Warning Connecticut – They are coming for your school and your democratic rights!

Reblogged from Wait What? by Jon Pelto. Please read and contact your legislators here in CT. Please email your testimony by 8 am tomorrow…… This is a stealth attack on our children.

WARNING Connecticut – They are coming for your schools and your democratic rights!

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A Breaking News Alert from Jonathan Pelto and Wendy Lecker

When it comes to public education in Connecticut, a new piece of legislation before the Connecticut General Assembly (H.B. 5551) would be the most far-reaching power grab in state history – a direct attack local control of schools, our democracy and Connecticut’s students, parents, teachers, local school officials and public school.

The legislation, would enable Malloy’s political appointees on the State Board of Education to takeover individual schools in a district, remove the control of the elected board of education, “suspend laws” and eliminate the role of school governance councils which are the parent’s voice in school “turnaround plans.

The bill is nothing short of an authoritarian maneuver by grossly expanding the Commissioner of Education’s powers under the Commissioner’s Network.  The bill destroy the fundamental role local control because it allows the state to indefinitely take over schools and even entire districts, without a vote of local voters.

The bill removes any time limit on Commissioner’s Network Schools. It removes the cap on how many Commissioner’s Network schools can be taken over by the state.  It removes the right of the local community to appoint their own turnaround committee.  It eliminates the requirement that local parents, through their school governance council are included in the process.

This plan contravenes all the evidence on state takeovers.

State takeovers of schools and districts have been an abject failure across the country.

In Newark and Paterson, New Jersey, where state takeover has been in effect for years, the districts are plagued by fiscal crises, lack of improvement in student outcomes and charges of mismanagement.

A recent report issued by the Center for Popular Democracy found that state takeovers in New Orleans, Michigan’s Education Achievement Authority, and Tennessee’s Achievement School District, have all been plagued by mismanagement, instability and high turnover and hiring of inexperienced teachers, and virtually no student improvement. https://populardemocracy.org/sites/default/files/National%20Takeover%20Ed%20Report.pdf

In fact, even the federal government has found that states do not have the expertise to successfully turn around low-performing schools.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/most-states-lacked-expertise-to-improve-worst-schools/2015/05/05/0eb82b98-f35f-11e4-bcc4-e8141e5eb0c9_story.html

Connecticut’s track record on taking over schools is anything but stellar. In fact, one of the first Commissioner’s Network school, handed over to Jumoke/FUSE failed miserably under the supposed watchful eye of the Commissioner and State Board of Education.  The charter network admitted it was “winging it,” hiring ex-convicts, mismanaging funds and allowing student test scores to drop precipitously.  Even the current principal, Karen Lott, admitted that the takeover was a failure, with only 13% of Milner’s students scoring proficient in Language Arts and a shocking 7% in Math.  Lott declared that what the school needed was experienced staff, additional resources and community support, particularly wrap-around social services. http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Failure-as-a-model-for-Connecticut-6267220.php.

None of these inputs require state takeover. In fact takeovers have been characterized by hiring inexperienced teachers, and disenfranchising the local community.

Where would such an un-American, anti-democracy and anti-local control idea come from?

This bill is virtually a carbon copy of ConnCAN’s proposal for the Commissioner’s Network schools. http://webiva-downton.s3.amazonaws.com/696/7c/c/2766/255496644-ConnCAN-Turnaround-Report.pdf  ConnCAN cherry picked and misrepresented certain “case studies” and, as per usual, passed it off as “research.”

For an example of ConnCAN’s misrepresentation of its case studies, read the truth about Lawrence Massachusetts here. http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-The-collateral-damage-of-a-district-6295743.php

ConnCAN not only wrote a proposal shockingly identical to this bill , the charter lobby also sponsored a “forum” for legislators in 2015 where it invited Ms. Lott of the failed Milner school and others, such as the deputy superintendent of Lawrence to speak to legislators.

However the true examples of following  ConnCAN’s prescription can be found in places like Detroit, where the emergency manager left under a cloud and Detroit’s schools are on the brink of collapse, and in Tennessee where the superintendent, Chris Barbic, resigned, admitting turnaround was  “much harder”  than he thought.

Why would ConnCAN, the charter lobby, push this proposal?

