One Teacher's Resignation Letter From The Liberal System

Discussion in 'Politics' started by pspr, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. pspr


    Mr. Casey Barduhn, Superintendent
    Westhill Central School District
    400 Walberta Park Road
    Syracuse, New York 13219

    Dear Mr. Barduhn and Board of Education Members:

    It is with the deepest regret that I must retire at the close of this school year, ending my more than twenty-seven years of service at Westhill on June 30, under the provisions of the 2012-15 contract. I assume that I will be eligible for any local or state incentives that may be offered prior to my date of actual retirement and I trust that I may return to the high school at some point as a substitute teacher.

    As with Lincoln and Springfield, I have grown from a young to an old man here; my brother died while we were both employed here; my daughter was educated here, and I have been touched by and hope that I have touched hundreds of lives in my time here. I know that I have been fortunate to work with a small core of some of the finest students and educators on the planet.

    I came to teaching forty years ago this month and have been lucky enough to work at a small liberal arts college, a major university and this superior secondary school. To me, history has been so very much more than a mere job, it has truly been my life, always driving my travel, guiding all of my reading and even dictating my television and movie viewing. Rarely have I engaged in any of these activities without an eye to my classroom and what I might employ in a lesson, a lecture or a presentation. With regard to my profession, I have truly attempted to live John Dewey’s famous quotation (now likely cliché with me, I’ve used it so very often) that “Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.” This type of total immersion is what I have always referred to as teaching “heavy,” working hard, spending time, researching, attending to details and never feeling satisfied that I knew enough on any topic. I now find that this approach to my profession is not only devalued, but denigrated and perhaps, in some quarters despised. STEM rules the day and “data driven” education seeks only conformity, standardization, testing and a zombie-like adherence to the shallow and generic Common Core, along with a lockstep of oversimplified so-called Essential Learnings. Creativity, academic freedom, teacher autonomy, experimentation and innovation are being stifled in a misguided effort to fix what is not broken in our system of public education and particularly not at Westhill.

    A long train of failures has brought us to this unfortunate pass. In their pursuit of Federal tax dollars, our legislators have failed us by selling children out to private industries such as Pearson Education. The New York State United Teachers union has let down its membership by failing to mount a much more effective and vigorous campaign against this same costly and dangerous debacle. Finally, it is with sad reluctance that I say our own administration has been both uncommunicative and unresponsive to the concerns and needs of our staff and students by establishing testing and evaluation systems that are Byzantine at best and at worst, draconian. This situation has been exacerbated by other actions of the administration, in either refusing to call open forum meetings to discuss these pressing issues, or by so constraining the time limits of such meetings that little more than a conveying of information could take place. This lack of leadership at every level has only served to produce confusion, a loss of confidence and a dramatic and rapid decaying of morale. The repercussions of these ill-conceived policies will be telling and shall resound to the detriment of education for years to come. The analogy that this process is like building the airplane while we are flying would strike terror in the heart of anyone should it be applied to an actual airplane flight, a medical procedure, or even a home repair.

    Why should it be acceptable in our careers and in the education of our children?

    My profession is being demeaned by a pervasive atmosphere of distrust, dictating that teachers cannot be permitted to develop and administer their own quizzes and tests (now titled as generic “assessments”) or grade their own students’ examinations. The development of plans, choice of lessons and the materials to be employed are increasingly expected to be common to all teachers in a given subject. This approach not only strangles creativity, it smothers the development of critical thinking in our students and assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality more appropriate to the assembly line than to the classroom. Teacher planning time has also now been so greatly eroded by a constant need to “prove up” our worth to the tyranny of APPR (through the submission of plans, materials and “artifacts” from our teaching) that there is little time for us to carefully critique student work, engage in informal intellectual discussions with our students and colleagues, or conduct research and seek personal improvement through independent study. We have become increasingly evaluation and not knowledge driven. Process has become our most important product, to twist a phrase from corporate America, which seems doubly appropriate to this case.

