Friday, December 28, 2012

Rhode Island teacher, with sixteen years of experience, resigns while explaining what is wrong with education in America.

I don't often insist that people watch a video all the way through, but this time I will.

What this man says is VERY important, and needs to be heard by as many people as possible.


  1. That pretty much describes what is happening across the country.

    Now, think what would happen if the NRA had it's way. Along with everything else, teachers would be mandated to attend training and keep a gun in the classroom for protection.

    Is this really what we want?

    Already our education system can't compete with Finland, Germany, Japan, etc. And the amateur educrats in attempting to improve it are just making it worse.

    Teachers have no say.

    If attempts are made to force them to be trained and armed, watch a lot more quit. I know of NO teacher at my school that would agree to it from the principal to the custodian.

    Teachers are already in rebellion, as this teacher is, over standardized testing, rigid curriculum and teaching practices, class sizes, etc. If you add mandatory gun training and carrying they rebel in droves.

  2. Anonymous10:44 AM

    WHOA!!! I had to pick up my jaw off the floor a couple of times... :/

  3. angela10:52 AM

    And this is why after going to university to be a teacher----I chose not to become one. I could smell where we were heading twenty years ago.
    I'd like to say it would be braver for the gentleman to stay---but I really know what he'd be up against because most of my friends are teachers and about ninety percent of them are in psychic pain over where the educational system is heading or already lies. And if you get a "by the program" nazi curriculum drone---that is the end of everything.

    Very sad indeed.

  4. Sharon10:59 AM

    What a sad, sad wonders how many other teachers feel this way. 2nd grade is so important, a bedrock year for children to continue on with a good attitude for school in general. It is no wonder why charter and private schools are in such demand...which of course only the rich can afford. I can remember art, music, gym and so many other activites offered to me which I enjoyed. My daughters are in their 30's now, but they too enjoyed most of what I had. How did education get so low on everyone's priority list? This gentle man
    makes such good points about giving these children a chance to be sociable and ways to release energy....maybe it says alot about the teen problems today. Computers and texting leave face to face skills obsolete, I really feel for parents with young children today.

    1. Anonymous7:49 PM

      What this man relates is whats going on in the BETTER schools. I can't imagine what is going on in some of the southern states. The last year I worked (2006-2007) I started noticing that I could walk down all the halls of the Elementary School and not hear a single child laugh. School wasn't fun anymore. Teachers were fighting the same curriculum battles I had fought in the 1960s ie: lock step reading plans where you go on to the next lesson on the next day whether or not your students understood the last one. I saw Kindergarten teachers in tears because they couldn't do what they knew was best for our ESL students. This is what "No child left behind" has done to America's children. This is what budget cutting has done to America's children. This what teacher bashing has done to America's children. We require the teachers to have a MA, and then don't let them really teach their students.

      Elizabeth 44

  5. Anonymous11:38 AM

    The Republicans are to blame for this...against unions for an example. They are trying to deplete the system so that there isn't any for the poor. Only the rich will be able to attain an education is where we are headed.

    Are we going to be like Germany in the 30/40's? It's assuredly heading that way! Americans need to pay attention!

    Look at what the Republicans are doing in Congress right now - not wanting to fund food stamps - what fucking assholes!!! Many people are out of work - families are hurting - they are not eating and therefore the children cannot succeed and learn in the public school system.

    People better be paying attention when they go to the polls to vote next time. Republicans (especially in the U.S. Congress/House) need to be replaced. Boehner, the guy from Ky. w/no chin, Cantor and on and on. They need to be voted out of office on the state and local levels too. They are doing horrible things in negating voting and abortion rights (Republican controlled states) throughout the nation.

    If this continues, I think there will be a revolution - we are fast becoming a third-world nation. Uneducated (rank horribly nationally), medically (access to care is being depleted too by the Republicans - i.e. Medicaid). Plus, more and more Americans are becoming non christian - the ones professing to be such don't portray those teaching.

    Vote the Republicans out!!!!!

    1. BabyRaptor7:39 PM

      Hopefully that was sloppy wording, but if it wasn't...So what if more Americans aren't choosing to believe in Christianity?