Because state takeovers have been characterized by conversion of public schools into charter schools; schools unaccountable to elected boards, with little duty to report on its finances, yet who receive millions in public funds. Charters also tend to exclude a district’s neediest children, without any accountability for these practices.

This is the second recent example of the Malloy administration ceding governmental tasks to ConnCAN.  As was reported Friday, the Malloy administration allowed ConnCAN to choose at least one candidate for State Board of Education. (link)

Now, ConnCAN is writing legislation to determine the fate of our poorest schools.  ConnCAN is a lobby for charter schools.  The world outside Hartford recognizes ConnCAN as charlatan organization. It has received the Bunkum Award for shoddy research from the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado.

It is beyond troubling that our education policy is being set by this lobbying front group.

Without any evidence that destroying local control will help students (in fact with most evidence pointing the other way) why would we cede more power to the Commissioner?

Why do we think people who live and work in poor communities do not know what their children and schools need?  As longtime teacher, professor and writer Mike Rose has written,

“We have a long-standing shameful tendency in America to attribute all sorts of pathologies to the poor… We seem willing to accept remedies for the poor that we are not willing to accept for anyone else.”

Our neighbors in our poorest communities know what their children need.  Their teachers and principals and all the dedicated staff in their schools know, too.  In fact, since early February they have been testifying, along with real national experts, in front of Judge Moukawsher in the CCJEF case about what their schools need to improve: smaller classes, more teachers, social workers, prek, wraparound services for kids and families, adequate facilities and more.

As Milner’s principal stated, struggling schools need money, a stable staff and community support. State takeover will not accomplish these goals.

What will?

Providing schools the supports Ms. Lott mentions; supports that have been proven to improve schools. https://populardemocracy.org/sites/default/files/Community-Schools-Layout_e.pdf

How do we provide these resources?

Several recent longitudinal studies prove that school finance reform where states substantially increase funding for struggling schools raises achievement. http://eml.berkeley.edu/~jrothst/workingpapers/LRS_schoolfinance_feb2016.pdf; http://www.nber.org/papers/w20847.

The legislature can truly impact student performance by settling the CCJEF case and enacting real finance reform to fund Connecticut schools adequately.

What the legislature should NOT do is replicate failure. And that is what Raised Bill 5551 will do.

Governor Malloy and his administration are apparently doing the biding of ConnCAN and the rest of the charter industry.

It is the legislature’s duty to act on behalf of the children in this state on behalf of taxpayers, and on behalf of democracy.

Connecticut needs elected officials with integrity and clarity of vision to once and for all, to examine the evidence and protect the interests, not of high-priced lobbyists, but of those children most in need of protection.

For more about how ConnCAN, the charter school industry and the corporate education reformers are corrupting Connecticut politics and policy read – Malloy turns to charter school industry for names to appoint to the CT State Board of Education

The General Assembly’s Education Committee will be holding a public hearing on this outrageous proposed law on Monday, March 7, 2016 starting at 11am in the Legislative Office Building

House Bill 5551:

Testimony can be submitted online via edtestimony@cga.ct.gov

Citizens can also contact the leadership of the Education Committee;

Senate Chair Democrat Gayle Slossberg – http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/Slossberg-mailform.php

House Chair Democrat Andrew Fleischmann – Andrew.Fleischmann@cga.ct.gov

Senate Ranking Member Republican Toni Boucher – Toni.Boucher@cga.ct.gov

House Ranking Member Republican Gail Laveielle – gail.lavielle@housegop.ct.gov

Education Committee

Legislative Office Building, Room 3100

Hartford, CT 06106

(860) 240‑0420

To find contact information for your legislators go to: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp

save-our-schools

Tribute to the Warriors

This is a tribute poem for a great warrior in the fight to save our children – Dr. James Avington Miller Jr. – and to all his radio show listeners and Facebook followers. Today is the second anniversary of his show entitled The War Report on Public Education.

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Dark, deceitful, dreadful
The war continues.

Hidden from the public
Children succumb to oblivion.

Masses are found naked
In the valley of corporate reform.

Masses of children
Stripped of their humanity.

Masses of teachers
Rendered voiceless and faceless.

Masses of parents
Left with no option but to escape the dark night
And cover their children with a blanket of compassion
That heals hearts, minds, and little bodies.