    After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists. I feel as though I have played some game halfway through its fourth quarter, a timeout has been called, my teammates’ hands have all been tied, the goal posts moved, all previously scored points and honors expunged and all of the rules altered.

    For the last decade or so, I have had two signs hanging above the blackboard at the front of my classroom, they read, “Words Matter” and “Ideas Matter”. While I still believe these simple statements to be true,

    I don’t feel that those currently driving public education have any inkling of what they mean.

    Sincerely and with regret,

    Gerald J. ContiSocial Studies Department Leader
    Cc: Doreen Bronchetti, Lee Roscoe
  2. The Federal Govt buys it's way into everything and it's entirely unconstitutional. If people really want to have the life they want, they have to just pay their taxes and think of it as putting a big chunk of your income on a bonfire. Then they have to pay again for educating their kids the right way, with a belief in God, with phonics for reading, with the stress of having to perform and all that goes with accomplishing something. They have to be vigilant to keep the government out of their lives all the while they are trying to have the life they really want.
  3. I know this sounds petty but I got an e mail from the school, my daughter has to pay $4.50 for a "review" book. There ar 2 other classes she has to buy books also, one I think is $12.50 the other I forget what for or how much.

    I'd like to suggest they put the material for review in the regular text book I already pay for with my tax dollars but...I don't want to tip over the apple cart.

    Btw. this is a top notch school district they are far from broke.


    Which brings me to another point regarding security. For years and I mean years you do not get 5 feet in that school without notice. 3 people at the front desk "lobby". A monitor in every hall way, if the hallway has doors, behind those doors is another monitor.
  4. pspr


    When I was a kid we had to buy stuff like protractors, rulers, crayons, X number of pencils, pens, notebooks, a little rug to take a nap on, a little black flute, the Weekly Reader, etc., etc.
  5. We had to buy all that as well just a few years ago. They couldn't penalize us for it if we didn't pay, but if not enough students paid then we basically had to do busy work out of our books for a few classes instead of whatever they wanted to use the money for. I think there was like a $10 fee in one of my history classes. I have no clue what it went for, I didn't do anything at all in there that involved additional cash. But then again only a few of us paid.

    My senior year I took a cooking class to fill a block and only a few of us paid the $10 all we cooked was biscuits because we couldn't afford anything else haha. You would think the teacher would have been allotted a certain amount of money to spend on groceries and stuff, but it was just on the amount of money paid at the beginning of the semester and the teacher paid out of pocket some as well.
  6. pspr


    LOL I see what your problem was - nobody paid the fees.

    We ALWAYS paid our fees. Even the poor kids paid up. I don't know what would have happened if we didn't pay the fee for something required. Probably the sheriff would show up and have a talk with our parents. :D
  7. This just reminded me. Next year my daughter has to subscribe to the NY Times....:D

    I went over with her on how to read the paper properly. I picked a few articles.... this article here FOS (full of shit) so on and so forth. They also have to read the huffington post...

    Stay tuned next year when I have her sign up for elite trader. all the good news is here.....:cool: :D :eek: :D

    Global warming...pfffttttt.

    "Green" anything...pffftttttt.

    Obama........lip are moving ,,,,,, pffftttttt......"liar"

    Uhmnnn. what else does FC post about? Pffftttttt.........

    Oh yea , Ricter , ppfffftttttt.

    Who'd I leave out?.............trials and tribulations of Trayvon....
  8. pspr


    I wouldn't want anyone to read the lyin' NYT. Subscribe her to the Dallas Morning News instead so she'll get a conservative view point.

    And, don't ever tell her about this cesspool called the ET P&R. No decent person should ever enter these doors.
  9. Haha I always paid the fee, but the majority of the class simply would not. The whole area was a small rural community with very low income though so that could have been part of it.

    I remember several "talks" from the principal telling the classes they needed to pay, but most of the time nobody would unless it was an honors or AP class.
  10. When I was at Mississippi State Univ, they always had huge stacks of Wall Street Journals that were free for anyone who wanted one. But some of the classes you still had to subscribe to the online service I believe. That is college though not high school lol.
    #10     Apr 10, 2013