NEA Survey: Nearly Half Of Teachers Consider Leaving Profession Due to Standardized Testing

teacherburnoutU.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently conceded that too much standardized testing was “sucking the oxygen out of the room” and causing “undue stress.” Although some of the nation’s educators may have been encouraged by Duncan’s words, most policymakers have spent the past decade ignoring calls from teachers to curb high-stakes testing.

But what is it about standardized testing specifically that makes it toxic to so many educators? To help answer this question, researchers at the National Education Association collected and analyzed phone survey data from 1500 PreK-12 teachers. Four specific factors emerged that, taken together, reveal a teaching force frustrated with the impact high stakes testing has had on students and on morale.

Too Much Pressure
According to the NEA survey, a majority of teachers reported feeling considerable pressure to improve test scores. 72 percent replied that they felt “moderate” or “extreme” pressure from both school and district administrators.

Infographic: The Impact of Testing on Teachers

Infographic: The Impact of Testing on Teachers

From fellow teachers and parents, however, a large majority of respondents said they felt very little or no pressure. The fact that increasing numbers of parents nationwide no longer want their children to be exposed to a one-size-fits-all education approach may help explain the disparity between them and school and district officials.

Negative Impact on the Classroom
Forty-two percent of the surveyed teachers reported that the emphasis on improving standardized test scores had a “negative impact” on their classroom, while only 15 percent said the impact was “positive.” Over the past decade, the high stakes testing regime has squeezed out much of the curriculum that can make schools an engaging and enriching experience for students, and teachers have been forced to dilute their creativity to teach to the test.

“I would much rather help students learn how to conduct research and how to discuss and how to explore controversies and how to complete multi-task projects than teach them how to recall this or that fact for an exam,” explains teacher Connie Fawcett.

Time Wasted
The sheer volume of tests that teachers are tasked with administering and preparing students for is enormously time-consuming. Fifty-two percent of teachers surveyed said they spend too much time on testing and test prep. The average teacher now reports spending about 30 percent of their work time on testing-related tasks, including preparing students, proctoring, and reviewing results of standardized tests. Teresa Smith Johnson, a 5th grade teacher in Georgia, says her school spends a minimum of 8 weeks testing during the school year. “That doesn’t include preparing for testing, talking about testing, and examining data from testing,” she adds. “Imagine what we could do with that time. There must be a better plan.”

‘Test and Punish’
Education “reformers” are obsessed with rooting out “bad” teachers, and they have persuaded lawmakers across the nation that the only quick ‘n’ easy way to do that is to tie teacher evaluation to test scores. Over 40 percent of surveyed members reported that their school placed “moderate” to “extreme” emphasis on students’ test scores to evaluate their performance. But using scores this way is losing support among the general public. According to the recent PDK poll on the public’s attitude towards public education, only 38 percent of the public – and only 31 percent of parents – support using students’ standardized test scores to evaluate teachers.

“Educators know that real accountability in public schools requires all stakeholders to place student needs at the center of all efforts,” says NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Real accountability in public schools requires that everyone—lawmakers, teachers, principals, parents and students—partner in accepting responsibility for improving student learning.”

Testing and Teacher Morale
While it’s clear from the survey that over-testing has taken its toll on classrooms across the country, what’s the cumulative effect on teachers? Teachers love their work, and the NEA survey found that 75 percent of teachers are satisfied with their jobs. However, the data also indicate that toxic testing environments contribute to lower job satisfaction and thoughts of leaving the profession. Despite the high level of overall satisfaction, nearly half (45 percent) of surveyed member teachers have considered quitting because of standardized testing. Teachers are dedicated individuals and many succeed in focusing on the positive, but the fact that testing has prompted such a high percentage of educators to contemplate such a move underscores its corrosive effect on the profession.


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  • Sandi Yoder

    I wish the United States would look at the International Baccalaureate model for assessment. At the culmination of the IB, students take multiple assessments that are thoroughly aligned with the curriculum and it is no secret what the style and the content of the questions will be. Students write a tremendous amount to indicate the growth in their knowledge. Additionally, there are internal assessments that are graded by teachers in every subject, that are worthwhile explorations with choice on the part of the student. These are sampled and moderated by IB examiners. It provides meaningful information to inform instruction. This is an expensive and valid form of assessment. At my school, it will cost $60,000 for about 80 students. Colleges and universities know that a student that has completed IB is ready to excel.

    • Allison

      The IB program isn’t all that great either. Yes it forces the curriculum, but the curriculum is weak in the sciences. I actually teach more content in my regular classes than IB. Plus the language its written is not effective for the students as well. It becomes an assessment of can they understand what is being asked of them. Cut out the ambiguous nature of the questions. If teaches actually just taught…they would cover the content standards and get the kids to pass the tests. Its been proven and has worked for many of us over the years. Maybe become more familiar with the content and how to teach it effectively.

    • Stellina Shepherd

      A high school in my district was an IB school four years ago. Due to high costs of testing students and training teachers, along with elitist attitude of students/parents and mounting pressures from an increasing number of underperforming students/parents from other schools in district this high school became an unfair target for everything wrong with IB.