And in all the darkness
In the dreadful abandon of humane concern
In the deceit and lies that spew from media and our elected officials

There is a light

There is a voice

There is hope.

Only love can chase away the hate.
Only the light of truth can fight off the darkness.

That little voice is in each one of us
That little voice and that tiny ray of light
Can fight off the usurpers of our future hope.

So today – on the second anniversary of
The War Report on Public Education –
I encourage all of us to keep on fighting the war
To keep on telling the truth
To keep on exposing the lies that warp our understanding

Because

We will find each other one day
And we will unite together
And parents, teachers, professors, politicians, community leaders, pastors, shop owners, even the media will unite

And together we shall bring down
The evil Machiavellian Agenda
And we will win
The war against public education.

My Criteria for a Model School by Mark Naison

1. Children are loved and walk around the school with smiles on their faces.
2. Teachers are respected and stay in their jobs for a long time.
3. Parents are welcome in the school and are made to feel an integral part of the culture of the school.
4. The culture and history of the community the school is located is honored in displays and in what is taught in classes.
5. Arts, physical education, recess and sports are NEVER sacrificed for higher test scores.
6. ELL and Special Needs students are treated with respect and are given the counseling and special attention they need to thrive.
7. Students have such a positive experience at the school that they return on a regular basis after they have graduated.

If you think that these features are only found in private schools or schools in affluent middle schools, you need to visit the CASA Middle School in the Bronx where Jamaal Bowman is the principal.

This is not only something that CAN be done in all communities, it is something that MUST be done so that ALL our children can grow up with confidence in their abilities.

And Poetic Justice would add to the list the following:
8. All children will be encouraged to find and use their voices in academic subjects and particularly in creative writing and POETRY classes.

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“Be Careful Brethren” – A Message About Education from Martin Luther King Jr.

The Purpose of Education,” written by Martin Luther King, Jr., was first published in the February 1947 edition of the Morehouse College Student Newspaper. King was 18 Years Old.

The Purpose of Education

Morehouse College, 1948


As I engage in the so-called “bull sessions” around and about the school, I too often find that most college men have a misconception of the purpose of education. Most of the “brethren” think that education should equip them with the proper instruments of exploitation so that they can forever trample over the masses. Still others think that education should furnish them with noble ends rather than means to an end.

It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the ligitimate goals of his life.

Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose. A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths. To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.

The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.

The late Eugene Talmadge, in my opinion, possessed one of the better minds of Georgia, or even America. Moreover, he wore the Phi Beta Kappa key. By all measuring rods, Mr. Talmadge could think critically and intensively; yet he contends that I am an inferior being. Are those the types of men we call educated?

We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living.

If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, “brethren!” Be careful, teachers!

Be Careful Brethren – these words are truer today than they were in 1948.

educatoin

The Truth About Flint, Water, and Oppression – from LaMar Lemmons

Poetic Justice stands with the people of Flint, Michigan as they fight for the most basic of human rights – the right to water.

Poetic Justice also stands with the teachers, parents, and students of Detroit, Michigan as they fight for the right to an equitable and humane education.

Please read this letter from LeMar Lemmons.

“End State Oppression:

Rachel Maddow showed the world the sad truth many of us have known for a long time: Snyder is oblivious to the life of ordinary Michigan citizens. He is a cardboard cut out politician. For him, doing a good job is reading what his speech writer wrote correctly.

This tragedy is real. And it is happening to people I care about. Snyder’s agenda is clearly prepared by the donors to the NERD fund. Each day he asks himself, ” I am meeting my donor’s objectives?” The idea that human beings needed water, never occurred to him. The idea of safety never occured to Earley when he told Sue McCormick, “thanks but no thanks”. They had a plan and they were sticking to it.

As far as Governor Snyder is concerned, if the water is poisoned, just get water from somewhere else. Where is up to you. In his free market mindset, the choice of where you shop for water, is yours. It’s all supply side economics. So, shop wherever you like.
If you like Perrier, buy Perrier. He has read his speech to us, now it is time for he and his appointees to get back to the agenda of creating a better climate for his donors. He just wants this stuff off his desk! He just wants us off his desk. They don’t care about Flint. They don’t care about kids. Do you think he has met with me – a Detroiter, former State Representative and now a DPS Board member with 197 family members in the Detroit schools, even once? FYI: No, he has not!

