My Resignation Letter

Dear Administrators, Superintendent, et al.:

This is my official resignation letter from my English teaching position.

I’m sad to be leaving a place that has meant so much to me. This was my first teaching job. For eleven years I taught in these classrooms, I walked these halls, and I befriended colleagues, students, and parents alike. This school became part of my family, and I will be forever connected to this community for that reason.

I am grateful for having had the opportunity to serve my community as a teacher. I met the most incredible people here. I am forever changed by my brilliant and compassionate colleagues and the incredible students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching.

I know I have made a difference in the lives of my students, just as they have irrevocably changed mine. Teaching is the most rewarding job I have ever had. That is why I am sad to leave the profession I love.

Even though I am primarily leaving to be closer to my family, if my family were in Colorado, I would not be able to continue teaching here. As a newly single mom, I cannot live in this community on the salary I make as a teacher. With the effects of the pay freeze still lingering and Colorado having one of the lowest yearly teaching salaries in the nation, it has become financially impossible for me to teach in this state.

Along with the salary issue, ethically, I can no longer work in an educational system that is spiraling downwards while it purports to improve the education of our children.

I began my career just as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was gaining momentum. The difference between my students then and now is unmistakable. Regardless of grades or test scores, my students from five to eleven years ago still had a sense of pride in whom they were and a self-confidence in whom they would become someday. Sadly, that type of student is rare now. Every year I have seen a decline in student morale; every year I have more and more wounded students sitting in my classroom, more and more students participating in self-harm and bullying. These children are lost and in pain.

It is no coincidence that the students I have now coincide with the NCLB movement twelve years ago–and it’s only getting worse with the new legislation around Race to the Top.

I have sweet, incredible, intelligent children sitting in my classroom who are giving up on their lives already. They feel that they only have failure in their futures because they’ve been told they aren’t good enough by a standardized test; they’ve been told that they can’t be successful because they aren’t jumping through the right hoops on their educational paths. I have spent so much time trying to reverse those thoughts, trying to help them see that education is not punitive; education is the only way they can improve their lives. But the truth is, the current educational system is punishing them for their inadequacies, rather than helping them discover their unique talents; our educational system is failing our children because it is not meeting their needs.

I can no longer be a part of a system that continues to do the exact opposite of what I am supposed to do as a teacher–I am supposed to help them think for themselves, help them find solutions to problems, help them become productive members of society. Instead, the emphasis on Common Core Standards and high-stakes testing is creating a teach-to-the-test mentality for our teachers and stress and anxiety for our students. Students have increasingly become hesitant to think for themselves because they have been programmed to believe that there is one right answer that they may or may not have been given yet. That is what school has become: A place where teachers must give students “right” answers, so students can prove (on tests riddled with problems, by the way) that teachers have taught students what the standards have deemed to be a proper education.

As unique as my personal situation might be, I know I am not the only teacher feeling this way. Instead of weeding out the “bad” teachers, this evaluation system will continue to frustrate the teachers who are doing everything they can to ensure their students are graduating with the skills necessary to become civic minded individuals. We feel defeated and helpless: If we speak out, we are reprimanded for not being team players; if we do as we are told, we are supporting a broken system.

Since I’ve worked here, we have always asked the question of every situation: “Is this good for kids?” My answer to this new legislation is, “No. This is absolutely not good for kids.” I cannot stand by and watch this happen to our precious children–our future. The irony is I cannot fight for their rights while I am working in the system. Therefore, I will not apply for another teaching job anywhere in this country while our government continues to ruin public education. Instead, I will do my best to be an advocate for change. I will continue to fight for our children’s rights for a free and proper education because their very lives depend upon it.

My final plea as a district employee is that the principals and superintendent ask themselves the same questions I have asked myself: “Is this good for kids? Is the state money being spent wisely to keep and attract good teachers? Can the district do a better job of advocating for our children and become leaders in this educational system rather than followers?” With my resignation, I hope to inspire change in the district I have come to love. As Benjamin Franklin once said: “All mankind is divided into three classes: Those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.” I want to be someone who moves and makes things happen. Which one do you want to be?

Sincerely,

Pauline Hawkins

 

not final coverPauline’s first book, Uncommon Core, is slated for release from WordCrafts Press on April 27, 2015. You can pre-order an autographed copy of Uncommon Core by clicking on the link below. Each pre-released book will be signed by the author and shipped directly to purchaser.

https://squareup.com/market/wordcrafts/uncommon-core-author-autographed-pre-release

 

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533 Responses to My Resignation Letter

  1. Amen Sister, I do not recommend the teaching profession as a career for my own children nor my students. It was a great career right up to the time you referred to in your article. Here in Kentucky, the government has stolen from our Pension fund to pay other debts and up to this point have refused to pay us back. All the while making more demands/paper work/harder evaluations on us. Teacher Unions are a joke using our dues to back losing political candidates in most elections. Teachers nation wide need to strike.

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences. It’s so hard to read the things other teachers are going through in different states. How did things get this bad? Teachers need to strike, but we need the support of parents and students. We are all affected by this and need to stand together against these government mandates.

      • Tim Newman says:

        How’d thinks get this bad? People stopped thinking allowing the government do that for us. We stopped looking to the one that created us looked to MANKIND to help, one that make idols instead of looking to the one at created ask we see and don’t see!

      • sarena1964 says:

        Pauline Hawkins, I am in Rhode Island. I can tell you that it’s nearly impossible to have a bad teacher here fired. So, I always wonder why it is then that teachers aren’t indeed standing up to administration in conscientious letters like this teacher has shared. I have had some amazing teachers that would (on the side) share with parents the suspected disability the school wasn’t acting up and they should have their child tested. That same teacher has told me they will lie to any parents face in an IEP asking for backup because they are afraid of losing their job,…yet at the cost of Educational Malpractice. This Teacher is one of growing trend. I am a crusader mom with a child several grades below his grade level in Literacy and math, he is not unique…..his disabilities are not known out of school. But those very experts should NOT be harming our children. I feel as sick as this Teacher does and I totally SUPPORT any teacher/Union that would grow some gonads and start thinking about the health, safety and welfare of our future.
        It not now….WHEN?

      • Thank you for sharing your experiences!

      • Barbara says:

        In Florida, as in some other states, striking is illegal. Our unions have no teeth at all. In fact, a few years back, our union reached an impasse with the school board in salary negotiations. Do you know who was appointed by state law as the “impartial” mediator? The school board!!! Where we are, there are few protections from firing, too. It is so frustrating knowing that our hands are tied as the system is falling apart. I have never seen teacher morale so low – not just in my school and county, but in friends across the country. That has to negatively impact the students, too, even if we try not to show it.

      • I’m speechless over your situation, Barbara. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

  2. Teresa says:

    i am a recently retired teacher and she is so right. We have got to stand up for these kids. I shutter at what my grandkids are being taught.

    • While I am totally supportive of teachers and the problems they face, it does not help your argument if the teachers cannot write a literate sentence. Teresa meant to say ‘shudder’. This was not a typo as t’s and d’s are not next to each other. This was just getting ti wrong. And this is the sort of thing that gives critics of teachers their ammunition.
      That said, a huge part of the problem is teacher education. And of course, if teachers were well paid, we might just get some good ones.

