Letters to the President: Students` Voices

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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
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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.
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