schools, and 3,800 colleges through major programs and services in college readiness, college admissions, guidance, assessment, financial aid, enrollment, and teaching and learning. Among its best-known programs are the SAT, the PSAT/NMSQT® and the Advanced Placement Program® (AP®). The College Board is committed to the principles of excellence and equity, and that commitment is embodied in all of its programs, services, activities and concerns. For further information, visit www.collegeboard.com. COLLEGE BOARD ADVOCACY Advocacy is central to the work of the College Board. Working with members, policymakers and the education community, we promote programs, policies and practices that increase college access and success for all students. In a world of growing complexity and competing demands, we advocate to ensure that education comes first. www.collegeboard.com/advocacy THE NATIONAL WRITING PROJECT The National Writing Project is a professional development network that serves teachers of writing at all grade levels, primary through university, and in all subjects. The mission of the NWP is to improve student achievement by improving the teaching of writing and improving learning in the nation’s schools. Founded in 1974, the NWP has sites at more than 200 universities and colleges in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, serving more than 135,000 participants annually. www.nwp.org © 2009 The College Board. All rights reserved. Advanced Placement Program, AP, SAT and the acorn logo are registered trademarks of the College Board. PSAT/NMSQT is a registered trademark of the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation. All other products and services may be trademarks of their respective owners. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.com. Please take care of my country, our country, wisely. Hopefully, something will be done I hope you read this letter and take it into consideration. Remember. DON'T PANIC! Words can be soothing to most, but we need action So what do you think, Mr. President? Let me explain it to you So Mr. President, it is up to you to direct the youth of our country into a more promising future. It is up to you to prove you have deserved this privilege — make me believe! So grab hold and climb up. It is going to be your job to help us. In case you didn't know ... I hope you can answer my questions. I need an affordable education, I need your help, and so do the rest of us. To space, I say! Mr. President, I need you. This country needs you. Our economy is in crisis. So I'm going to start right now with being honest with you People come to this country for great opportunities Congratulations on becoming the leader of the great United States I wish you the best of luck in your presidency. We have to make it our problem It is going to be your job to help us So what do you think, Mr. President? Although I am far from the age of voting... This country is in your hands, Mr. President Only through global efforts can we hope to see peace. The world is one team — let us unite and share our freedom with everyone. Our motives must change Remember those of us whose futures are in your hands. Relax and take each day at a time. Make me believe! Well, we have to make it our problem We need to publicize this. Right now is the right time, no more procrastinating, it is time to roll up our sleeves and deal with it. Together we can fix this monster of an issue, but only together. Focus on your strengths, and work to improve your weaknesses. We have to be proactive and take action Things aren’t going to be made better on their own The world is one team — let us unite and share our freedom with everyone. Please take care of my country, our country, wisely. Hopefully, something will be done I hope you read this letter and take it into consideration. In case you didn't know ... Words can be soothing to most, but we need action So what do you think, Mr. President? So grab hold and climb up. So Mr. President, it is up to you to direct the youth of our country into a more promising future. It is up to you to prove you have deserved this privilege — make me believe! Let me explain it to you I hope you can answer my questions. Remember. DON'T PANIC! It is going to be your job to help us.