    • Danielle

      IB schools use common core now. Why would anyone want to compare their schools to them? They will be forced to use all of the attached testing as well.

    • Julie Hardy

      Sandi, how many students do you have? I struggle with IB because I have 161 students. By the time I go through all of their assessments in US History the unit is long past so there isn’t any quick feedback at the conclusion and then we are on to something new.

    • Pam Benn

      …..and this does not account for teachers who took early retirement already because of a stifling environment in the classroom at this time. Each politician has their own programs, when they fail teachers get blamed and the new politician comes in, and it all starts again- retraining- administering- failure- blaming teachers. So much is a waste of time and money. Everything, not just testing is trying to be standardized by politicians. The problem with that is it goes to the lowest common denominator. Give the say back to teachers, credit them with innovation. Praise new ideas that are introduced, and stop all of the poiticing, costing millions of dollars

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  • Melissa Suibhne

    This will be my last year. I began going back to school to retrain for another job last spring. I have been taking 9 hours of graduate classes each semester so I can finish this summer and end my 20 years as a teacher.

  • Given that a number of teachers are minimally impacted by standardized testing at the classroom level (having the scores as part of their evaluations is another smelly kettle of fish!), is there any way to know how this breaks down by subject/grade level taught? For example, what percentage of respondents in the other 55% (the ones not considering leaving the profession) are teachers whose subjects aren’t tested (arts, science, social studies, PE, tech ed etc.)?

    Depending on that data, it could mean well OVER half of, say, English, math, or elementary teachers are thinking of getting out. There are already fewer people going INTO teaching (wonder why?), and teacher shortages are looming.

    Teacher shortage at a crisis level, anyone?

    • Nanci B

      I teach in the Visual Arts. While our subject may not be on the state mandated core subject test, in Florida where I teach, there are state mandated district generated end-of-course exams administered on the subject I teach that students must show appropriate growth on for me to keep my job. There is no difference in responsibility nor liability if test scores are not good.

    • Jeffrey Shoaf

      I teach elementary art in two different schools. My evaluation states that 20 percent is based on my personal SLO (student learning objective) being met; 20 percent on how much our school improved; and 10 percent on how well my district has improved. The other 50 percent is based on observation by the administrator and personal self assessment. I have to upload documents substantiating what I am doing in the classroom. We spend more time proving we are teaching then we do actually teaching! I am being evaluated based on classrooms, subjects, and schools that I do not even teach. This is beyond ludicrous.

      • Kristin

        You sound like you could work in New York. I teach 8th grade ELA. I am graded 20% on how well (or poor) my students did on the NYS test. Then 20% is on the average of how the 6-8 ELA and Math classes did on the test. So I’m held responsible for multiple other teachers’ grades, and they are held responsible for what I’ve done. The other 60% is on classroom observation and my “binder” where I have to have several artifacts proving not only what I do in the classroom, but how I serve my community. If I don’t do multiple types of community service, that lowers my score. Now, I’m all about helping people, but having that as a component for how well I teach??

        Also, the evaluation process in NY is completely unfair. If you’re 3-8 ELA or Math, your score is totally different than if you have a Regent’s exam. Teachers who have Regent’s exams just have to have a certain percentage pass–with a 65 (or in some cases, 55.) A 65 may be passing in high school, but it definitely isn’t a “3” on the ELA or Math exam.

        Talk about ludicrous and unfair…

  • Angela Braaten

    I can see why they would want to leave, teaching has changed to much in the last few years it is terrible for everyone! The kids did better i think before they pulled all the books and started changing all the math and making their own work sheets. The world was just fine with schools way of teaching 10 years ago and not every kid needs to be on the same learning level. They need to know that when they go get a job someday you don’t just get the president of the company job as a new hire be cause you need that pay to make your bills! Just go back to regular teaching so we don’t loose all the teachers!!!

  • Angela Braaten

    The world was just fine with schools way of teaching 10 years ago and not every kid needs to be on the same learning level. They need to know that when they go get a job someday you don’t just get the president of the company job as a new hire be cause you need that pay to make your bills! Just go back to regular teaching so we don’t loose all the teachers!!!

  • randallpeaches

    I don’t think we should continue with common core. It doesn’t seem to be helping my daughter at all in her classes. She is more confused then ever since they are changing how they do things from her last 4 years of school. I as a parent have a harder time helping her with her homework too.

    • Kristin

      I agree. When we as teachers have always wanted our parents to be involved, why would we have a curriculum where they basically can’t help because, “You’re not doing it right. My teacher says I have to do it this way.” 2+2=4. You shouldn’t have to draw boxes to prove it in order to get it right.

      There’s a math teacher in our school who has been teaching over 20 years. He can’t make any sense out of his 4th grader’s math homework. (He can do the math, obviously–he just can’t do it “right.”) Really???? Are we really doing our children any good???

