“Today I resigned from the school board.” From Teacher Wendy Bradshaw PhD

Teacher Wendy Bradshaw PhD from Florida handed in her resignation letter today. Her letter speaks the unspoken words of thousands of professional educators across the country. Her letter is the cry of what is in the hearts of teachers who, also, can no longer harm the children.

Please share her words so just maybe, we can once again have schools that love and tenderly care for the well-being of our most precious gifts – our children and grandchildren. #DoNoHarm

“Today I resigned from the school board. I would like to share with you what I gave them. Feel free to share it if it strikes you as important.

To: The School Board of Polk County, Florida

I love teaching. I love seeing my students’ eyes light up when they grasp a new concept and their bodies straighten with pride and satisfaction when they persevere and accomplish a personal goal. I love watching them practice being good citizens by working with their peers to puzzle out problems, negotiate roles, and share their experiences and understandings of the world. I wanted nothing more than to serve the students of this county, my home, by teaching students and preparing new teachers to teach students well. To this end, I obtained my undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees in the field of education. I spent countless hours after school and on weekends poring over research so that I would know and be able to implement the most appropriate and effective methods with my students and encourage their learning and positive attitudes towards learning. I spent countless hours in my classroom conferencing with families and other teachers, reviewing data I collected, and reflecting on my practice so that I could design and differentiate instruction that would best meet the needs of my students each year. I not only love teaching, I am excellent at it, even by the flawed metrics used up until this point. Every evaluation I received rated me as highly effective.

Like many other teachers across the nation, I have become more and more disturbed by the misguided reforms taking place which are robbing my students of a developmentally appropriate education. Developmentally appropriate practice is the bedrock upon which early childhood education best practices are based, and has decades of empirical support behind it. However, the new reforms not only disregard this research, they are actively forcing teachers to engage in practices which are not only ineffective but actively harmful to child development and the learning process. I am absolutely willing to back up these statements with literature from the research base, but I doubt it will be asked for. However, I must be honest. This letter is also deeply personal. I just cannot justify making students cry anymore. They cry with frustration as they are asked to attempt tasks well out of their zone of proximal development. They cry as their hands shake trying to use an antiquated computer mouse on a ten year old desktop computer which they have little experience with, as the computer lab is always closed for testing. Their shoulders slump with defeat as they are put in front of poorly written tests that they cannot read, but must attempt. Their eyes fill with tears as they hunt for letters they have only recently learned so that they can type in responses with little hands which are too small to span the keyboard.

The children don’t only cry. Some misbehave so that they will be the ‘bad kid’ not the ‘stupid kid’, or because their little bodies just can’t sit quietly anymore, or because they don’t know the social rules of school and there is no time to teach them. My master’s degree work focused on behavior disorders, so I can say with confidence that it is not the children who are disordered. The disorder is in the system which requires them to attempt curriculum and demonstrate behaviors far beyond what is appropriate for their age. The disorder is in the system which bars teachers from differentiating instruction meaningfully, which threatens disciplinary action if they decide their students need a five minute break from a difficult concept, or to extend a lesson which is exceptionally engaging. The disorder is in a system which has decided that students and teachers must be regimented to the minute and punished if they deviate. The disorder is in the system which values the scores on wildly inappropriate assessments more than teaching students in a meaningful and research based manner.

On June 8, 2015 my life changed when I gave birth to my daughter. I remember cradling her in the hospital bed on our first night together and thinking, “In five years you will be in kindergarten and will go to school with me.” That thought should have brought me joy, but instead it brought dread. I will not subject my child to this disordered system, and I can no longer in good conscience be a part of it myself. Please accept my resignation from Polk County Public Schools.

Best,
Wendy Bradshaw, Ph.D.”

do no harm
Letter printed with permission from the author.

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34 thoughts on ““Today I resigned from the school board.” From Teacher Wendy Bradshaw PhD

  1. The more I learn about the corporate education reform movement and their legalized crimes against children, teachers and parents, the more I think it is time for the second American Revolution and instead of dumping tea in Boston Harbor to protest, Americans across the country must burn the Common Core and all the high stakes tests linked to that autocratic monster.

