As public schools around the country grapple with the implementation of the Common Core standards, classroom teachers are feeling the pressure of “teaching to the test” rather than teaching students according to their developmental level.

An experienced Florida teacher with a doctoral degree in special education resigned after telling the Polk County school board “I just cannot justify making students cry anymore.”

Today I resigned from the school district. I would like to share with you what I gave them. Feel free to share it if it...

Posted by Wendy Bradshaw on Friday, October 23, 2015

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Dr. Wendy Bradshaw’s letter of resignation was posted to her Facebook wall and went viral almost immediately.

Bradshaw, a mother and special education teacher, said the school board put standardized tests over the needs of school children.

She said she has often seen frustrated students burst into tears as they “attempt tasks well out of their zone of proximal development.” The veteran educator added that many students act out in an effort to be seen as the “bad kid” instead of the “stupid kid.”

“It is not the children who are disordered,” she continued. “The disorder is in the system which requires them to attempt curriculum and demonstrate behaviors far beyond what is appropriate for their age.”

Reaction to Bradshaw’s post has been overwhelmingly supportive and comes from parents who share her concern.

“They’re from parents who say, ‘I see it every day — my kindergartner hates school,'” she said.

Common Core is the national educational system promoted by the federal Department of Education as a way to make sure students throughout America receive the same education in grades K through 12.

The scheme has been adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia, but it has been drawn sharp criticism from the teachers who are charged with putting it into practice in the classroom and parents who are unhappy with the impact it has had on their children in everything from “test stress” to developing negative attitudes toward school.

Classroom instruction time is structured by the federal program and teacher promotion, tenure and pay are tied to adherence to the guidelines. Teachers who take additional time to teach a skill or cover a unit do so at their own risk.

Dr. Bradshaw wrote eloquently about the emotional and developmental costs to the students in forcing Common Core standards into the classroom.

“I consider it baffling that telling parents the truth about the harm being done to their children in the public education system is considered an ethical violation of my teaching license, but making their children cry and hate school is not.”

 She also wrote that she would be willing to return to teaching, but only if changes were made.



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