      The Right personifies Christianity. It's nothing but hate and disregard for anyone but yourself. The less America buys into that, the better off we'll be. So, yes. Vote the Republicans out. Restore reason and sanity to the country.

    2. When will people like you notice that the Democrats stopped fighting long ago and the entire congress is bought?

  6. Anonymous11:39 AM

    The only positive aspect is what I would consider this teacher's small class size when compared to my experience.

    As a 3/4 year old, I would tell anyone who listened to me that I was going to be a Kindergarten teacher.

    In the end I opted for middle school.

    Ultimately, I decided to retire before traditional retirement age, as I did not want my disgust to rub off on my students.

    If I had been asked to lead a prayer or bring a gun to work, I would have been gone in a heartbeat.

    I was one of those dedicated ones who thought they would have to drag me out of the classroom. Alas, I dragged myself out.

  7. London Bridges11:57 AM

    A few days ago, Democracy Now repeated three interviews it has aired in the past with Dr. Gabor Mate, a Canadian doctor. Much wisdom. Very relevant to education and children.

    Watch or read the transcript.

  8. Anonymous12:03 PM

    I was crying when he spoke about the kids not getting to talk at lunch, no recess, no field trips, no class parties. It just makes me sick. Especially not being allowed to tutor the kids that needed help. On his OWN time too. Although I was surprised that he made 70k, that's more than I would have thought... Not that he doesn't deserve it.
    We (USA) are in trouble. Just the other night my husband was talking about maybe moving to Germany. He has relatives there who have a family business. Our son will start HS next year and we were thinking it might be a great opportunity for him too.

    1. Sadder still is those this resignation was aimed at, the educrates in his school district that are creating these policies, won't give a damn.

      All they'll care about is that now they can replace him with a cheaper, fresh out of college teacher, or even one of those Teach for America amateurs.

    2. Anita Winecooler9:38 PM

      Anonymous 12:03

      I had the same emotions as I listened to this man's words. We had a few exchange students in our home over the years and I was blown away at how seriously they took their education. The self-discipline and time management skills were over the top! They were shocked at how lax our schools were in comparison, but had good things to say about their experience in our public schools.

  9. Anonymous12:14 PM

    What a sad, sad commentary on education in America. As a teacher of 40 years, I totally agree with everything he said, and I am in a completely different state on the opposite coast.

  10. Anonymous12:16 PM

    If it weren't for the teacher's union in California, there wouldn't have been kindergarten or music and PE in elementary school. We gave up a pay raise in my district to have those last two subjects taught in elementary school.

    1. We've given up raises since 2007 and agreed to furlough days the last three to keep our class sizes low. Even so, the 4th and 5th grade classes are over 30.

      Today I heard that a longshoreman makes $100,000 a year. They're considered skilled construction workers. A teacher with a credential and a master's degree and over 20 years of experience only makes 70% of that.

      Really indicates the priorities in this country.

  11. Anonymous12:58 PM

    It isn't only public schools that are being destroyed. Here in Texas, our governor, has decided that the university's are not graduating enough students. His contention is if they pay the tuition, they should pass and graduate. Also, the tuition should be no more than $10,000 for all four years. He also feels that they are requiring too many credits to graduate, and it shouldn't take more than 4 years no matter what the degree program.
    He has cut the budgets of the colleges once again. University of Texas just laid off 70 tenure track professors due to budget cuts. Most of the colleges have at least 2/3 of their faculty on part time status - this means they do not earn enough to live indoors and eat in the same month. Most of them have other jobs - either corporate if they can find them or retail. For people who have invested 8 to 12 years in their college education - with the student loans that correspond - this is not an acceptable state of affairs. How do we plan to compete in the global tech race if our students do not have the opportunity to learn the necessary skills? How do we expect to get more science and math teachers when they get their masters or PhD and find there are no jobs? I understand that an uneducated populace is easier to control than an educated one, but we will soon be a third world nation if we do not keep up. We can not compete wage wise with China and Africa and if we can not compete brain wise with the Japanese, Germans etc, what do we have to offer as a country wide work force.

    1. Anonymous2:09 PM

      I hear the Texas school system is an absolute mess and I fear for my granddaughter because she is 13 and in their system.