      • I agree with your comments, just not the way you said them. Please be kind in your comments on my website. We all make mistakes, as is evident in your comment.
        Thank you for reading and sharing your perspective.

      • Teachersneedoursupport says:

        The thing that amazes me about the picking up of the error with the word “shutter” is that it is obvious that it is predictive text sent from a cellphone. So your pernickety diagnosis of the problem is wrong! So many nitpick on a minor point and in the process miss the heart of the message. The system is broken and good teachers everywhere are being destroyed by a failing system. In destroying the teachers how does that help teachers to help children?

        Good teachers are leaving the profession in droves!

        CHILDREN SHOULD ALWAYS COME FIRST! RUINING THE TEACHING PROFESSION FAILS CHILDREN!

        I am not a teacher.

      • Thank you for sharing your perspective! I agree completely!

      • Cheryl says:

        It is”it” not “ti” mistakes are made by all. It was probably auto correct that
        “shuttered” .

      • I apologize. My comment came across as really negative about teachers in general, whereas my criticism is really about the system which does nothing to encourage creative teaching, and a pay scale which does not encourage the best and the brightest to groom the next generation.
        But, even if the shutter/shudder comment was sent from a cell phone which thinks it knows better than you do, a teacher should check her message before hitting send. If teachers don’t set the standard for good communication, how can we expect students to?

      • Thank you for your apology. Again, I understand and agree with what you are saying.

      • Tim Stangl says:

        I agree people should proof read what they type. If one was to proof read what they type before they hit send then one would not have said “ti” instead of saying “it”. Remember one that lives there life in a glass house shell not throw stones.

      • I’m assuming those misspellings were done on purpose…

      • Touche’. But I do not claim to be a teacher.

      • Lou says:

        I agree with compostinternational. I shuddered when I read “shutter”. This is my biggest complaint about educators. I have received so many notes from school with incorrect spelling and grammar; it bothers me no end to think that this is the example my children are seeing. My phone messes up a lot of my spelling, too, but I do proof read and make corrections, which I suggest to teachers!
        He/she, also, hit the nail on the head about teachers’ salaries. We, once, resided in the third top-rated school district in the country. The teachers in the district made three times what my teacher mother did in Utah! You do get what you pay for. Just sayin’…

      • DominicC says:

        Beware the beam in your own eye. Sentences can’t be literate. People are literate (or illiterate).

      • Like guns don’t kill people, people do? Of course sentences can be literate, just like they can be grammatical, incomplete, foreign or sheer nonsense.

      • M Joan says:

        Have you never made a typo?
        Have you ever taught?
        GOOD Teachers are born, not made.
        GOOD teachers ask questions to get students to think (if they’re allowed to do so).
        GOOD teachers (and parents) look on the bright side. Mistakes aren’t jumped on. The idea is.
        The point here is what legislation is passed by people who sit at their expensive desks and think up things for teachers to teach with NO knowledge of what is REALLY needed for the students or HOW to accomplish the act of learning.
        Why is it that teachers are NEVER INCLUDED IN THE “DESIGNERS OF WHAT’S BEST FOR KIDS” GROUP?
        Some times, parents DO KNOW what’s best for their child to learn.
        Some parents have little knowledge (which is NOT their fault).
        Some are in denial that there’s a learning problem.
        But teachers do. It’s their job! So, LET THEM DO THEIR JOB!!!!!
        THAT’S THE POINT OF THIS POSTING!!

      • I have made many typos, but I catch most of them. None of us is perfect, but the standard for what is acceptable is pathetically low.
        I have taught – I am one of the born teachers – but never in a public school classroom. The State of New York would not certify me because I am not a citizen, and I do not like this country enough to become one. The irony is that, although I would have been a very good teacher, I would have been a thorn in the side of administrators and legislators. I would have been the sort of teacher who strenuously resisted standardized testing. I might even have written a letter very similar to the one that has provoked all this discussion.

      • If you are going to correct other, make sure what you typed is correct. I’ll let you read and re-read your post until you find the mistake.

      • TEC4 says:

        You’re assuming that she made a mistake. Ever heard of autocorrect? (BTW, pot: kettle. It’s “it”, not “ti” and you do not use apostrophes for non-possessive uses.)

        Aside from that, I am horrified at the status of our educational system as revealed by Pauline’s letter. All of us in the community need to stop being sheep and begin to speak out for our children.

      • teacher says:

        When you are passionate about something, you type fast and make errors. Hope you aren’t spell checking me!!

      • And if it is the kids who make the errors they are penalized. Teachers need to be held to a higher standard than the average texting teen. The educational system and inadequate recruiting and training is too blame, but I have met teachers who would not have realized that they had used the wrong word.

    • ibpilot says:

      obviously you did not teach English. Shudder

      • I’m sure Teresa appreciates the correction, just not the way you did it. Please be kind on my website.

      • Marsha says:

        Golden Rule

      • Firstgradefriends says:

        I don’t think you, who are not teachers, take into account when these notes may, or may not, have been written. As a first grade teacher I get nary an hour prep and 20 minutes for lunch. Notes that need to go home, usually discipline, are written on a clip board while students are packing up for the day or using the restroom. These teachers, who make grammar mistakes, should be given the benefit of the doubt. You, who claims not to be a teacher, have no idea what we, actual teachers, do in one day. We are lucky to get notes home at all most days because our days are filled with teaching children to solve problems, wiping tears, listening to jokes, the same ones told yesterday, and still laugh just as hard at them, tying shoes, teaching table etiquette, teaching social manners, fixing ouchies, and still getting around to teaching the lessons that must be taught that day. Please do not say it must start with the teacher when you have absolutely no concept of what we go through in a single day. I would recommend you come walk a day in my shoes and see if you can get a coherent thought out at the end of it. I adore my job and my “kids” and I feel like I get kicked in the gut each time someone comes down on something as petty as grammar.

  3. Pauline, your letter touched me in a profound and yet personal way. My youngest daughter teaches English in the upper Midwest, and when we talk on the phone or on social media, she echoes your frustrations, the declining state of the student population, the apparent inability or indifference of the school system (from school to district) to comprehend that the system itself is failing, and a generation and more is becoming alienated by the one guarantee every child is supposed to have: a free and proper education.
    I taught music privately for years, so while I do not know first-hand the situations that you and others are forced to somehow endure, as a professional musician who finally, at the age of 47, got his “big break”, I can more than sympathize with what seems to be an endless financial circus.
    Please, PLEASE, continue to blog and write and post and report on our dying education system. It must be re-emphasized and reiterated until someone hears and makes the decision to restore it…and thank you for sharing something so very personal.

    Namaste.

    Scott Mayfield

    • Thank you, Scott! I appreciate your support and comments. I will continue to use my trusty sling-shot in hopes that something will take down this Goliath the government has created. When more voices, like yours, join the conversation, we will be hard to ignore. Thank you for speaking up as well!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I have been out of college for six years and no one will hire me, because I don’t have enough experience. How do you gain experience other then teaching. I wish I didn’t get my degree in education. I am paying back students loan working as a behavioral interventionist. There are times I think I will apply again for a teaching job, but then I decide not to. I see that teachers are struggling to get parent and district support. The students are extremely disrespectful to teachers and all other adult authority.