  • Georgia Wright

    K5 children have to take two 45-minute computerized MAP tests three times a year for math and reading. Most of these children have difficulty handling a mouse and hearing and answering the questions. One child finally raised her hand, after answering half the questions, to let us know her ear phones were not working. We are expected to do get all the 28 children logged in on the computers without help. We sometimes have a para helping in the room. This is ridiculous to put young children and the teachers through this. Then we are asked to use this information for our SLO’s and our principal has asked us to track all the students, using these test scores, weekly. We need to fill out a “ladder” form placing the children in 4 groups and describing what we are doing for each group.

    In addition, we are also completing a literacy assessment, which is actually very helpful, two times a year. This test takes at least 30-45 minutes per child to complete in small groups and individually. We have paras covering our classroom as we sit in hallways or in the noisy classrooms trying to keep the children’s attention and not be distracted by the classroom disruptions.

    I have taught in a private setting and came into public school teaching later in my career. The large classrooms sizes (28 kindergarteners-one in a wheel chair-without help), extreme amount of expected paper work by the state, thge district and the principals, extreme child behaviors, and lack of respect by state and local officials leaves teachers exhausted and looking for other work. I still love seeing my children grow and learn but after 14 years i am ready to leave teaching as well. I would miss the children. It is disheartening to watch first year teachers crying and wanting to quit.

  • Maile Leaga

    My school is considered as ” failing” and this affects all of the teachers’ evaluations (and eligibility for pay raises). Teachers may be fired or will quit, and who will replace us? Would you take a job knowing that many of the students have poor skills, low reading levels, family problems, and can’t or won’t stay focused for a four hour test? Teachers leave for “better” schools. I could do a much better job of teaching if I had focused, motivated students. Instead, I have to spend time on antisocial behavior, dramas, calling parents, referrals, etc. I have such a wide range of abilities that it is unfair to the students. If your smart kid is in a class with six kids reading at four grades lower than your kid, a lot of time is going to be spent on basics. What do you think class discussions are like? It is very hard trying to teach when the kids are so far apart. If I have to divide kids into three levels and try to help all of them move up, then I am dividing my time among them. Dont kids deserve to have a teacher that can spend more than a third of the period with them?

    • weez

      But if you were differentiating enough, you’d be successful…….. (rolls eyes). I am in the same boat.

  • M. Russo

    I have worked as a special educator for over 14 years in our public school system. My current assignment is the special education teacher in two inclusion classrooms. I recently resigned, even though I am years from retirement. The federal reforms–Common Core, tied to high stakes testing and a punitive educator evaluations system–have made it increasingly difficult to implement my students’ Individualized Education Programs. My students are suffering under Common Core, which may not be adapted to their developmental levels. If I persist in adapting the Common Core grade-level curriculum, I will be penalized. My hands are tied.
    I had enough. So I resigned from my state’s DOE. Although I love working with children, I am leaving the teaching profession.

    • T. Sawyer

      I am sorry to hear that you have been driven to leaving education due to these new measures to evaluate teachers. I am also leaving the profession–my situation is different–I work with gifted (twice-exceptional) students who have various disabilities. My level of frustration has reached a boiling point due to the amount of paperwork involved in special education, and how little time I am able to meet with the students due to the strict regimentation of services offered on the IEP. I have been to a number of due process hearings and this part of education has become a series of legal land mines and litigious exercises in futility. The students are left behind in the smoke and mirrors.

    • Kristin

      My mother was a remedial reading teacher for over 25 years, and worked in other teaching areas earlier, so she had a total career of 46 years. Teaching was her life–she said she planned to work until she was 70. Well, Common Core and SLO’s got the best of her. She left her dream job the year after Common Core rolled out in her district. A remarkable teacher was lost–and I know she is just one of many, many others out there who are just as fed up with the mandates as she was. I hope you are able to find another area where you can impact children’s lives.

    • Clem

      A real shame losing you. But I fear that’s what the government wants: destroy
      public education, deem it as a failure and privatize.

  • Charles E. Lott Sr.

    I say say to those who are considering,please change career so that our schools can move forward and out students can be taught by those who has not considered leaving and free up careers for new teachers.Your paycheck is provided to teach so that students can learn and pass,not fail and drop out.

    • William Knapp

      At least, when you make your comments public, use proper grammar…this is precisley why people think there are too many bad teachers….

    • Kathi

      I say, teachers are doing their jobs, teaching. Why aren’t students doing their jobs, learning? You can lead a student to education but you can’t make them think!

      • Kathi

        Oops! agreement error – a student is singular and them is plural – should read either

        “You can lead a student to education but you can’t make him/her think!”


        “You can lead students to education but you can’t make them think!”

      • Frank Luke

        You have hit the nail on the head Kathi. Many students are actively and successfully resisting education because it interferes with their classroom socializing and joking. Non-teaching educators who take decisions pertaining to education have nothing to offer by way of solving this problem.

        • Judy Hogan

          This is exactly why I am leaving the profession. The district I was in closed their alternative high school (the one for students who were failing in the regular schools because of behavior, lack of effort, and attendance issues) and I am now teaching 8th grade math. I am leaving because I cannot make many of these students care about their education. I currently have 3 or more students in my classes who had straight Fs last year and were still passed to 8th grade. No wonder they don’t feel like they need to do any work or even behave.