      Look at Perry and what a fucking idiot the guy is - proven when he reared his ugly head for national office. Thank God, he didn't move further than he did. He became nothing more than a laughing stock for Republican governors as is that broad in AZ! Both are an embarrassment to the USA!

  12. Leland12:58 PM

    "All in all you're just a
    'nother brick in the wall."

    Pink Floyd, The Wall, 1974

    1. I find that rather offensive.

      That attitude and disrespect only contributes to the vitriol directed at teachers.

      It serves no useful purpose nor does it make a positive contribution to the current situation plaguing the education profession.

  13. Anonymous1:31 PM

    This is why parents spend big bucks on things like the Sylvan Learning Center, because the teachers hands are tied and the system is broken.

    I graduated in 1984 and school, while tedious, was very productive. There we two field trips per year, from 4th through 12th grade on a chartered tour bus to visit DC and museums and art galleries and attend performances at places like the Folger Theatre, Kennedy Center and Ford Theatre. We had a field trip for my band class to a National Symphony concert at the Kennedy Center where we got to meet the symphony members. This was public school, in a small Virginia town, our parents didn't have to spend much for us to participate in these field trips, it was part of our education and for those that couldn't afford it, other parents would pay and everyone got to attend.

    PE was a daily occurrence even in secondary school, and intramural sports were supported by the school and encouraged. We would meet in the gym for intramural volleyball each morning at 8am, coming to school an hour early to participate.

    Kids were segregated, beginning in middle school, and placed in classrooms based on level of achievement. We had levels 3-5 and depending on where you were placed you were taught according to your abilities. Some of us took the SAT for the first time in 9th grade and subsequently studied and re-took the exam each year until our Junior year. We were able to prepare for that all important score that would make or break our college aspirations.

    I had teachers throughout my educational experience that were instrumental in leading me to a lifetime of learning; instilling in me a desire to learn, and aside from the SAT prep, it wasn't about securing a berth in the best college and getting a high paying job, it was about the joy of learning, the joy of exploration and knowledge.

    I have trouble understanding how far the system has moved away from this model and how tied the teachers hands are and how frustrated they must be.

    1. It's interesting that a teaching certificate issued by the State of Virginia is good all over the USofA.

    2. Anonymous7:59 PM

      I don't believe that is the case. Every state has slightly different rules. Ex: OR/WA require Pacific NW History. Some states require a MA/MS. In AZ 10 years ago, you could get an emergency teaching certificate if you were 18 and had a High School diploma. Your college transcript is what they look at.

      Elizabeth 44

    3. My mom was a kindergarten teacher. She retired 30 years ago and I could see even then how things were going. Thus, I knew I could not be a teacher. My mother loved and understood small children. She taught in the inner city, in the days before ritalin. There was a boy named Reginald. He couldn't sit still very well. So she made a special rule for him, that when he couldn't sit still, he could get up and run a lap around the classroom! Then he had to go back to his seat. Naturally enough, a kid asked, Why is Reginald allowed to do that? And she simply, matter of factly, said that Reginald couldn't sit as long as the rest of the kids and so he needed to do that. And they accepted it.

  14. Anonymous6:23 PM

    Courtni Webb, San Francisco High School Senior, Suspended For Writing Poem About Sandy Hook Shooting

    A San Francisco high school senior is suspended because of a poem she wrote which dealt with the school shooting in Connecticut. What she wrote has left officials with a dilemma.

    It was a dark poem and in the wake of the Connecticut tragedy, it raised red flags and triggered a quick response by school officials. Now the student is facing the possibility of being expelled.

    "I understand the killings in Connecticut. I know why he pulled the trigger," said Courtni Webb, the suspended student.

    Those words in Webb's poem prompted school officials at the Life Learning Academy on Treasure Island to suspend the 17-year-old senior until further notice.

    "Why are we oppressed by a dysfunctional community of haters and blamers?" wrote Webb in the poem.

    Webb said, "The meaning of the poem is just talking about society and how I understand why things like that incident happened. So it's not like I'm agreeing with it, but that's how the school made it seem."