    • sus smith says:

      I would also like to add – after being a teacher for over 30 years– students are disrespectful but what is worse so are parents today– if you reprimand their children they want to know what you did as their teacher to cause this behavior !!

      • I have had a few of those situations as well. That’s one of the reasons I wrote my book, Uncommon Core. Parents need to remember that we are working together to create the best learning environment for their children. Thank you for your comment!

  5. Debbie says:

    Supt and administrators have zero control over the situation. Likely, you are preaching to the choir. They only enforce the crazy mandates of the state and federal legislators who could care less what their opinions are. Reality is our students are not scoring as well as their Asian counterparts and big business (large tax payers) are driving legislators to push our students to perform better if they are to be hired over other cultures who are graduating high school speaking dual languages, more advanced math and literary skills. I don’t agree with the system but I understand the problem.

    • Kay Roze says:

      We hosted an exchange student for a year at our house. She was fluent in three languages as well as being a top-notch student. The number of hours she spent in school were spent in the evening studying as well. In America, what little time is spent in the classrooms vs what little time is spent studying in the evening -well does not even come close to our foreign counterparts.

  6. ML Wright says:

    Let’s remove the legislators from the education system. A teacher cannot live on their teaching salaries alone. Looking for a teaching position overseas!

  7. P Clark says:

    Thanks for taking a stand. I retired last year because I was finding it difficult to stay motivated and to teach with passion. The red tape was strangling my enthusiasm. It is sad to see what is happening to education in the name of quality and standards. Let’s hope that administrators and politicians will finally take a stand and right the wrong.

  8. Ned says:

    Congratulations Pauline! You have served, are brave, and are now becoming a national leader fighting this foolish, wrong-headed corporate reform of public education. It actually started in the 1980’s with Reagan’s “Nation At Risk.” I was a Michigan teacher, principal, and superintendent until I took early retirement in large part because of the issues you raised. Fight back! And contact me!

  9. rene says:

    a great teacher never teachers to a test-

    • Diane Wetherell says:

      I think a great teacher tests to find out if the material taught was learned.

      • Very true, Diane! That is why those state standardized tests are a waste of time, money, and resources. By the time the results come back, the student is no longer with that teacher. In addition, teachers cannot find out what the student did or did not understand to improve their teaching of the material or to help future students.

  10. Stand and deliver..So sad to lose such a great teacher .I do not blame you..never lower your standards ..

  11. As a family physician and a mother I have seen so many parallels between education and healthcare–the crisis is real in both disciplines. The government involvement distracts from students as it does from patients and makes the caregivers miserable in its administrative processes. The systems need reform and refocus but not government directed as we have seen in both arenas how that is panning out…I support you and wish you good luck!

    • I agree! That’s the issue, isn’t it? How do we improve public education without government help? We need the money and resources but not the intervention. If the government would trust the professionals to do our jobs, we would haven’t the problems we have.

  12. Deb says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience – I am retiring from teaching after 36 years – the testing and pressures on 3rd grade students in Oklahoma have taken the fun out of teaching. It is time to move on. I don’t feel like I gave one minute to build confidence in students. Sadly it is very hard to recommend teaching as a profession. As to the gentleman who expressed concern over misspelling – don’t question anyone’s ability or worth as a teacher until you have spent a day in our shoes.

  13. Heather Miller says:

    Thank you Miss Hawkins for putting your personal story out there so that a dialogue could be started. I know that it is an issue that has been at the forefront of educational debates for some time, but each person takes something different away from every conversation. For example, you could say “trees are essential for man’s continued existence” and it might be profound to me, while others might scan over it without giving it a second thought.
    With every person that speaks out, shares a resignation letter, goes to bat for a child they believe in, or stays the course hoping to change the broken system from within, we are starting a dialogue reaching people in different ways. I firmly believe that by showing the broken system to people from different perspectives, there is a much greater chance to reach more people and the more people that start trying to fix the problem the greater the chances of real actual change may come to pass. Thank you for sharing this, please know that it made at least one person think and research, educate myself more on the issue at hand. Thank you for the nudge!!
    I am not an English teacher, so please don’t feel the need to correct any grammar issues or vocabulary mistakes that I may have made in this comment. For those that feel the need to constantly correct and “shame” people for typing errors and grammar mistakes, I think that it is petty in this forum. I would much rather have my child in a classroom with someone that misused the word shutter/shudder, than in a classroom with someone that is going to makes them feel small and embarrassed for a grammar mistake. I want my son to know that I am not perfect and that his teachers are not perfect and that he is not perfect then when he does something that he knows is wrong, he doesn’t have fear and embarrassment suppressing his need to talk to me or a teacher. I also think that it builds trust and respect to allow kids to know that their best is expected, but it is alright if their best isn’t perfect. In the course of such an important discussion, to correct someone is condescending and just plain rude.

  14. Dave Goding says:

    Many problems in the public school system. Mostly the issues have NOTHING to do with the teachers. By and large PS teachers are great and have my respect as educators However, you say that the overarching question should always be: what is best for the students. Right you are to continually ask that all-important question. One major issue I see is tenure. This is not in the student’s best interest. Some of the worst teachers i have seen teach my kids have been insulated by tenure. I also got a bad taste in my mouth when our economy went belly up in 2008-09 and our teachers were ready to strike when they didn’t get a raise. They ultimately chose to give the tenured teachers raises and let younger, newer teachers go. Really?!? Our NJ town school district pays well, too. With their decent salaries, which is a public record, and the time teachers have off summers and holidays, I don’t get their beef in my town. Add 25% to their salary for the time that they get off verses the time others work and you see the equity isn’t much different. I am looked at as “evil” in our area for even bringing up the point. Glad my youngest graduates HS this year and done with the drama.

    • Ron Nelson says:

      Dave you hit the nail on the head. Having served on our local board of education the problem I believe is tenure. Sure you have great teachers and for every one of these you have one at the other end of the bell curve but you cannot do anything about it because of the powerful teachers union. Let the teachers get graded and paid by performance and see how fast the improvement comes in the class room. The argument I received when stating this was they couldn’t help it if they got a “dumb” class.

    • I agree with your comment on some tenured teachers. My kids had to survive a few as well. I also know the awesome ones never get the press and I have no doubt there are far more awesome teachers than bad ones. Regarding their salaries and summers off, if teachers worked only 40 hours in a typical school week, it might make sense to add 25% to the salary to compare it to any other full time job. That simply isn’t the case. My daughter is a 2nd grade teacher in an inner city school that serves a distressed community where parents don’t always prioritize the education of their children. It isn’t a well-funded district. Between the before- and after-school hours, and the hours spent in planning the curriculum, grading papers, finding ways to reach the ones who are struggling, planning creative vehicles for her students to learn individually and together, she puts in easily 60 hours of work in a typical week. She loves the kids and is invested in their success while aiming to meet the criteria established for their scores and improvement. And yes, she’s one who spends her own money on things she hopes will motivate her kids to learn for the love of learning. It’s an uphill battle but she’s not easily deterred. She earns every bit of that salary she receives through the summer.