    • greg frates

      This is an idiot comment…please spend an hour in a class then realize you are not qualified to breathe the same air as a teacher

    • John Ostrander

      Yes, we should leave our careers to make room for replacements. Through the growth of the US, this was sometimes called “scabs” when workers struck to be replaced by workers willing to do more for less (imagine how that affects quality?). because arbitration was not part of managments plans.

      I read a book once, “Something remains” (ISBN 0786838809) about a Jewish boy growing up in 1930’s Germany. The teachers not willing to teach to the edict of the Nazi set curriculum were replaced by those who would. Guess who won that battle?

      I love teaching, but I do so little of it because it is the “High Stakes test Uber alles” and my classes don’t matter, only the test. I find myself in increasing disagreement with this arrangement, and certain parallels in education and that book I just mentioned above.

  • Nate

    look, maybe they disagree with this, I get it. It’s change. But you know what? Every one of us not teachers have deadlines and performance expectations from our bosses, most with ‘high pressure’. If we do not perform, we get fired. Maybe it’s just not something they are culturally used to. Teachers in Ny can easily make 6 figures and there’s no chance of a teacher shortage happening when you have 10-15 graduates for each opening. 40 years ago in this country you could get a job for 40 years, retire, and get a pension. That is gone. Business evolved. Teachers, no matter how good, have to realize the way of doing it 10-20-40 years ago is gone. Maybe not for the better, but it is gone. If that bothers you while making 6 figures, it probably is time to find something new. Read ‘who moved my cheese’. Life altering for people who are resistant to change. You have to adapt or be replaced. My sympathies lie with the really good people who are teachers who are having trouble trying to adjust. My sympathies do not lie with the 20-25 year veteran who makes 6 figures and has gotten by on the bare minimum who refuses to change because it may expose them as frauds. I had only a few ‘bad teachers’, but they were a rare breed, not the norm.

    • Debbie

      I personally do not know of one teacher who makes six-figures in public education.

    • Elizabeth

      I am a teacher-in-training. I go to a state university in Mississippi.

      Nate, I am glad that the teachers in New York have the opportunity to earn so much money. It’s true that the absolutely top salary in New York State is $119,472. But it’s not “easy.” A teacher has to teach for 22 years, have a Bachelors Degree, a Masters Degree, and an additional 30 credit hours from an accredited school. Just a reminder: school costs money. I don’t know about you, but when 20% of teachers leave after their first year, it’s unlikely many will make it to 22 years. And not everyone can go back to school for 6 years on top of teaching.

      The rest of the nation doesn’t have the opportunity of New York teachers who start at $46,455. According to the department of education, the average teacher’s salary in the United States in the year 2012-2013 was $56,383. That is a far cry from 6 figures. Mississippi teachers start at $30,900.

      Some estimates have put the rate of teachers leaving after their first year at 20%. This leads to a high turnover. I would love to see the data for your 10-15 graduates per teacher leaving, because several studies have found that the number of graduates will not equal the amount of turnover. There is a continual teacher shortage, mostly in particular locations and subject areas. These locations pay the base salary of Mississippi. Who wants to go there?

      I am going into the profession with my eyes open. I know there are problems, and I know I won’t be paid what I am worth. In another field, I could and would make double that. (I’m coming to teaching after other careers.) I am hoping that the problems don’t outweigh the benefits; but with the current situation, I can’t guarantee that I won’t be frustrated in two years.

      Nate, feel free to do your own research, but these are some of my references:

      • Debbie

        This is my twenty-eighth year of teaching; I have my bachelor’s degree, my master’s degree, plus thirty hours, and an ESL endorsement (all on my own dime) and I still don’t make anywhere near a six-figure salary. I guess New York values their teachers more than the rest of the nation.

      • Kristin

        Ummm,,,, I know of no district in my area of New York state with six figures. You may be talking about NYC or Long Island, but there’s a whole other huge part of New York besides those two areas. After 46 years of teaching, and two master’s degrees, my mother made WAY less than six figures. The salary schedule at my school (200 miles away from where she taught)does not start at $46k like you state, and I will never make six figures there, either. Not even close. Please do not make it sound like all NY teachers have cushy paychecks.

        • kira

          Kristin, Did you read Elizabeth’s whole post? She did not at all make it sound like NY teacher’s have cushy paychecks. She said the absolutely top pay for teachers in NY state is 119,472.00 and that is only after 22 years, a masters degree +30 credits The absolutely top pay, not the average pay. In fact, she indicated in her comment that the average pay for teaches is less than half that amount.

