In 2000, when Florida Governor Jeb Bush assisted his brother, George Bush Jr, in stealing the Florida elections, I knew America was trouble. I’d probably feel pretty good saying “ I told ya so!” except its because of George Jr. that America has over 4,000 American soldiers ten feet under and another 32,000 plus permanently disabled for life. http://antiwar.com/casualties/
“Hecka of a job, Georgie”
Now, here we are sixteen years after an uneducated spoiled little rich kid from Kennebunk Port Maine decided to implement silly standardized testing inside our schools. Today we have ample evidence that not only is standardized testing not teaching our children basic fundamentals of English, but its robbing our children of one of the most basic fundamentals of all, a happy and healthy childhood.
I remember saying “well it sure looks like Georgie and the useless Dick Cheney’s of our World are trying to widen the gap between the rich and the poor, molding our kids into sheep instead of free thinkers.”
At least now I have a teacher from Polk County Florida who agrees with me.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) leaving kids behind
The Act requires states to develop assessments in basic skills. To receive federal school funding, states must give these assessments to all students at select grade levels. The Act does not assert a national achievement standard. Each individual state develops its own standards. NCLB expanded the federal role in public education through further emphasis on annual testing, annual academic progress, report cards, and teacher qualifications, as well as significant changes in funding.
As a result of NCLB, most schools cut American Civics, physical education, basic writing and public speaking classes. I remember while in constitutional law, my professor would always call on me because when he’d call on the younger generation of kids in the room most would say “ I don’t know.” This prompted my professor to say “ are you going to tell a judge you don’t know?” When he called on me, I always had an answer, because when its a subject I like, I am well prepared. Pretty normal
What my con law professor saw in me is what my parents instilled in me to do always, have an opinion and take a stand for a greater cause regardless of the cost to one’s self. This World isn’t just about me or you.
The three most important classes that help shape America’s children are American Civics, Public speaking and writing. Stripped away because a dumb little rich kid like George Jr. ( born with a gold spoon in his mouth) have every incentive to make sure that America’s children behave like sheep, and not good American citizens who question government officials.
“ Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty” Norman Douglas
This I believe is the main reason why the rich enacted laws like NCLB – to create followers instead of leaders.
My question for my readers: Why has President Obama not abolished the NCLB?
This week, America lost a fantastic teacher, to what I perceive to be a hands on assessment of how a little rich kid that never worked a day in his life decided to play leader, screwed our children for years to come, from the one thing that makes America one of the greatest Nation’s on Earth, our voice.
Polk County school teacher, Wendy Bradshaw, Ph.D. resignation letter
Wendy, You are Gold Bar Reporters American hero for 2015
From Polk County school teacher, Dr. Wendy Bradshaw
To: The School Board of Polk County, Florida
I love teaching. I love seeing my students’ eyes light up when they grasp a new concept and their bodies straighten with pride and satisfaction when they persevere and accomplish a personal goal. I love watching them practice being good citizens by working with their peers to puzzle out problems, negotiate roles, and share their experiences and understandings of the world. I wanted nothing more than to serve the students of this county, my home, by teaching students and preparing new teachers to teach students well. To this end, I obtained my undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees in the field of education. I spent countless hours after school and on weekends poring over research so that I would know and be able to implement the most appropriate and effective methods with my students and encourage their learning and positive attitudes towards learning. I spent countless hours in my classroom conferencing with families and other teachers, reviewing data I collected, and reflecting on my practice so that I could design and differentiate instruction that would best meet the needs of my students each year. I not only love teaching, I am excellent at it, even by the flawed metrics used up until this point. Every evaluation I received rated me as highly effective.
Like many other teachers across the nation, I have become more and more disturbed by the misguided reforms taking place which are robbing my students of a developmentally appropriate education. Developmentally appropriate practice is the bedrock upon which early childhood education best practices are based, and has decades of empirical support behind it. However, the new reforms not only disregard this research, they are actively forcing teachers to engage in practices which are not only ineffective but actively harmful to child development and the learning process. I am absolutely willing to back up these statements with literature from the research base, but I doubt it will be asked for. However, I must be honest. This letter is also deeply personal. I just cannot justify making students cry anymore. They cry with frustration as they are asked to attempt tasks well out of their zone of proximal development. They cry as their hands shake trying to use an antiquated computer mouse on a ten year old desktop computer which they have little experience with, as the computer lab is always closed for testing. Their shoulders slump with defeat as they are put in front of poorly written tests that they cannot read, but must attempt. Their eyes fill with tears as they hunt for letters they have only recently learned so that they can type in responses with little hands which are too small to span the keyboard.
The children don’t only cry. Some misbehave so that they will be the ‘bad kid’ not the ‘stupid kid’, or because their little bodies just can’t sit quietly anymore, or because they don’t know the social rules of school and there is no time to teach them. My master’s degree work focused on behavior disorders, so I can say with confidence that it is not the children who are disordered. The disorder is in the system which requires them to attempt curriculum and demonstrate behaviors far beyond what is appropriate for their age. The disorder is in the system which bars teachers from differentiating instruction meaningfully, which threatens disciplinary action if they decide their students need a five minute break from a difficult concept, or to extend a lesson which is exceptionally engaging. The disorder is in a system which has decided that students and teachers must be regimented to the minute and punished if they deviate. The disorder is in the system which values the scores on wildly inappropriate assessments more than teaching students in a meaningful and research based manner.
On June 8, 2015 my life changed when I gave birth to my daughter. I remember cradling her in the hospital bed on our first night together and thinking, “In five years you will be in kindergarten and will go to school with me.” That thought should have brought me joy, but instead it brought dread. I will not subject my child to this disordered system, and I can no longer in good conscience be a part of it myself. Please accept my resignation from Polk County Public Schools.
Wendy Bradshaw, Ph.D.
Thank you Dr. Bradshaw, I resigned from the Washington State Bar Association for the same reasons. For I cannot in good conscious be a part of this disordered system either.
Our government has failed.