      • Excellent points, Barbara! People who criticize teachers’ work week hours and summer’s off are obviously not teachers. Even now as an adjunct English teacher, I work well into the night grading papers and developing lesson plans–hours I will never get paid for. Many teachers also work through the summer by taking staff development classes (often required by districts) and then applying that knowledge to the curriculum for the next year. It is hard to have a logical discussion with someone who has never taught or lived with someone who was/is a teacher. People just don’t understand what teachers go through unless they have first-hand knowledge.

  15. Becky says:

    Do you know that as a parent of a student there are means to opt out of standardized testing? Please search it if you are concerned about your child testing. If we all just opted out, something would have to change. Take charge of your student’s education. Have this discussion with your child’s teacher, principal and counselor.

    • Absolutely! I have opted my son out for the last two years. He will never take these tests.

    • Rosan says:

      When the parents opt out, the schools and teachers of those students are “punished” in their reviews, so parents who opt out are in reality neither helping the schools nor the teachers. The only way to truly voice your displeasure with the system is to stop voting in those politicians and school board members who think a one time test is a true evaluation of a teacher’s skill and inspiration to her students.

  16. It’s sad, really. Growing up the people who made the biggest impact on my life were not my parents, they were my teachers. Ironically enough they were my English teachers. Well, English literature. When I was a kid, teachers were vastly different than they are now. My teachers would take the time out of their day to explain things in ways that helped me learn, not the way a book told them to tell me. They would take extra time to help me succeed, because that’s what they cared about. They were always encouraging and kind, they always made me want to be a better person like them. To this day, Mr. Sanders, not only an English teacher of mine when I was a kid, but of my fathers, will always hold a special place in my heart and in my life. Teachers can’t even pick what they want their students to learn these days. I look back at some of the books like “Of Mice and Men,” or “The Mouse and Motorcycle,” some seemingly childish books but with GREAT meaning behind them. These things shaped and founded the person I have become today, the intelligent and mature man I have grown in to, and I thank all of my teachers again.

    That said, going into college I was determined to be an English teacher myself. A little more than a year into my studies I had lost hope. I had seen what teaching had become, I had seen the standardized tests and curriculum. I had seen that teachers were no longer free to teach the way they found best to teach. That was not what I wanted to do. I did not want to go to work and read straight out of a book, or teach children what someone else thought was best for them. I wanted to be like Mr. Sanders. I wanted to make a personal impact on children’s lives, to better them in their futures. I wanted to instill the same morality and principals I learned through works of literature chosen, taught, explained, and elaborated on all at the choice of my teachers.

    Now, as pathetic as it may seem, I have nothing I look forward to. That was always my dream, my goal, I don’t have one anymore. I’ve lost all motivation.

    • Matthew,
      Thank you for sharing your story. Don’t give up. There are schools that are rebelling against this system; look for them and apply there. I also believe the tide is turning; I just don’t know how long it will take to fix the damage NCLB and Race to the Top have done. In the meantime, look into getting your MA in English Literature and apply at community colleges, colleges, and universities as an adjunct or assistant professor. So far, these crazy mandates have not reached the higher-education classroom. That’s what I am doing now, and I love it. It’s everything I love about teaching, and nothing I hate. If you are passionate about being a teacher, then you have to find a way to make it work for you.
      Good luck!

      • Beatriz says:

        I hope more teachers such as yourself continue to oppose this Common Core fiasco. I miss the days when I used to meet teachers who taught my aunts and uncles and our children and were life long educators. Sadly, I am seeing teachers such as yourself who have to fight for what they believe in and unfortunately it means leaving a profession they love dearly because as you mentioned above you can’t fight the system while working in it. I have two children who are both in college and they both send me updates of the strikes occurring at the high schools they graduated from. I am proud to say my children attended a high school where their teachers are fighting back as a unit. Right now I am expecting a baby girl in May and I can’t imagine what our educational system will be like once she starts school. I found out recently they stopped teaching cursive. Cursive ??? Good Luck in your fight. I will continue to be a supporter. Let our teachers do what they were trained and educated to do; teach, inspire and encourage our future leaders.

      • Thank you for sharing your experiences, Beatriz! I hope we can change the course of education before your little girl gets to school!

  17. Kim Kunko says:

    I too handed in my resignation 3 months ago. I am a 26 year veteran teacher. When I am asked why I retired at such an early age, my reply is “I can not continue to go down a path with no light at the end…”

    • Thank you for sharing, Kim. That is the decision we all have to make in the profession right now: How much longer can we walk down this dark path? Truthfully, the response to my letter this week has given me hope that a change is near. I hope that it is sooner rather than later.

  18. momof4darlings says:

    Bravo!!!! I am not a teacher by profession, but have decided, for all the reasons stated, that this is the last year my kids will attend our public school. I’m preparing now for our first year of homeschooling, which we will start this summer. The school system is so messed up. I live in Virginia, one of the few states who doesn’t follow common core, but I’m still outraged with our school system. It makes me sick that from February to June my kids don’t learn anything new. Instead, they spend 4 months of their 9 month school year, reviewing what they learned the first 5 months of school, so they can pass the state tests. After the tests are taken, it’s pretty much free time, movies, & games the entire last month of school. And even though we don’t technically follow common core teaching standards, it is still popping up in the curriculum. My children’s self confidence has decreased greatly as they feel frustrated by the the common core math that makes no sense to them. I have always supported our public school system and love our teachers. I’m sad that the current system has l left me with no choice but to pull them out and teach them myself. The system is broken and everyone is hurting because of it. I’m so happy to see a movement stepping up against it. Please let me know what I can do to start the ball rolling here in my state. I support you fully!

    • Thank you for your support! I understand your need to home school your children. I have debated that as well. Right now, my son is in a school that supports his needs and didn’t give me a hard time about opting him out of the state tests, but if either one of those things changes, I will home school him as well.
      Please continue to share your experiences. Speaking out is the best way to initiate change!

  19. Marcus says:

    No one seems to see the pattern of Right wing politicians destroying the educational system. Tie that to frozen wages for anyone but the rich and you can clearly see a slave\master culture being purposely developed. This has been going on for 30 years. It will culminate in America being dumbed down and manipulated. This country will be lost if it is not reversed.

    • Helen says:

      Marcus, to blame this solely on ‘right wing’ politicians is gravely absurd. Ted Kennedy had his hands all over NCLB, and as far as I can see, the Democrats have been running this show lately, especially as it relates to the unions, which I think most people would agree, are not in it for the children.

      • If memory serves, it was Bush seated at the desk, signing NCLB into law. And currently, the GOP has both the House and Senate, and seem more focused on regulating what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms, or undercutting the President by inviting world leaders to sell another war than they are on our next generation. As for those kids having health care, one party tried to help them get it, the other shut the government down because they didn’t like that it passed.

        We DO agree on the unions, however.