    • Marti Hilyard

      To NATE:
      I am a reading intervention teacher, about to retire at 65. My students guess that I am 40 because I don’t act “old”. I teach reading to high school students that read anywhere from below first grade level up to about seventh grade level. The students at my school are: over 40% homeless, 78% free and reduced priced lunch, have been enrolled in up to 25 schools and yet we graduate about 90% of students who make it to their senior year before they are 21years old. We often give students their first successes in school and so they begin to try harder. Sometimes it takes a year to crack the protective shell that says “if I don’t try, then I’m not really failing; I just don’t feel like doing it…” I am looking at our new test dates this year-all ten tests (some of them are three day tests). For attention deficit students, students with dyslexia and other syndromes that have hampered their success in the past, these tests are like torture. People outside of our profession may not know how many students brought up on cartoons and video games cannot tolerate sitting for hours in a quiet room concentrating on written questions and responding with no discussion. I don’t know of any jobs that correspond to this regimen. Because I care about my students, I don’t choose to torture them, when I could be teaching them. I had planned to retire later, if it ever became “not fun” anymore…suddenly it is time. I will create a reading program and offer it and my services outside of the public school system. I will test and monitor progress, because it makes wonderful achievement pride for my students, but never day long tests that they will not know the results of for three months and may not be related to things they are familiar with…such as farm terms given to inner city students in standardized tests. p.s. In our district, only administrators make three figures and we have a high cost of living compared to most of the country. Less that five years ago, I would keep cup-of -soups in the staff room for newer teachers that did not have lunch($) by the end of the month. BTW..I am still paying on college loans for the last of my ten years of university degrees.

    • Nate,
      Don’t worry. When all the fraudulent teachers leave they will be replaced by very competent drones who will keep the hive alive until the machines can take their place too.
      Pensions for long service are an abomination because the politicians who agreed to them are long gone living on their self approved pensions.
      Machine testing of teaching will lead to people believing that we can be programmed and assimilated into the collective.
      Scoff if you want but beware the Brave New World of immoral science fed by immoral greed.

    • CNY Clio

      I am a 22-year veteran and am halfway to that 6-figure mark. Something tells me I’ll never get there. And yes, I am absolutely dedicated to my students, which is one reason why I’ve considered leaving: I find it increasingly difficult to work around a system that has no place for special-needs students who have a LOT to offer their communities and potential employers, but who will never pass a Common-core or Regents Exam. I couldn’t care less about my “score” but can’t live with the way testing affects students.

      • GMDel

        I also am a 22 year veteran and I’m leaving in the next few months. I am a Literacy Specialist and teach reading intervention to 70 students. Yes you heard that right. 70 students. Grades K-5. No TA or half time reading interventionist to help with my load. I’m just completely burned out. I do love the students and they love me as well. I know I am a great teacher but my voice continues to go unheard and yet the demands on me are insane. I’m “assigned” to the RtI team which meets weekly and devlops Tier 2 and Tier 3 plans for students who are not meeting reading or math proficiency. In addition, I’m also on the Data Team and weekly PLTs. And of course I’m pulled as a test administrator for every standardized, intelligence and benchmark assessment tests. With such a high case load and high turnover of teachers each year (50%), it takes me months to build my schedule and of course I can’t please everyone. I’m just emotionally, mentally and physically drained so yes, I too will be resigning in a few short months to take another job in the private sector.

        • Kristin

          I feel for you. I believe you with your caseload. My mother was remedial reading, and when she left, she had 86 on her caseload. She, too, was on multiple teams, and was pulled from her students constantly to sub for classroom teachers when there weren’t enough subs available. She would be at school almost every day from 7:3oam-9pm. Yes, she worked over 12 hours a day almost every single day, just to keep up with all the paperwork. She, too, was so drained she left the profession–after giving 46 years to teaching.

    • chris

      Deadlines, performance expectations, high pressure, I get it. It is part of the grown-up work world. Parents insisting that you can’t keep there child in from recess to complete unfinished work, students showing up for school hours late on a regular basis (if they show up), parents insisting that their child is not going to spend their “soccer time” doing homework, and politicians determining the learning needs of a child with disabilities from a seat in an office somewhere and you want to bold me accountable for the scores of these children and base my entire salary on their performance during one 2 1/2 hour window one day during the year?

    • Kathi

      Teachers are one of the few professionals who are held responsible for things that are completely out of their control. A teacher can have the best lessons prepared but if students are coming to class tired, hungry, and with no support at home for education, it is virtually impossible for them to learn.

      Teachers get blamed for not “engaging” students but who is blaming the students for not paying attention in class, not doing homework, not actively participating, and not actually learning? Why aren’t students held accountable for their part in their own education? Who is blaming the parents for sending their children to school not ready to learn?

      School is not a passive learning activity where students get to sit back in class and wait to be engaged by their teachers. Students must take responsibility for their own learning and be active participants in their own education.

      Having come into teaching after working as an engineer and then staying home with my children, teaching in the public school arena is by far the hardest job I have ever had. Frankly, it baffles me that young people are still willing to do it given the high stress, low status, and low pay associated with the teaching profession.

      • Kristin

        Amen! I am constantly told I have to “make up” for what a child is not getting at home. Seriously??? I have 40 minutes a day to change the fact there’s___ (insert problem here–drug/alcohol/physical/mental abuse, divorce/other family issues, unwanted pregnancy, job loss, parent incarceration, poverty, the list goes on…) going on in the household, where this child lives for way more than 40 minutes a day, and yet I’m supposed to change that????

