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Veteran teacher resigns over testing frustrations

Veteran Teacher Resigns Over Testing Frustrations

Susan Sluyter is a Massachusetts teacher who planned to work until retirement. Instead, she's decided to resign after teaching for more than 25 years, and her reasons might surprise you. The "Today" show explains.

'A Boston area teacher frustrated by what she says is too much emphasis on test scores and testing.''

Sluyter was a Pre-K and Kindergarten teacher in the Cambridge Public School District. She sent her resignation letter to The Washington Post. In the letter, Sluyter says this is a "disturbing era."

'I have seen my career transformed into a job that no longer fits my understanding of how children learn and what a teacher ought to do in the classroom.'

Not only that, but Sluyter says the emphasis on testing changes the feeling in the classroom.

'It takes the joy out of learning for the children and it takes the joy out of teaching.'

Sluyter tells The Washington Post she believes the "data fascinations" began with the No Child Left Behind Act. Education Week explains the reasoning behind the act.

'At the core of the No Child Left Behind Act were a number of measures designed to drive broad gains in student achievement and to hold states and schools more accountable for student progress.'

This accountability involves testing, which Sluyter believes limits the teachers.

'So many things that pulled me away from the classroom, and fractured my time with the children.'

Sluyter was emotional when she read her statement to the "Today" show, explaining she didn't feel she was the only one leaving.

'[I]feel now, that my job left me.'

Sluyter's school's superintendent, Jeffrey Young, tells the "Today" show, "In time we will find the right way to achieve that balance between strong academic instruction and high quality learning."

Join the discussion

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nucleansolutions March 27 2014 at 6:28 AM

common core blahhh

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ashatus March 27 2014 at 7:09 AM

This is what happens when lawmakers get involved in things thely know little about. Politics trumps everythin in this day and age. Politics trumps science, pollitics trumps economics, politics trumps common sense.

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Jennifer March 27 2014 at 7:13 AM

I totally agree as I too have retired early due to the testing and paperwork that promotes a system of judgement and alienation. No longer can we teach to the children, we must post things on the wall the students can't even read so that the administration can show the district we are in compliance with their directives. Our test scores have not improved and our students are not receiving the individual care every child deserves.

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2 replies
James M. Adams Jennifer March 27 2014 at 7:18 AM

Why can't the kids read what's on the wall?

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1 reply
Denise James M. Adams March 27 2014 at 7:28 AM

The testing starts much too soon for many to even understand the words.

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donrahilly Jennifer March 27 2014 at 7:20 AM

If your test scores in the school did not improve then it's time to replace teachers with people that know how to get through to these kids.

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Lynn March 27 2014 at 6:26 AM

Teaching has changed, from changed textbooks whose content does not reflect the truth, parents who resent their child being disciplined, reams and reams of paperwork, and the focus off of the basics. Every year there is a new 'method', and many times that method has already been proven useless by another county or school system, but the federal government dollars come with the system, and that is the holy grail, federal government dollars. Bring education back to the local schools and take the federal government out of it. Their agenda is never in line with education, rather politics.

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bryce statham March 27 2014 at 6:14 AM

I totally agree...my children went to a public school and so must was based ob passing fact tests ..not truly learning. My kids are all now in a Catholic high school that values learning not test taking.
Our county is quickly becoming the lowest education system in the word -,we need to go back to basics!!

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1 reply
Lynn bryce statham March 27 2014 at 6:28 AM

You can thank the federal government who ties dollars to 'obedience' to the latest scheme to achieve politcal dominance.

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1 reply
motorprops Lynn March 27 2014 at 6:32 AM

Brought to you by the Bush brothers

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Greg March 27 2014 at 7:18 AM

My wife will retire at the end of the school year as well. Even though I feel "Common Core" has merit, the implementation and premature testing has frustrated students, parents, teachers and administrators. More people with actual classroom experience should have been consulted before implementing this program.

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1 reply
carpro33 Greg March 27 2014 at 8:31 AM

Can you blame so many for not trusting anything the bureaucrats have their nasty little fingers in? Like Obamacare?? (Just wait, its full impact has yet to be felt. All you idiots who voted for Big Ears and think Obamacare is utopia will be crying BIG tears).

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thothsellshomes March 27 2014 at 6:28 AM

They should stop almost ALL testing of of young children ... it has little to do with learning.

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1 reply
James M. Adams thothsellshomes March 27 2014 at 6:42 AM

Exactly. Kids responses should not be called "answers" they should be called "impressions".

3 x 5 = 15 only if you stick with the rigid and unfair (to the stupid kids) "answer" system. But to a dumb kid, his "impression" might be that 3 x 5 = 18, or 7, or crocodile. As long as he or she gives a reasonable backing for their impression, they should earn a passing grade.

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Sylvia Lang March 27 2014 at 6:09 AM

"In time we will find the right way to achieve that balance . . " in the meantime, children will continue to suffer as seasoned teachers leave the classroom and testing companies rub their hands together for the profits to stream in.

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mmssmmmcmh March 27 2014 at 6:03 AM

My thoughts echo what this teacher is going through. My classroom has changed so much. I use to love teaching. The testing and the pressure for test scores has destroyed the environment of my classroom. Teaching is no longer about what is best for the kids. It is about data. I believe in accountability, but it has gone beyond that. It has taken the joy out of learning for my 5th grade students and has caused me to turn into a teacher/person that I don't even recognize. I need to give it one more year and leave with 28 years of teaching. I love my kids. They are my joy. It's just sad... very sad.

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1 reply
dp356 mmssmmmcmh March 27 2014 at 6:32 AM

Well said. This is my 21st year of teaching and what has happened to education is so sad. These are children we are talking about, not little robots to perform so the testing companies can rake in millions. I love my job and the students I teach. I hope those making these decisions for education open their eyes and put the students first. These children are our future.

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danadlt March 27 2014 at 6:22 AM

Read 'The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America'... I quit for the same reason. This is all on purpose...

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