      • Jean Frank says:

        Actually, Helen, you are quite incorrect. Ted Kennedy’s young interns, all in their mid-20s had THEIR hands all over NCLB: Young, highly educated trained lawyers who did not have ONE clue about what happened in a normal classroom with normal kids learning normal lessons – they had about as much knowledge of education as a fish does of flying! NCLB was a Bush idea and was WRONG. Race to the Top was an Arne Duncan/Obama idea and was wrong. Common Core was an idea of governors and it was wrong. Bottom line: Keep the politicians out of education and let the educators educate and you’ll see a difference. But until PARENTS decide enough is enough and vote out any politician that believes they can legislate change like this, the public schools are doomed. (And isn’t THAT, after all, the goal of most of these politicians who are currently in office??)

  20. Marilyn says:

    Bravo!!! B-R-A-V-O! Good luck on your new journey. The system is broken and the Puppeteers only care about their pockets!

  21. Michelle McNutt says:

    Thank you for your letter. I hope someone is listening.

  22. Deputy Q. says:

    I am a 50-year-old, single mother. My youngest is 12 (6th grade) and experiencing the very problems you spoke of. Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to make 6th grade part of middle school? For one this age is not emotionally ready for middle school. I am trying my best to find a way to home school her. I am a corrections officer at a county detention center and every day I see the effects of “those children left behind”. When they get lost in the educational system they get lost in the real world system. It is very sad. I pray for them every day and listen when they need to talk. God put me there for a reason. God bless all that are trying to make a difference!!

  23. C. dixon says:

    Thanks for this. You explained everything so well. I resigned from teaching years ago (1994) for much the same reasons… although all the legislation was not in effect at that time. I was very frustrated by the fact that I was already being forced to teach to a test or to prepare students for test taking, instead of having the freedom to teach them how to be learners and thinkers and problem solvers. Kudos to all you are doing.

  24. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this. I applaud you! I was a public school teacher in Texas for 7 years before quitting 8 years ago. My last couple of years, my feelings were the same as yours. Everything was about the tests and test scores for the school. The children believed their entire self worth was in that test. And I’m embarrassed that I followed along for so long and did the things I did.
    I have my own children now and they are in a wonderful private school. A school that has renewed my hope in education at a school. I’m blessed to be able to financially afford this because I don’t think I could send my children to a public school. And I’m saddened by all the children being left behind, not getting a joyful, enriching learning experiencing in public schools.

    • Jennifer,
      Thank you for sharing your experiences! That is my biggest concern right now. If private schools can give students an enriching learning experience, why can’t public schools do the same? There’s a theory that states that these government mandates are actually just a means to an end–the end being privatization of education. If that is true, what will happen to the children who are in families who cannot afford private schools? My heart hurts thinking about all the children the public school system has failed and will fail if we don’t change what’s happening.

  25. elaine pellegrin says:

    I retired from teaching in 2004 after being in the classroom for 37 years. I meet my former students constantly and they thank me for giving them the quality education I was allowed to do at that time. My question is how could my teaching methods be so wrong when my former students who are so successful in life are the proof of my endeavors. Wake up America…put education back in the hands of the teachers!

    • Absolutely, Elaine! Thank you for your astute comments!

    • Jean Frank says:

      Ditto, Elaine! I left after 39 years of teaching because I just could not stomach what I was being asked to do on a daily basis. MY kids did great before NCLB came into play. Once the politicians took over education, the slide downhill was fast and furious. Parents, they’re YOUR kids and YOU are responsible for how they’re being taught. When will the Revolution finally begin?????

  26. Lindsey says:

    Thank you for working on making a difference. Will you be having a book signing in the Portsmouth area? I would love to meet you and shake your hand. We need more folks like you in the world who will challenge the “norm” and make this a better place.

  27. Two of my kids have expressed in interest in teaching, and we have discussed the working conditions and lack of a livable wage. They can still teach if that’s what they feel they want to to, of course, but right now they’re thinking of other fields to explore.

  28. Karen Mittleider says:

    This is just heartbreaking! I have 6 grandchildren that are going to have to go through the educational system. We are losing valuable teachers in our area because they too feel like what they are expected to teach is not in the best interest of their students. All that will be left are those teachers who are there for the check and could care less about the students. Why in Gods name are we allowing this to happen? Its soon election time people. Starting waging war against your legislators, senators and congressmen who support common core. Request they all take the tests that are given to our children and we want the test score results posted in every local paper. Let’s see if they are qualified to run our country.

  29. Brenda says:

    How do you suggest parents stand up and fight back? When the administration and teachers follow the NCLB doctrine, parents are also up against a wall if they can’t afford to home-school their children by having no choice but putting their children in a broken system. The counselors in my son’s high school encouraged him to drop out of school his senior year and not graduate to get a “free” year of school at the community college. What happened? My son was only allowed to enroll in very basic college classes that were probably less stimulating to him than his high school classes and he didn’t continue. Results? Not graduating from high school, but taking a GED test (which he passed all of, some with honors.) Why would a school system ENCOURAGE a child to drop out and how can a parent convince a new adult (turned 18, so no longer can I MAKE him go to school) that what the school recommends is wrong?

    My kids have finished school now, but I also taught for six years (1992-1998), and couldn’t agree more with what you’re saying re: student attitudes. However, I also felt that many parents expect the system to educate their children as a whole instead of taking a role. Respect, kindness, collaboration, etc. are taught at home by example, and sadly, many students are lacking these traits, as well. I wish everyone well in this endeavor. For myself, I will strive to make a difference where I can and when I can.

    • Excellent points about parents taking a role in teaching their children soft skills, Brenda! That’s exactly what my book, Uncommon Core, is about. Parents, teachers, and students need to work together to create the best environment for learning. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  30. thomas says:

    Here in my community I keep hearing business people saying that schools should be run like a business with performance standards that emulate the business model. This is so wrong! Students are not employees, teachers are not their bosses, superintendents are not CEOs. This is a model for disaster and the disaster is happening right in front of our eyes. Students are just children; teachers are or should be their mentors, challengers, role models, and encouragers; principals, other administrators and superintendents should be the ones to undo the roadblocks to the interaction between students and teachers that create Education.

    • Beautifully stated, Thomas! Thank you!

    • Teachersneedoursupport says:

      That is the problem Thomas… Every one who has been through the Education system think they are experts… It is embarrassing!

      It is the same as many people who have been to a psychologist, many come out thinking they are then psychologists…

      Have these business people ever stood in front of 30 or more kids for 6 hours a day? Have they ever dealt with the range of problems a class of 30 plus little people can create? They couldn’t cope and yet they think their opinions are worthy of consideration.

      People who argue the business model for teaching simply don’t get it, and it makes you wonder if they can be so wrong on that solution, how good are they really at business management?

      Politicians are the same … Just because they have been through the education system doesn’t make them experts in Education… If you haven’t stood in front of a class for many hours a day for many weeks of a year and for many years – you basically have no knowledge of Education – just theories!

      Many people in the echelons of the Education System, who set the rules have never stood in front of a class either. They may have a Doctorate – but can they teach?

      There is an old saying “Those who can teach do – Those who can’t lecture”!

    • Eric says:

      So true as you can’t fire a student.

