Susan Slutyer has 25 years of teaching experience with young children and more than two decades in the Cambridge, Mass. public school district.
Last month, she sent a resignation letter to school officials detailing the disconnect between what a child needs to learn and grow and how curriculum is dictated by mandates.
“I have watched as my job requirements swung away from a focus on the children, their individual learning styles, emotional needs, and their individual families, interests and strengths to a focus on testing, assessing, and scoring young children, thereby ramping up the academic demands and pressures on them,” she wrote.
The letter—written with “deep love and a broken heart”—hit home with parents and educators across the country. The Washington Post recently published the entire letter and additional thoughts from the former teacher.
“When I first began teaching more than 25 years ago, hands-on exploration, investigation, joy and love of learning characterized the early childhood classroom,” she shared with The Post. “I’d describe our current period as a time of testing, data collection, competition and punishment. One would be hard put these days to find joy present in classrooms.”
Slutyer says she saw problems start years ago with No Child Left Behind. From there, things have only worsened.
“The overall effect of these federal and state sponsored programs is the corrosion of teacher moral, the demeaning of teacher authority, a move away from collaborating with teachers, and the creation of an overwhelming and developmentally inappropriate burden imposed on our children.”
Do you think this teacher’s comments and resignation are justified? Are you a teacher, parent or student who has faced similar frustrations? Or do you have an alternate perspective to offer? Please share with us in the comments!