        Then there are the parents who don’t care their child is not performing well. Yes, there really are parents out there like that–an example: a student at my school was the very first child in that family to graduate (and this was not an immigrant family). Guess what? The parents DID NOT COME to the ceremony!!!! They didn’t feel it was important. Not only that, they made fun of the child for even wanting to graduate!!!! None of this child’s siblings graduated. I wonder why… So what makes anyone think I can change the issue when there’s no support at home????

    • Lynne

      I would like to teach in a district that pays their teachers six figures!!!!! Where in the world is this happening? And in the business world your performance isn’t based on how well your underlings do at their job. Children are not widgets and we do not have assembly lines in our public schools!!!!! We should not be evaluated on our “piece” count—-teaching and learning does not work that way.

      • just a teacher

        If you’d like to teach here in NYC, the NY DOE pays six-figure salaries . . . but only to those with 22 years of service and 30 credits beyond the Master’s Degree. Just realize that the cost of living in NYC is much higher than many, many other places. Also, if you already have many years experience, don’t expect to be able to get one of those jobs, since many principals now want to hire the cheapest newbies, rather than those who are going to eat up too much of their budget; I wouldn’t pack my bags for NYC too quickly, if I were you.

      • Frank Luke

        I like your lucidity and clarity of thought on the matter Kathi. As long as America keeps blaming teachers for the student’s laziness, inattentiveness, and irresponsibility, there is no hope of pulling this nation out of the academic darkness in which we have been stumbling around for several years.

    • jerseygirl

      First of all, after 33 years of teaching our district has a low salary scale, and I am $23K short of a 6-figure salary. I am leaving teaching because I don’t get to teach any more. I am a special education teacher, and my students need to be prepped for all of the testing. Then there are the testing days that come out of the school year. My students are much better with hands on activities, but this is not something that is useful for testing. Heaven forbid if my special education students “bring down” the district’s testing numbers. The test scores are also used in the teacher evaluations, so it is very important for the students to improve. Forget the fact that my students would be better prepared for the outside world if they were given skills that would be useful for them in business and industry. The majority of my students will not be attending college, but they are capable of working with a microscope or writing down data from a lab test. However, because we must teach for the test, my students did not have the opportunity to use the microscopes. It does not fit with the Common Core, and the amount of time needed to teach proper technique would take away from the test preparation time. I can no longer play this game and watch my students suffer. I still love to teach, but the rest of the “junk” has left me wanting to leave. It has absolutely nothing to do with not performing and getting fired. It has to do with children’s lives…something that you probably would not understand.

    • Ashley S

      Nate, you’re totally right. And in your awesome job, are you evaluated on your performance? Yes. Are teachers evaluated on their performances? No. Teachers are not evaluated on their performances. They’re evaluated on their students’ performances. Students who have zero accountability and zero incentive to do well on the tests. Next time you try to compare teacher evaluation systems to your work environment, remember that at least you are only responsible for you or other adults.

      Yes, there are teachers who have gotten by with the bare minimum, and you’re right, this will hopefully weed them out. But it will also weed out a lot of highly-competent, professional content experts (like me) who could easily get a job in their content field making twice as much money with half the expectations (like you). And that’s the problem.

      The way education is being revamped continuously lately is like rebuilding an airplane in the air. It’s never going to be resolved until actual educators make the decisions and/or new initiatives are given time to work or not work before the next new fad comes around.

      P.S. I have $100,000 worth of education (two masters degrees) and make $40k before taxes after 6 years as an educator (I get about a $900 per year raise when I’m lucky). Don’t take that as a complaint; I make plenty of money and do what I love every day by choice. I say this to show that you’re very wrong about teacher salaries.

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  • J

    Do not judge teachers on test scores. What about the degree of daily preparation for the tests? I do not just mean from the teacher’s end either. If a doctor prescribes a treatment that the patient refuses, should the doctor be judged negatively when that patient succumbs?

    • Lynne

      Amen J!!!!

    • greg frates


    • Elizabeth Kamerer

      You make too much sense!

  • This is my twenty-eighth year of teaching. I still love to teach, but because of standardized, high-stakes testing; constant change from the administration on the school, district, and state levels; state legislators with no understanding of public education making all the decisions without any input from public educators; no increase in salary; decrease in insurance benefits and rising out-of-pocket expenses so I make less each year; extreme pressure from administration in every aspect of teaching; very low morale at my school; constant pressure from administration and public; negative feedback from the public; less respect from students, parents, administrators, and the general public; spending so much of my own money for classroom expenses; and more and more paperwork with less time to teach and interact with students, I’m going to retire as soon as I can. I don’t really want to and I’d love to keep teaching, but emotionally and physically, I don’t think I can. I would never encourage anyone to go out in teaching now; not with the direction education is going. Teachers want to teach and we don’t really get to anymore.

    • SMS

      I teach in NJ and have worked to teach high school biology for 23 years. You are describing my experience precisely. I am a positive person at heat, but I feel as the same way as you…..get out ASAP before all your energy gets sucked out of you and you begin to resent the public educational system and make yourself sick physically and emotionally from all the stress.