  31. bruceg4747 says:

    Pauline,
    I commend you for taking an ethical stance as you describe the difficulty of your situation. I taught 33 years and now work with beginning teachers as supervisor and mentor. I began doing this work because I thought it still might be possible to help people coming into the profession find the joy and sense of purpose that seems so ephemeral these days. I am coming to believe that teachers need to take a moral position as you have done. Many of my generation were faced with these dilemmas right before we began our teaching careers when the U.S. was involved in a highly unpopular war. The term conscientious objector just might apply these days as more and more teachers find the words to express the limits of what they can and cannot do in good conscience.
    Thank you for eloquently sharing your thoughts

  32. Teachersneedoursupport says:

    So many people have made some very supportive and reasonable comments.

    Teachers in most cases are the most professional and dedicated workers in our society. What other profession do you hand over your little treasures for 6 hours a day and entrust their psychological, educational, and social welfare to?

    What other group in society works as hard as a good teacher to achieve those ends? Every teacher I know works more free time than any other profession.

    The teacher gets to school, stands in front of larger and larger classes, often work through their breaks, often have kids catch up in the teacher’s time during lunch breaks and after school, then takes home lots of marking to do as unpaid work.

    It is time teachers started documenting their out of hours unpaid work and submitting a claim for that time as wages. It’s time society stopped criticising teachers and realised what dedicated professionals they really are.

    TO THE TEACHERS OF THE WORLD – THANK YOU!!!!!

  33. Barbara Ihrig says:

    You speak for so many of us who are frustrated and defeated as educators. I have taught since 1971. I love kids of all ages, but am retiring in 2 months. I have never seen our profession stoop so low, making students hopeless and teachers defeated. I have been an administrator for the last 6 years. Legislators, big test companies and “experts” who have seldom seen the inside of a classroom are driving public education to abject failure. Teachers are born gifted to teach, not made into cooki cutter profiles. The 20 Dominions we are “trained” to observe and evaluate by a very demeaning and destructive tool forced upon us as administrators, is at best a huge catastrophe. Show us any other profession that continues to test & further disrespect those who are underpaid, understaffed, and driven like slaves of old. Rethink, refine, and reflect on the basics that all great teachers KNOW. We understand what needs to be done in our classrooms to have successful students. Move aside…. Let the educators EDUCATE!!!

  34. Donna Toyama says:

    After 40 years from beginning teaching, I retired sadly because of the reasons you just shared. I would have retired at this point anyway, but with a much happier feeling. The last few years of my career were frustrating because of the changes in education and the politics of evaluations and who and what determined them. The students have learned to dislike and fear learning and many young teachers with much potential feel forced to change to other occupations for salary and areas where they are appreciated by superiors and encouraged. Good teachers are so frustrated because they are having to do what’s mandated and yet trying to incorporate what they know their students need and it’s an impossible task and heartbreaking. I applaud your insight and love of educating young minds to the point of pursuing change and hope you find peace and fulfillment in the path you’ve chosen. Thank you for being a voice for students, parents, and teachers!

  35. Annette Almjeld says:

    I have to agree that all the mandates etc. coming down from on high (Washington, Frankfurt, or wherever theorists think they know best) are not helping our children. I taught special education for 29 years. It got to the point that they were telling me what to teach and how to teach it even if it went against common sense. The promises made to teachers all those years when we did not get raises etc. have been broken. Insurance promised is now costly and inferior, retirement funds are no longer certain, and our futures are not secure as the state continues to underfund their share. In the state of Kentucky we can not draw social security earned or even widows’ benefits because they claim it is double dipping, so I have to pay for Medicare out of pocket. I could not recommend a public education career to the younger generation. I loved my career and my students but the world has changed.

  36. Sara says:

    Pauline, thank you for sharing this. I recently left my classroom job to do freelance educational writing full-time. While I think there is good in the Common Core, our implementation of it is not. I see teachers every day bullied by administrations focused on getting “results”. I’ve come to the conclusion that no one is having fun in education anymore, students or teachers. Thanks for having the courage to talk openly about this.

    • I agree, Sara! There is nothing wrong with having standards to create consistency, but the way Common Core was implemented and then tied to high-stakes testing and evaluations has destroyed the entire educational process. However, I do believe Common Core has done damage at the elementary level. Children learn at different rates, and the way the standards were written for the primary grades does not leave room for the variations in students’ brain development. I appreciate your support!

  37. Sally Montague says:

    On the Internet, my husband and I saw a two digit subtraction common core math problem. Neither one of us could figure it out!! (Except the OLD way!!) Where in the world did they get all the extra numbers??????

  38. Teachersneedoursupport says:

    One of the problems that I think restricts teachers without many realizing it, is that they are represented by a Union. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-Union – if it wasn’t for Unions we would still have children working in factories. Furthermore many of the benefits that ALL people have today have been hard won by Unions, and yet people with a right leaning in politics, would never admit that!

    Teacher’s are one of the most professional groups of people on the planet. Good teachers work tirelessly for the benefit of the kids in their charge. I defend teachers all the time whenever I hear people criticizing them wrongly.

    The problem with such a fantastically professional group like teachers being represented by a Union means that they are already not trusted and sometimes despised by any right leaning group. That means that many of the great things teachers do will never be acknowledged because of political bigotry alone. The right simply hates Unions. Hence you get that unintelligent accusation by the unknowing in society that teachers are lefties.

    Teachers would be far better served if they were a professional body like those that represent Doctors, Lawyers etc. The benefit is that it would make them seem less aligned, and, professional bodies tend to expel under performing members, whereas Unions tend to defend both the good and bad teacher alike.

    It is a shame that the right wing aligned amongst us, only sees bad in Unions, when, many are working under conditions that without Unions, simply wouldn’t exist.

    The fact that teachers usually fight for the benefit of children, means that being represented by their own professional body they would be less likely to be pigeon-holed wrongly. Just a thought.

  39. Lindsay Walker says:

    Someone commented that we are behind Asian countries and Europe…. This is a commonly held belief which is only true if you don’t know the whole story. Most Asian countries separate out their special ed kids and those kids don’t go to the same schools as everyone else or take the same standardized tests. The test scores from the Asian countries do not factor in low IQ/low achieving students. In the US, special ed student’s scores are averaged in with everyone elses. We are not on a level playing field with Asian countries. Why is this never discussed? We will always be behind Asian countries. They do not do “inclusion”. Not even close.

  40. Marsha says:

    They should cut pay on sports players and give more pay to the teacher who help the players get where they are. It should be in the contracts to give back to the schools and teachers. So many schools are closing and the class rooms are over filled with kids. They don’t get the one on one with the teacher thet they need…

    The kids didn’t fail, we failed them!

