National Writing Project

Letters to the President: Students’ Voices

Date: March 2009

Summary: To celebrate the power of student voices, the College Board's National Commission on Writing has published a selection of student writing about issues they want our new President to address, "Letters to the President: Students' Voices."


This report from the National Commission on Writing features writing that was selected from the online publishing project, Letters to the Next President, co-sponsored by NWP and Google.

The Letters to the Next President website featured 6,466 letters from 212 schools across the country on topics such as global warming, the economy, health care, education, and immigration.

Excerpts from Letters

We Cannot Do It Without You
by Sarah W., Cupertino, Calif.

Mr. President,
I honestly do not believe you are in any way uneducated about the problems facing our country. In fact, I am sure you are aware of the issues in far more depth than I. I cannot provide you with any more statistical information, nor can I provide insight on ways to create the economic stability our country so needs, but I do believe that I can provide you with the voice of one who is directly experiencing the effects of our economy in respect to the skyrocketing values of health insurance.

Every month I have to have an MRI to watch for the return of a malignant brain tumor I successfully had removed twice before. I drive up to Lucille Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University in California and the moment we step inside the door the feelings of desperation and anxiety are almost tangible. I hear the low voices of parents discussing, arguing, and praying for some way to pay for their child's health care. The horrifying reality is, if they cannot afford it, which is too often the case, they are turned away and forced to watch their children suffer and sometimes slowly die before their eyes. How can we ask these parents to do this? . . .

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. . . .

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