    She says she didn't turn in the poem as an assignment. Instead, the teacher discovered it in class and took it to the principal. But Webb says she's turned in dark poems about suicide and sadness in the past with no problem. It's a genre she likes.

  15. Anonymous6:30 PM

    Learned how to write by dipping a pen in an inkwell & blotting. Retired after about 37 years in a classroom teaching preschool thru all levels including subbing at UAA. Subjects - many. Locations include Chicago, Ft Riley, Kansas, Papago Indian Reservation, AZ,& 19 years at Central JH in Anchorage ending with many years of subbing from Anchorage thru Chugiak.
    Education needs a complete overhaul. With knowledge increasing exponentially our system of mass education is inadequate. What really NEEDS to be learned as BASIC needs to be restated & accomplished as soon as INDIVIDUALLY possible. Students meeting these standards will proceed to more complex learning in areas in which they show interest, talent & ability. Looking at real learning makes today's graduation requirements irrevelant, & most students realize this. By 6th or 7th grade ( of today's system ) individual students will be splintering away from mass basic instruction into their own direction. Methods of instruction will include classroom, computer, flexible scheduling, college classes, ETC. Those still needing basics will stay until they achieve what they can & need to learn. The basics & how to instill learning as a lifelong endeavor as well as the logistics will reshape education as we know it today. After having lived most of my life involved with students of all ages, parents, teachers & the system, I KNOW change is necessary but it will be hardfought against all but the students & a few more open minds who are not afraid of change. Dawn Mendias

  16. Anonymous8:11 PM

    I just posted my thoughts as an educator. Now, some thoughts as a political activist. Public education needs a revamp BUT it is necessary in a democracy. Vouchers, private schools & home schooling can be better or worse than public education as far as learning goes. But public education makes diversity successful in a country with as many cultures as we have here in the US. Kids, from early on, get to know & learn about getting along with those who are different or who have different beliefs. Those who choose to attend private schools, many of them religious, may well be taught only about ONE way. As adults, those who have been "brainwashed" may be unable or unwilling to accept anything or anyone that's different. The melting pot that is our country may cease to exist. The election of President Obama has shown that we still have a way to go on the acceptance issue. And the inability of Congress to compromise ( the Republicans mostly ) is just a hint of what could happen should public education fail or be killed. The efforts of Republicans to make public education fail or to defund it or to ignore science or thinking as a skill has a purpose or several. For a power-seeking Republican Party, DIVIDE & CONQUER is more possible without a public education where difference is "celebrated". For global corporations, an uneducated workforce is easier to control & cheaper to pay . For power-seeking politicians, an uneducated populace is easier to control. Uneducated listeners are easier to scare & misinform; Murdoch & Ailes & FOX, oh dear! I don't want to believe in black helicopter conspiracies but --- there are too many state & federal legislators offering bills, many thru ALEC, that are aiming to create dumb & dumber.
    Education is key to a civil, productive, compassionate & successful society. Education is key to our children's success. We've all got to put a little more effort, however we can, into educating our nation's kids. There's more but I'm done & don't want people thinking I'm way around the bend. Off to feed the dogs & cats.
    A retired, TIRED teacher.

  17. Anita Winecooler9:26 PM

    He updated this with what he's doing now on his you tube video - it's three minutes, and worth watching.

    He's teaching at a private Christian school - the teachers make less than five dollars an hour. Because he got a lot of comments about home schooling, he lays out the case FOR a strong and vibrant public school.

    Every time I see someone's spirit crushed like this fine man, it makes me wonder where our priorities are as a society. We reward the Mitt Romney's of the world, while we ruin the lives of our students by prioritizing the "business" of "getting good grades" at the expense of "real, meaningful learning".

    We really need to take a step back and address the state of our educational system. This man is right, kids go to school to learn a lot more than "test taking", they learn from being among peers from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. They learn empathy, manners, conflict resolution, effective communication and tons of things NOT on the Curriculum.
    I was and am an active participant in my children's education. Can't count how many Parent Teacher nights where the same handful of parents showed up, and I can't count how many post-grades Parent Teacher meetings that were standing room only because parents were "Outraged" and "will have your job" if "little johnny" fails your class.
    We're going to lose a lot more good educators if we don't make Education reform a priority in this county.


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