      • Clem

        The first and second year teachers at my school are constantly in
        fear of being fired when a student fails. The last three of my 15 have
        certainly been less enjoyable, and I’ve seen more new teachers bail out
        in the last three than ever before.
        How do I survive? I close my door and simply teach the way I want to.

        • RiverOfLife

          Clem, you hit the nail on the head with your last statement. Last year, we tried to implement Common Core in Oklahoma. The implementation was half-baked, due to the state trying to do it on the cheap, by having individual teachers responsible for doing all the heavy lifting. We were using older textbooks that were not aligned with Common Core standards, so we had to hopscotch all around the textbook, so many teachers just wrote lesson plans from scratch that did not use the textbook at all, with little or no guidance or help from the state BOE. Then, this year, our state abandoned Common Core and all that work went into the trash bin. I had already figured out it wasn’t working, so I had reverted to teaching what I thought made sense. I did this at the end of the first semester, and all through the second semester. As a result, my kids’ standardized test scores were significantly higher than the other teachers who tried to stick to the Common Core game plan for the entire year. Lesson learned!! As you said, close your door and teach the way you think makes the most sense.

    • John Ostrander

      Eerily I feel the same after only 7 years. From what I’ve heard from those who have been around for a long time, it wasn’t always like this. Having started late is probably a big contribution to my short shelf life as an educator.

  • SJ

    I had read the following when former NJ Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf resigned from his position to return as CEO of a company connected with educational resources and testing: New Jersey Education Association president Wendell Steinhauer expressed concerns that Cerf’s new position will allow him to profit from the “misguided mandates” he has brought to New Jersey schools, including the new teacher evaluation system linked to upcoming PARCC standardized tests.

    “While it is clearly a very good career move for Commissioner Cerf, he leaves New Jersey at a time when schools, educators and students are struggling with these new mandates. As a result of his rush to impose costly and unproven high-stakes testing in New Jersey, districts are spending money they don’t have to implement testing they do not need,” Steinhauer said in a statement released today. “Educators are being subjected to a poorly understood and badly implemented evaluation system that relies far too heavily on the kind of costly assessment and student data systems that Mr. Cerf’s new employer helps districts implement, for a cost.”

    This is just in NJ, but it’s obviously happening all across the country. It makes me wonder who else is “benefitting” from all these tests? Certainly not the teachers or students.

  • Marcus Quintilain

    Recent data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress ranked Florida first for fourth-grade reading performance among disadvantaged students, beating states like Massachusetts and Connecticut. Why? Because Florida ended social promotion for third-graders ten years ago.
    A 2002-2003 study of 99,000 Florida fourth-graders found that students who were retained in third grade performed better than similar students who had been socially promoted the year before. The study by Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters cast doubt on the custom of socially promoting students year after year. Rather than retain students for a second year at an appropriate level of instruction, social promotion advances them to a more difficult level, where they have little chance of performing successfully. The claim has always been that such students will be provided with individual instruction to fill in what they have missed. State test results tell a different story, with some high schools reporting as many as 30% of their entering freshmen still reading at the fourth-grade level or below.

    • Frank Luke

      Good point SJ. Public policy has been prostituted to big business. Decisions are taken in order to benefit the few at the cost of the many. As long as we allow a huge non-teaching bunch of people in the field of education, they will continue using their authority to introduce laws to enable a few industries to rake in the billions by sacrificing the academic interests of the nation.

  • Michele

    From the dawn of public schools we have had standardized tests. This can be proved as fact. The problem lies in the fact that the media built up standard tests as an evil entity and politicians who have never worked in a classroom encouraged this. Let’s look at a different culprit that is forcing good teachers to rethink staying in the classroom: student behavior and lack of administrative and district support!

    • John Ostrander

      Standardized tests is not the same as high stakes tests. I was never at risk for low test scores in school, because they were assessment of my abilities only and had no bearing on my passing, graduating, or my teacher (or administrators) having continued employment.

      Also I dont’ remember getting out of class three or four weeks when testing was happening. We went to class, did the routine, and took a day took a test, then continued. Tests now blow away the last two months of school for no good reason other than to generate data for someone’s report so a legislature can look and say “hmmm.. that’s nice”.

  • Amanda

    Really it’s all the things we do to get ready for testing that frustrate me. Every year it seems we are testing our kids more and more with district practice tests and other test prep tasks.
    They just told us last week that our 2nd graders have to do this online practice test. They also told us that these tests have to be done before Thanksgiving. I started the reading one today which took all morning. Then my students were so brain fried they couldn’t focus on any kind of learning for the rest of the day. So basically I feel like a whole day where my students could have been learning was wasted because of a practice test. It was like torture to them. It felt wrong to test them so much.

  • Dan Greaney

    If test scores are the dominant measure of teacher quality, then, since student progress depends on things outside the school more than on things inside the school–hence the persistent socio-economic achievement gaps–perhaps government and corporate leaders, too, should be held accountable to the test scores of students in their jurisdictions and markets.