  41. Justaparent says:

    I am not a teacher. I am just a parent of a 15 year old who is a freshman in high school. My child, like most students, lacks the motivation to be successful just as you described. She had a desire at one time to go to college and today she tells me “I’m just trying to get by”. It’s a daily struggle for her to accomplish what is asked of her. There isn’t anytime for teachers to talk to students or spend additional time with them if they are struggling because the curriculum is fast paced and if they can’t keep up then that’s their problem cause there is a deadline that has to be met and teachers have to squeeze in all this information before the next standardized test. My child feels hopeless and feels there is nothing she can do or anyone she can turn to for help. I feel helpless as a parent because I can’t help with homework because what I learned 25 years ago apparently is the WRONG way regardless of whether or not the answer is RIGHT it’s not correct because it wasn’t done they way they were TOLD to do it. I feel helpless as a parent because my child believes that her teachers do not care. We as adults who grew up and learned in a completely different education system understand that the problem lies with government control and has nothing to do with the teacher. However, my child believes the teacher is the problem. How can she believe otherwise? She doesn’t know anything different. She doesn’t know that teachers truly do care about students and their education. She doesnt know that teachers themselves are bullied and micro-managed by the education system and that teachers also feel like they don’t have anyone to turn to or to help them. A student only knows that the teacher in that classroom is the one responsible for their education and they believe the teacher has failed them.
    You can bet I shared your letter with my daughter because I don’t know how else to get her to understand that teachers truly have their best interest but are stone walled by an education system that controls and limits what they can do in the classroom.
    God bless you for being a teacher and for taking a stand. When you stand up for teachers…you are standing up for our children. Not all hope is lost as long as teachers and parents alike stand up against the bullies behind common core and standardized testing.

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences and for your support! This breaks my heart. I hope your daughter took some comfort in my letter. You are right: Parents and teachers need to stand together to fight what is happening. I am confident that we can make a difference.

  42. Jamie says:

    Good for you Pauline. I wish more teachers would take a stand like you and teach our youth/fellow leaders leaders of our tomorrows how to behave, take contracture criticism and to learn that violence is not the right answer for everything. We are all equals and race, standardized testing, free speech for blacks and whites is the right thing. All students need advocates and unfortunately, they are not getting that at home or at school. Most teachers are there to do their job and get the heck out of there. I think alot of them have become scared due to the recent up rise of violence. Very sad, but I am very proud of you. The world needs more teachers like you. Thank you.

  43. GRANDMA K says:

    I SAY AMEN ALSO I WORKED IN EDUCATION FOR 15 YEARS. I HAVE 3 GRANDCHILDREN IN SCHOOL.. MY OLDEST 13 IS JUST FINISHING GEOMETERY AS AN 8TH GRADER BUT WHEN SHE GOES TO HIGH SCHOOL SHE STARTS 9TH GRADE COMMON CORE INSTEAD OF ALGEBRA 2 TRIG. MY FIRST GRADER HAS COMPLETED ALL THE 3RD GRADE READING AND WAS TOLD SHE COULDNT GIVE HER 4TH GRADE SIGHT WORDS OR READING BECAUSE THE TEACHER WOULD GET IN TROUBLE AND MY GRANDSON HATES SCHOOL NOW BECAUSE THE TEACHER CANT CONTROL THE CLASSROOM AND EVERYONE HAS TO WORK AT THE SAME PACE, HE WAS AN ACHIEVER AND IS SO BORED. MY 1ST GRADER IS ALREADY DOING MULPIPLICATION AND DIVISION WITH ME BECAUSE SHE LOVES TO LEARN.. MAYBE ALL STUDENTS SHOWLD BE HOME SCHOOLED AND JUST BE COMPUTER ROBOTS.

  44. Eric says:

    As teachers, do we not test? I got frustrated with the height of NCLB, and it has gotten even more frustrating if you have been through a PARCC test. I’m an Algebra teacher. I have seen critical thinking decrease by students learning to beat the NCLB test because are excellent multiple choice test takers. Because of this, there are positives about new test. Unfortunately, many confuse a poorly thought out test in some cases with the standards. A timed test that requires 5th grades to type a response to a math problem is not a Common Core Standards issue, it’s a poorly thought out test. I haven’t researched much of the Smarter Balanced test, but have read a few good things about.

    How does one fix poor schools or school districts that are not fixing the the issues own their own? Why is there an ACT and a SAT that people spend many of dollars preparing for each year? Lastly, which standard is poorly written, and how should it read as a better written standard? The higher voices opposed to the standards serm to be conservatives. The last question is the most important for me as a conservative. I have not seen evidence of one of my fellow conservatives state how any particular standard should be changed.

    There are definitely issues with the system, but I can’t say that the standards are the problem. I’m also open to recognize a better standard. Based on your book, I inferred that you do not like the standards. I do understand the accreditation process and system is disparaging, but that is something totally different that a standard that gives the baseline for what we should accomplish.

    • Eric says:

      Holding up my right hand…..I did proof read, but that’s what you get using a smart phone. I apologize for the mistakes.

    • Eric,
      Thank you for your comments and questions. I will do my best to answer/address the points you bring up.
      1) I am not opposed to testing. Tests are how we determine if a student understands the material or not, what we need to reteach, and if we need to improve our teaching in certain areas or not. A good assessment will do all of those things. I have created many assessments over the years that have done that and thrown away the assessments that don’t. Regardless of the positive changes in the questions and format of PARCC, Smarter Balanced, or other state standardized tests, those assessments do none of the things I listed. We have no way of knowing what students understood or not on those tests because we cannot see the questions or students’ answers. For the same reasons, I would have no idea what I needed to reteach or what areas I would need to improve upon in my teaching. Along the same lines, an assessment that teachers cannot evaluate for its validity is not a good assessment. I have a feeling if I were able to evaluate these assessments, I would throw away many of them for being “gotcha” questions or poorly written questions and answers. For that reason, I cannot support assessments that add no value to education (for teachers or students) and that use up time, money, and resources that should be used for students’ edification.
      2) The other issue with the assessments is that those flawed tests are going to be used to evaluate teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom. The ridiculousness of that fact should be obvious.
      3) I am not opposed to Common Core Standards as much as I am opposed to the way they were implemented, used for these new state tests, and then used to evaluate teachers. I discussed this in a two-part post last year. The new legislation around Common Core created a “perfect storm.” Here is the link to the first post: http://paulinehawkins.com/2014/04/28/part-1-a-brief-history-on-nclb-and-common-core/ Make sure you read Part 2 and click on the links. I created a chart for one small part of the high-school English standards that demonstrates the problems with them.
      4) How do we fix poor schools? I have a few ideas, which you can read about here: http://paulinehawkins.com/category/educationreformation/ However, there is no easy fix. Multiple things have to happen at the same time to truly effect change: increase requirements for teaching degrees, increase pay for teachers, decrease class size, create school equity regardless of location, and get rid of high-stakes tests to mention a few.
      5) ACT and SAT are not great determiners of college readiness. Many colleges don’t even require them anymore, but they are not tied to teacher performance. They evaluate a student, which means students have more buy-in for those tests than they do for state tests.
      6) The title of my book plays on the topic of Common Core, but the book is about the important things that students need in order to be successful in school and all of life–things that the Common Core Standards don’t address.

      My goals in everything that I have written on my blog (my resignation letter included) and my book are to help our children and to bring dignity back to the teaching profession. We are creating a lost generation, and I can’t sit back and do nothing to help them; our children are not commodities. Teachers are professionals who should be trusted and respected; we have dedicated our lives to the education and nurturing of our students. How can our country move forward when the two most important elements of our future are being undermined?

