The end of the school year tends to cause me to reflect on where I have been and where I am going. This year it seems to be more about where my fellow public school educators are going. I have been to several weekend educational events recently and chatting with friends and colleagues from across the country. Many are leaving public education or considering it. Some are retiring early, others moving to private education or a career change. These are good educators some of the best I know. They just can’t do it anymore. It is a matter of conscience and belief. One of my friends put it this way “A doctor’s creed is to do no harm, well this focus on testing, numbers and data is causing harm, I just won’t do it anymore.” The next day they sent in their letter of resignation, and this summer will begin a new career outside of education. I feel like I am in Atlas Shrugged watching teachers go John Galt while others are leaning more toward Dagny Taggart trying to changes things from within.
My reader the last few weeks contained such posts as Chris Lehmann’s Why Divide Your Thanks, Mr President?, Bill Ferriter’s Why I NEVER Recommend Teaching as a Profession and Michael Soskil’s Teacher Frustration – We are Losing Great Teachers. Ryan Bretag’s post Sentencing my Son or turning My Back resonates deeply with me as a parent. Though my children are now 18 and 15 it has been a struggle and taken a conscience effort to (dare I say) combat the schools’ influence and encourage them to pursue their passions: to learn, create and collaborate outside of school.
My twitter feed is no better. There is the growing Opt out Movement* and the New York Principal’s paper regarding testing and the new evaluation plans. The frustration, the anger, the despair is palpable. Some say it is a good sign that we are on the tipping point. Tipping point of what? If the good teachers keep leaving how much harder will it be for those of us who remain? Where are we headed?
Please share your thoughts and comments.
*For a different take on opt out