    I don’t see any difference between King George in the 18th century and Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Walton family, the Koch brothers, and all the other autocratic billionaires who are funding the autocratic corporate education reform agenda to destroy the people’s community based, democratic, non-profit public schools.

    If the autocrats do not stop and stop soon, then We the People must act like the Founding Fathers of the United States did.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You should check out my blog. I have a list of Common Core backers, and even, on other pages, backers of Amnesty, Planned Parenthood, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the gay agenda, the Iran Deal, Export-Import, the TPP, Sharpton’s backers, Obummercare backers, H1B Visas issuers, the ACLU, the environmental agenda, CAIR, the gun grabbers, outsourcing, Net Neutrality, the bad stuff on TV, etc.

      After my huge research, I really feel that, not only can i not (not that they are hiring anyway with all of them Visas out there) go into the IT industry with a clean conscience, I cannot go work for MANY large companies anymore and have decided to be a children’s author and a political blogger/writer instead. Indeed, I actually enjoy my new field and don’t regret the change. (Plus, now I can use my IT skills for OUR side rather than the enemy.)

      The evil network behind Big Environmentalism, Big Abortion, Big Gay, Big Business, Big Labor, Big Media, Big Academia, and Big Government is just so sickening. Not even George Orwell could come up with something so diabolical.

      (Though, by going into writing, I certainly do have plenty of subject matter to base villains off of.)

      Also, if you want to look at the list, be forewarned, if you happen to be working at one of those companies, you may feel so disgusted that you would no longer feel right working there. Knowledge is power but it can also be a curse.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are conflating Common Core and over-testing. Small wonder, when many educators do the same. They are two separate things.

      Dr. Bradshaw was criticizing over-testing (which is abusive and counter-productive ), not C.C., which is not perfect, but has a lot of positives.

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      • I am not CONFUSING anything. The Common Core Crap and the High Stakes Tests linked to the CCC that deliberately sets an artificial line in the sand that fails children, ranks teachers, fires teachers and closes public schools are all part of the same agenda.

        The Common Core Crap was not created by teachers.

        The Common Core Crap was created by the testing industry and the tests were part of a tool that was designed to destroy the public schools.

        If the CCC national standards had been legitimate they would have NEVER been created in secret where the few people involved had to sign confidentiality agreements to be part of the process.

        If the CCC had been legitimate, Bill Gates would not have had to spend hundreds of millions of dollars greasing the skids to get most of the states to sign on before the CCC was even written, because to be legitimated this CCC would have been part of an open, transparent process where representatives from all the stakeholders were involved.

        Instead, CCC was wrapped in secrecy and were copyrighted with dire warnings if any of the material was released before they were written and even after the first few years after being written, most of the population in the United States had never even heard of them or the rank and yank and close rules that this duel tool was created for—-to destroy the community based, democratic public schools.

        The Common Core Crap was funded by Bill Gates and created in secret without input and without testing this hastily tossed together crap in the schools first to see if they worked and iron out any kinks.

        For instance, California’s legislature through an open democratic process passed its own state standards in 1999 and then spent more than a decade developing them, testing them, and that process included all the stakeholders—parents, teachers, children, etc—-in an open, transparent process without any money from Bill Gates directing it. I know because I was still in the classroom until 2005 and I attended meetings where we talked about the state’s standards. Eventually, the state printed the standards for English and math but the teachers decided what standards they would focus on. We met by departments and used the results from the previous year to discover where we were week and then focused on curriculum in a cooperative process that would plug those gaps the test results reveled.

        The Common Core Crap and its partner in crime the high stakes tests do not even attempt to do that. The test results are locked in a vault and kept secret. Teachers, parents and children have no idea what their strengths or weaknesses are.