      • Eric says:

        Thanks for the response, and the honest “play on common core” response. Your passion seems evident in what you write. You don’t have to post this response – maybe I should just email. I did read through the links and will look at more of your discussions. I like to see intelligent discussion about the issues. I can only offer a suggestion in your quest is to not use a play on common core to accomplish you goals. Try to keep the standards separate from the rhetoric that surrounds them. Both may need help, but the system and standards are so different. I could live with the standards. It is also a great stretch to blame NCLB for the apathy you and I have seen in our classrooms that are so far apart. I believe it is more of a generation issue as we have raised our children differently than our parents, and our children will raise their children differently also having both good and bad results. Of course to be fair, the knowledge of the world is doubling so fast now with technology has a great deal to do with the difference in raising a child.

        We are on the same page on the implementation, and book publishing companies should be ashamed in many cases. Good state DOEs would have put in the time to unpack the standards to ensure the teachers could use time more wisely. Mine (MS) basically just used the standards as is, and my bet would be that is what most did. I know there’s the whole copyright thing, but then that doesn’t prohibit state leaders from doing some unpacking. Couple good things is some of our districts have instructional coaches that focus on the unpacking, and my state is done with PARCC after this year. They are wanting to create their own standards also. It seems that it’s just to take the common core name off like either NJ or NY did.

        I’m going to tough it out in the classroom (unless a higher paying job comes along) as anyone whose been in our profession knows change is always around the corner.

      • Eric says:

        Grrrr, now I’m reading more and more of your site. I always tell my students that love to read that I wish I was like them. So, this old Algebra teacher will continue to read your work as the more I read, the more I want to read.

      • Thank you, Eric :) I am honored that you are enjoying my writing.

  45. Lynn says:

    Thank you Pauline for sharing a well worded, tasteful letter. I will be sharing it with others. I have friends who are wonderful teachers, that quit often say ” I wish I could just teach”…More power to you!
    It is nice to see a post like this that has such a powerful message done without nasty, hateful words.
    Sorry to see students lose a caring teacher. But, perhaps in the long run, you will help make things change for the better.

  46. Renzo Giraldo says:

    I am a first year teacher like brand new to the system and its been a challenging one. I teach PreK special needs (the inclusion program) and I look at my students faces and I cry on the inside knowing the hardships my students will face next year. Between Prek and kindergarten there’s a HUGE gap now and me personally I fee that it’s my duty to fill that gap as much as possible so instead of doing fun creative projects I give the students worksheets to practice handwriting skills and I already practice phoneme deletion and substitution with my students to at least get them somewhat prepared. I studied early childhood education and I feel that everything learned just flew out the window. I became a teacher because of the teachers I had and the impact they had on me. Honestly if the system stays the way it is or if it gets worse I will study another profession and move on to a happy stress free life but I will continue to be an advocate for my students. I just hope and pray that these standardized tests do not trickle down to the Prek setting. I love my students and that’s all I can give them – my heart.

    • Thank you for your comments and sharing your experiences. Let them have fun and be creative. They learn to love school that way. They are too young for anything else. Your heart is telling you that’s what they need. You should follow it :)

  47. hisheets says:

    Excellent letter, and I thank you for expressing the thoughts in the minds and hearts of so many teachers. I had a superintendent who stated at the beginning of NCLB – many years ago – that it was a step in forcing the end of public education. I now believe she was absolutely right. Many in the government want to reduce public schools to failures in order to turn them into “for profit” businesses. I’m retiring this year after 43 years. Luckily, the last years have been spent in teaching gifted students in an environment where we can focus on learning and not testing. The bright spot for the past few years has been a new organization in our community called “Game On for Kansas Schools” that was created by parents and organizes to communicate with other parents and school patrons through social media. This has been a morale booster for teachers as the state has continued to attack public schools and teachers mercilessly. (http://gameonforkansasschools.com/)
    Their followers on Facebook are now over 6,000 and rising, and they are working hard to fact-find and let the community know the real stories in education. But the message is usually falling on deaf ears in the legislature.

  48. Kelly lowe says:

    I am a parent of a 9 year old. he was in special education for reading, first grade. IEP in place, no homework ever sent home, wouldn’t allow me in the classroom to see technique to follow up at home. Bullied at school (nothing bad but escalating), no return communication from classroom teacher or special education teacher after letters and emails sent. When took all my concerns to principal she suggested I home school. You bet sister!! Then at the end of the year they sent home an incomplete report card home. After seeing superintendant I finally got a complete report card at the end of summer. Now I know how frustrated my little boy felt all year. We now go to a Christian school where he is reading, thriving and enjoying relationships with teachers as well as students. Not expensive, (first year paid by a donation from ch u rch member). $500 next year FOR THE WHOLE YEAR! YES I drive him, it’s 22 miles one way and I’d carry him horseback if I had to and NO COMMON CORE WORRIES. Find a job somewhere like that. It can be done. Be proud of what you teach and teach children by their strengths. –so happy mama

  49. Lawrence Strouts says:

    I have retired after a most satisfying 40 years in the public schools of KANSAS. Every word of your resignation letter is accurate and true. My advice to young people is “Do not become a teacher!”
    And definitely “Do not become a teacher in KANSAS!”

  50. Catrinna Shupe says:

    Has anyone heard of “Race to Nowhere” or “End the Race”? Look it up on the internet. I am a Mom to four and currently passing out Opt-Out of Testing Notices to all our surrounding grade schools. As a nurse and a Mom I have seen the effects of stress placed on CHILDREN in kindergarten. A one-time survey of 17-20 children should not determine anything! There are too many surrounding context, circumstance, and environmental factors surrounding a child to make any decision on one given day. They are children! Can I remind everyone that we live in America! We have freedoms! As a parent you have the right to make the decision for the education of your child.

    The standard tests do set our kids up to fail, because most of the information being taught to them is not age appropriate and not even on their reading level. You can graduate high school with an Associate’s Degree and it is my hypothesis that they have moved high school information to middle school and middle school level work into elementary school. Elementary school should be a child’s foundation for good reading and math skills, and let’s not forget FUN! They are children! They should not have to be learning that there are two deserts in China! Who knew? Not me. Not until my daughter had a three page study guide on China in the third grade at age 8.

    Relieve your child of the stress of a standardized tests. They will get a “zero” on their file, but it only means that they did not take the test, not pass or fail. The school division will also get a “zero” for that child, but if you put a 1 in front of a bunch of zero’s I bet that will get someone’s attention. At least that’s what I’m shooting for!

    Most people ask me why I don’t just home school my kids and I am quick to respond that I am not A TEACHER. I am a nurse. I might can save your life, but I know, as well as a bunch that has already responded that a teacher helps create your life!

    BE AN AMERICAN or someone who enjoys living in America and use your freedoms. Make a stand for our children and our teachers. Let’s fight back and say NO we are not going to take this anymore.Join the “Race to Nowhere” and “End the Race” team and start taking an active part in your community to get things changed, or you can just start participating in the PTO and start a movement in your local area.

    “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”–Alice Walker. Anyone who cares about a child should use their power to make a stand for their education and be respectful of the professionals that we are entrusting them too.

    My grammar may not be correct. I was famous for run-on sentences and not using my punctuation, but as one responder stated it’s passion and heart that can make all other things better.

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