A Little Background on Flint: Flint resident, Lee Ann Walters’ children tested high for lead poisoning. She called the EPA and Miguel Del Toral – one of the top water scientists in the world, tested her home and was shocked! Concerned for her well being, as a courtesy, he gave her a copy of his draft report showing that there was lead in her water, although her pipes were primarily plastic.

He knew that the source of the lead was not from her home. He recommended Flint water be treated.

Del Toral argued with MDEQ calling and writing back and forth. Patrick Cook, and Stephen Busch, MDEQ employees decided since Flint was hooking up to KWA in a year, there was no need to treat the corrosive water Flint residents were drinking. Lee Ann Walters gave the report to Curt Guyette, who made a phone call to Natasha Henderson, an appointee of Darnell Earley.

Rather than handling the safety of citizens herself, Henderson, who earns $140,000 plus $8,000 a month for expenses, passed the ball to Mayor Dayne Walling. Walling had asked for help from Washington DC, but he had neither the gumption nor courage to articulate concerns to the residents drinking the water. He kept looking to MDEQ for help. Why? Because they were calling the shots.

The Flint water emails, obtained by FOIA, show Brad Wurfel, the MDEQ Spokesman,was the one gathering facts from MDEQ so that he could refute the claims of Guyette. Wurfel called EPA employee Del Toral, a “rogue” EPA employee! Stephen Busch assured Wurfel in writing, that new MDEQ numbers would not justify Guyettte’s alarm. How did Busch know the outcome of the testing?

WMDEQ ALTERED the documents. Blamed the switch on Detroit and people with old houses. Rather than having 99 samples, they threw out the 30 samples showing high lead content to show just 69 samples of the best results. And they did this right around the time of a meeting with the Governor.

That is not the first time the administration made up their own science. Andy Dillon ordered a test to determine whether Flint should switch from Detroit. The engineering firm advised that it was a bad idea. It wasn’t what Dillon wanted to hear, presto chango, they throw out the report. Now refresh your memory of Earley’s lies, now caught on camera. Blaming Detroit, blaming Walling, blame the victim.

I can tell you working with Earley now, as a DPS Board Member it is HIS WAY OR THE HIGHWAY style management. He won’t even allow us to change the paper in the copy machine at the Fisher Building, let alone change a source of drinking water.

This is called oppression. Oppression is the exercise of power in a burdensome, unjust manner. In order to destabilize the DWSD, they needed to disconnect Detroit from it’s biggest customer permanently. Earley even sold a pipe that connected the two. It should be noted, Flint’s current city manager, Natasha Henderson, was hired by Earley AFTER she destabilized Muskegon Heights Water, and as a result Muskegon Heights lost their biggest customer, Norton Shores. Norton Shores purchased 70% of Muskegon Heights water. So what is this about?

Is this about Earley and Snyder are nice guys who just want to help? No. Later for that BS! Snyder’s administration makes up their own science on an as needed basis, alters documents, discredits anyone who stands in the way, removes from power and replaces anyone who is not with the agenda. Destabilizes public institutions so that they have to be privatized to survive. And they lie. Does any of this sound familiar?

I hope it does. Because sitting here as a Detroit School Board member with no power, watching Darnell Earley run our district into the ground, I weep.

Pastor Bobby Jackson in Flint has been distributing water to all who can’t afford $300 per month to buy drinking water from the grocer. These are the families Snyder is blind to. Bobby Jones ran out.

The next day, a Detroit teacher and I drove in the rain to Flint and we formed an assembly line to help distribute water. A grandmother tells me that she doesn’t drink the poisoned water, she just washes her greens in it. She says thank you and squeezes my hand. I am humbled.

She could be anyone’s grandmother. So many people said, “Thank you,” as I handed over my jug. I realized then how desperately they needed the water. Now we learn 10 people have died from Legionnaires disease!

An astounding 87 people have gotten sick. I have 197 children in my family attending Detroit Public Schools who are cold in their classrooms and I have friends and family in Flint. Snyder can’t relate, but for me, this is personal.

Snyder has now asked that Flint be declared a National Emergency.

Help us God.

LaMar Lemmons
Detroit Board of Education”

Please support the oppressed in Michigan. Read about what is going on. Help in any way you can. Justice must prevail and good must conquer this evil.