        In California, teachers were not ranked and fired although schools that did not improve could be taken over by the state and Compton Unified was taken over eventually, but the state could do no better than the original elected school board and its administrators and Compton is a tough community with a high level of poverty and street gang violence and the state appointed superintend resigned after one or two attempts on his life after he played the role of a ruthless dictator riding roughs over teachers, children and parents. The next state appointment dictator resigned too because he also ended up fearing for his life. The people of Compton resented the fact that the state took over their community based, democratic schools.

        I’m still waiting for Newark in New Jersey to follow in the shoes of Compton and react in open rebellion as some of the people in Compton did back in the early part of the 21st century.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Common core requirements are INSANELY developmentally inappropriate for early childhood (through age 8). The early reading expectations can actually cause brain damage in children whose brains have not developed enough to read yet. Reading, like walking and talking, is a developmental skill that can’t happen until a child’s brain and body are ready. Kids won’t learn to read sooner just because you have “high expectations” and “highly qualified teachers.”

        The saddest thing about our educational system right now is that it looks at normal children and calls them failures, and calls good teachers failures, because someone somewhere decided that all kids have to enter kindergarten knowing all their letters and numbers, colors and shapes. That they have to leave kindergarten reading at a certain level. That they have to attain these reading benchmarks on an arbitrary timeline with no regard for normal brain development that doesn’t match curriculum-mandated deadlines.

        Kindergarteners should not be expected to “reason abstractly” (a common core benchmark). They should not be expected to enter kindergarten knowing the difference between opinion and informative writing (another CC expectation). Children’s brains are not developed enough at those ages to perform those skills, and all the “expectations” and “qualifications” in the world won’t change that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael Corliss..There are ..NO positives in any of CC. dr. James Milgram , Michelle Malkin, Peg Luk, Charlotte Iserbyt and Dr. Duke Pesta are just a handful of many professionals EXPOSING CC.confuse our children with a math that makes no sense at all and then tell our children holders that their parents aren’ t smart enough to help them and then say only teachers know so trust only in teachers is turning our kids against us. COMMON CORE has NOTHING positive in any of it!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Bill ,your reply is not entirely true. States took TARP bail out money (Race To The Top) and would keep getting it if they signed up for the testing that goes with Common Core. Now, states are black-mailed into keeping Common Core or they lose Washington DC money. With Common Core has come the goofy curriculum designed to prepare for the Pearson tests. The grades K – 3 standards and curriculum are clearly age inappropriate. The Common Core math is complete trash. They waste students’ time memorizing Common Core terminology that does not exist in real world math. The only entities that benefit from Common Core are the testing companies, IT companies because they have to install WiFi access points in all the schools to connect the Google Chromebooks for all the test prep…. and on and on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mr. Lockhart, I have no idea where you get your information. Teachers now have almost no say over what is taught or how it is taught or when it is taught anymore. No one I know has taught by rote memorization in years. Every year we are given new, untested programs and are expected to teach them instantly regardless of how poorly they are constructed, how complex they are, how much background is lacking. I teach first. The math program expects me to have my 5/6 years doing algebra and 2 step word problems when they have not yet mastered either addition, subtraction or READING the word problems. When we questioned how we are expected to teach this inappropriate material, we were told “It’s the STANDARDS!” Almost half my class failed the first test because there were so many concepts introduced in a single unit without a single skill being mastered. How can you say, “We finally have a way to at least determine if our schools are performing properly in the teaching of the most basic of skills” when 3rd graders are being tested with 5th grade reading passages? We are no longer testing or teaching basic skills, and they are not being given the developmental time to master them. It’s push, push, push till they shut down completely. They didn’t get to learn in developmentally appropriate ways like learning through play because of the academic demands that all K should be able to exit reading and should sit still for 45 minutes, and we are seeing more and more behavior problems because we have robbed them of the joys of learning. Would you consider your child a failure if he/she didn’t walk by 11 months, talk by 15 months, lose teeth by 5? Children learn skills and develop at different times and rates from birth on. Stop labeling teachers AND students as failures for biological differences. Let teachers have input. Let teachers teach with creativity, and bring joy back to the classroom.

    Liked by 2 people

    • rote memorization was gone before I started teaching in 1975. Instead, the focus was problem solving, critical thinking and writing across the curriculum because writing also improves literary skills.

