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The Alamo Schools Letter

Superintendent's letter remembers the Alamo

Fri., March 4, 2011

It's been dubbed "The Alamo Schools Letter." On Feb. 11, Superintendent John Kuhn, from the small, rural Perrin-Whitt Consolidated Independent School District in North Texas, sent an open letter to several of his local lawmakers, begging them to help. Modeled on William B. Travis' famous letter from the Alamo mere days before its fall, Kuhn's letter calls for lawmakers to give all schools the basic funding they need. The letter has been broadly circulated among school advocates around the state, and Kuhn's call to "Make education a priority!" has become a rallying cry for parents, teachers, and administrators. Below is the text of both Kuhn's letter and Travis' legendary rally cry written in 1836.

John Kuhn, Feb. 11, 2011

From: John Kuhn, Superintendent, Perrin-Whitt CISD

To: Senator Estes, Representative Hardcastle, Representative Keffer, and Representative King during these grave times:

Gentlemen,

I am besieged, by a hundred or more of the Legislators under Rick Perry. I have sustained a continual Bombardment of increased high-stakes testing and accountability-related bureaucracy and a cannonade of gross underfunding for 10 years at least and have lost several good men and women. The ruling party has demanded another round of pay cuts and furloughs, while the school house be put to the sword and our children's lunch money be taken in order to keep taxes low for big business. I am answering the demand with a (figurative) cannon shot, and the Texas flag still waves proudly from our flag pole. I shall never surrender the fight for the children of Perrin.

Then, I call on you my legislators in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy of public schools is declaring that spending on a shiny new high-stakes testing system is "non-negotiable"; that, in essence, we must save the test but not the teachers. The enemy of public schools is saying that Texas lawmakers won't raise 1 penny in taxes in order to save our schools.

If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and fight for the kids in these classrooms like an educator who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his community. Make education a priority!

With all due respect and urgency,

John Kuhn

Superintendent

Perrin-Whitt CISD

William B. Travis, Feb. 24, 1836

To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World;

Fellow Citizens and Compatriots: I am besieged by a thousand or more Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continual Bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise the garrison is to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken. I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in a four or five days.

If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country. Victory or death!

William Barrett Travis, Lt. Col. Comdt.

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