As LeMar Lemmons pleads in his letter – “Help us God.”

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High Stakes Testing and the Black Community: Just Say NO!

Please watch and share this video of Jamaal Bowman, principal of CASA Middle School in the Bronx, talking about the deleterious effects of testing on our children. Opting Out of high stakes testing and testing tied to teacher evaluations is a decision parents can and should be making for their children. As Principal Bowman explains in this video – let us work together to OPT IN to teaching and learning that will benefit the whole child and instill a lifelong love of education.

Here is the narrative from an interview by Your Black Education:

“Standardized tests? Principal Jamaal Bowman says ‘Know your rights’. President Obama recently spoke out against excessive standardized testing. The POTUS claimed that this issue, “takes the joy out of teaching and learning, both for them (teachers) and for the students”. Long before Obama’s declaration, Jamaal Bowman, Founding Principal of CASA (Cornerstone Academy for Social Action) in Bronx, NY, has been advocate for student and parent rights and the movement to opt out of standardized tests to promote more holistic approaches to assessment of student learning. Bowman speaks with YBE about the impact of standardized tests on Black and Brown students and offers his advice to their parents.”

Here is the video:

Please Sign This UOO Petition

Poetic Justice supports United Opt Out and their petition drive to stop the Senate from passing the very flawed ESEA law. Here is what United Opt Out has written in their petition to the US Senate.

“Since 2002 when No Child Left Behind became law, students, parents, and teachers have been subjected to a national education policy written to benefit the education testing industry and politicians out to privatize public education in America. As a result, schools have been turned into testing factories and thousands of low-scoring public schools that serve the poorest students have been closed and replaced by corporate charter schools that, on average, perform no better than the underfunded schools they replace. Those charters with high test scores most often exclude low-scoring and problem students, while subjecting their students to punishing discipline systems that middle class parents would never allow for their own children.

Next week the U. S. Senate will vote on a rewrite of No Child Left Behind that greatly expands the “No Excuses” charter school system that has gone from a few hundred to almost 7,000 schools during the past decade. If the new legislation becomes law, annual high stakes standardized testing in grades 3-12 will continue unabated, and the expansion of publicly funded and intensely segregated reform charter schools will intensify without the benefit of public oversight.

By signing the petition, you can let the U. S. Senate know to say NO to an ESEA reauthorization plan that, if passed, will set education policy back by over 50 years.

We can do better, and Congress must take the time to hear from parents, students, and teachers, whose voices have been silenced by organizations pretending to represent their interests.

Please join me in saying NO to moving backwards and YES to moving forward toward humane, inclusive, and high quality public schools for all children. Please sign the petition and send this urgent message to Washington.”

Please click on this link and sign this very important petition. Tell the Senate that we say NO to a vision of 21st Century teaching and learning that treats our children like test scores and our teachers as automatons. ‪#‎DoNoHarm‬ ‪#‎ESEA‬

PETITION

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The Fear Factor – & its antidote

The Fear Factor
is so real —-

it is like teachers are suffering from anxiety, PTSD, Battered Wife Syndrome, and Stockholm Syndrome all at the same time.

 

And … we can trust no one … not our unions, not our bosses, not our district, not our politicians, not even our friends – our friends do not get it – our families do not get it.
so …. we take meds …. we drink … we use drugs … we are sick  – and we are dying.

The only antidote is unconditional love for our students.

unconditional-love-oscar-wilde-quote

 

7 Questions Poetic Justice Would Like Teachers to Answer

JAqslOJTElueb-3C4yChyvnWGAo1. Why would we test kids instead of teach kids?
2. Why would we allow the freedom to teach to be stripped from the teacher?
3. Why would we allow a system that stifles creativity, humanity, curiosity, and imagination in our charges to continue?
4. Why would we discourage healthy relationships in our schools? Between students and teachers? Between teachers and teachers? Between teachers and administrators?
5. How do we kill the current educational regime and rebuild our teachers, students, and schools?
6. How can teachers, parents, and administrators remain sane if the status quo remains entrenched in our thoughts and in our schools?
7. By not resisting, are we part of the insanity?

These questions continue to plague me.

#DoNoHarm
#ResistanceMatters
#LetLoveLeadtheWAY

“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.