      Bill Lockhart doesn’t know what he is taking about when he says, “The problem they’re trying to solve is the large number of students who graduate with 12 years of free public education, but who can’t read, write, or do basic math.”

      Back in the 1980s, California instituted competency tests where students in high school could not graduate unless they passed all those tests to prove that they read at a minimum competency level of at least 9th grade in math and reading.

      That is one of the reasons why the national on-time high school graduation rate in the United States was stuck in the 70% range for decades and only reaches 90% by age 25 for those students who did not graduate from high school on time but refused to give up. It just took them longer to meet the requirements of high school graduation and high school graduation was never meant to reach college ready but a minimum competency of at least 9th grade in California. But in Texas under Governor G. W. Bush, that competency level was set by his administration at 4th grade level so Bush could brag about the jump in high school graduation rates during his first run for president.

      Each state sets its own minimum competencies or doesn’t. The teachers and the school are powerless when it comes to what state legislatures and governors mandate as education legislation.

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  4. Pingback: Today I resigned from being a teacher. | stopcommoncorenys

  5. This is in conference with the House …. when it passes and is signed … the total Federal take-over of our local public schools will be codified into Federal Law. I bet you thought this was unConstitutional — both US and States’ Constitutions — right? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~http://edlibertywatch.org/2015/10/for-immediate-release-national-coalition-opposes-no-child-left-behind-rewrite-conference-bill/

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  6. I quit teaching because the principal and superintendent were morons but acted like bullies. I was getting paid so little that when I quit teaching high school math I doubled my income by selling ice cream and frozen foods with Schwan’s Sales enterprises. Everyone who has been to college knows that the least academic folks end up as teachers. I ended with degrees in math, statistics and vocational education training and development. I am a licensed engineer on ships now retired. Education department in colleges is the easiest curriculum you can get. There is no comparison in difficulty to engineering school. Engineering is impossible for education students.

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  7. The sad thing is that Ms Bradshaw will no longer be on the board. I agree with everything that she says, but do not agree that abandoning the board of education is the thing to do. That’s why I ran for, and won, a seat on my local board of education. Mumbling curses to myself every time I hear of another abuse of learning committed in the name of corporate profitability does nothing to slow the growth of the education industry. And in the face of this growth, we need people who are going to stand up to the corporations and tell them that we will NOT recommend their endless flow of tests in lieu of real education. Running from the board is much less of an answer than running for the board. Explaining a “no” vote on a new curriculum item to other board members results in a loss by a vote of 5-2. But it used to be 6-1. And if the explanation against the industry is spoken to other board members by each of the two, the next vote will be 3-4. We need to keep educators on the boards. We need to run and get elected, taking the decision making authority back from the business interests that believe they know better.

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  8. Pingback: Abusive Testing: Why One Teacher Resigned | Spears Strategy

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  10. Coming from a parent with the same observations of the public school system, I hope and pray that there are people like this teaching my children and fighting the fight that needs to happen to make our school systems better. If all the sane people quit, who will lead the revolution?

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  11. Close the Department of Education! Save a whopping 71.9 Billion Dollars per year! Return regulation, planning and supervision to our States where they closely reflect the desires and priorities of the community! Institute a Voucher system so that parents can choose where their children are educated and/or choose to home school! Church and Private Schools will flourish! The costs will be greatly reduced when we educate instead of Indoctrinate! By and large, our “dumbed down” educational system have NO COMPETITION! Their primary focus is INDOCTRINATION, NOT EDUCATION..

    In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.” Schools in America originally were established with the focus of Reading Writing And Arithmetic! Originally “Church Based” with the desire that Everyone could read the BIBLE! If the current educational FAILURE of the government were discontinued, a comprehensive voucher system giving parents the “choice” of where their children were educated and/or “homeschooled” and the cost per student were paid to the parent via a voucher, per child, we would see Homeschooling, Private and Church Schools flourish and our children’s educational training Excel! http://citizeninitiatives.org/School_Voucher_Amendment.htm

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