  • Lynne Ethridge

    I have read all the comments posted here and I am finding that a lot of teachers feel the same way I do. I love teaching students, but next year will be my last year in the teaching profession. The Common Core will be the “death of us all.” I am not seeing any accountability from students or parents. I spend untold hours preparing interesting, engaging lessons for students who could care less. “This is too hard, why do you make us do all this work? School is boring. I stayed up late last night and I’m too tired to do this assignment. ” I get these comments all the time. Parents are complaining in daily e-mails that their child should be getting “A’s” and why aren’t they? Am I frustrated? You bet I am! Do I agree with my evaluation being based partially on student progress? Absolutely not. We have 3 types of students in my school: the ones who want to learn, the ones who can’t learn beyond a certain level, and the ones who simply don’ t care. We are testing students too frequently and we will not see any progress simply because the students are tired of all the testing and don’t even try to do their best.

    • Clem

      Agreed. What happened to student/parent accountability?
      Why have educators become the sole blame for student failure
      despite doing everything mandated by district administrators?

  • LD

    I didn’t renew my clear R2M. Common Core is Thelema. Be a good idea to start waking people up before this gets out of control. Just be aware soon as there’s a teacher shortage the politicians behind this will start recruiting from Islamic MERC communities to fill vacancies. Question is> Is NEA involved in this?

    • Frank Luke

      You are right. Common Core will work in a nation where students go to school to learn. When majority of the students in the United States do not fall in that category, Common Core is bound to fail.

  • Jfikse

    The education field has become too centralized, with too much control being exerted by Washington, D.C. We are all expected to march to the beat of the Dept of Education’s drum, and I’m sick of it. Luckily I’m close to retirement; if I weren’t, I’d be even more upset. A lot of the fun and creativity has gone out of teaching.

  • Frank Luke

    If students fail, we need to work on the students, not penalize teachers for the failure of students. As long as we keep punishing teachers for the failure of students, we will never be able to pull America out of the dumps of this academic darkness. Students know they will never be blamed for their failure, so 70% of them do not make the effort required to develop a grip on any subject.

  • TCliff

    All the blame in the world, aimed at whoever, will not and never has solved anything. Only support, of the emotional or physical or financial kind will solve the problems our poorest students face. We are talking about children here, innocent children. People go around blaming these kids as if it is their fault that they are making unhealthy decisions. Provide family counseling and health services in the schools, provide clean and safe facilities for children, provide classes that are small enough to develop meaningful connections between teachers and their students, provide teachers with the support they need to help the most challenging students…support is what is needed, not blame. Again, we are talking about innocent CHILDREN!

    • weez

      “Innocent children”…….. I teach high school, and I am not familiar with any kids who fit that description. Out of touch much?

    • Clem

      We all provide everything you have mentioned, but innocent children
      learn quickly that they can do squat because someone else is to
      All students should be required to take a year off before high school
      and work. They need to show up each day to earn enough credits (not
      $) to get into high school the following year. Not enough credit, keep
      working until the credit is earned. A hardcore lesson in
      responsibility and what it means to have to work would be a wake
      up call.

  • Dee Jones

    I am a 20 yr veteran in a high school with mostly “impoverished, at-risk or reluctant” learners…. whatever the politically correct term of the day. My students do experience terrible hardships in their lives but our school’s approach to helping them achieve is to basically spoon feed them and allow them to make poor decisions over and over and over again because we do not let them experience any negative consequences for those choices. I realize that the goal of any organization is to help ..but unfortunately we are ENABLING students to use the terrible difficulties they face to excuse them from any personal accountability. This may make a student feel good for a moment, but when success is based on some false sense of accomplishment I believe we set them up for future failure while claiming success now.

    I want to be the best teacher I can be – but neither I nor my class activities will ever be as engaging as the latest app on a smart phone or the twenty other people a student is texting with – including parents!

    I worry for the future of this country after what I see everyday….the cheating…the laziness…the lack of any accountability or responsibility, the lack of respect for anyone and little to no personal integrity. Thank goodness this not true of ALL students…but it is so many that it is very concerning.

    No one has studied the effects of electronic devices on education. Society/parents have unknowingly turned us all into the cell phone police. Parents buy the phones, pay for the service, the school provides wi-fi, the administration allows them in use everywhere in the building except for…..the classroom! That means that the only person that tells any student to not use their device is a TEACHER. I did not become a teacher so that I could monitor the phone habits of 130+ students ALL DAY EVERY DAY!

    I never wanted to be the teacher that was hanging on until retirement…..but with 10 yrs left….I am hoping for some early out package deal that i will definitely NOT refuse. I have given it my all for the last 20 years and I cannot get most of my students to give it their all for 2 mins…. It breaks my heart and saps my desire to be there.

    • Profesor S

      I’ve been teaching nine years and I don’t like the spoon feeding. I’ve worked on a reservation and currently I teach ELL students and while I do agree that poverty and hardship has an effect on education, I have also seen the lack of accountability on the students’ part that is widespread. We make excuse after excuse for students in these situations and then whine about low test scores for these subgroups. It’s a no win situation, sadly. The technology aspect also gets old. In my school it seems that we are always told to use technology even though half the time it’s used for students’ entertainment as paper and pen are dirty words these days.

  • Rich Talbot

    Let’s take a look at the top system in the world, right now, Finland. They don’t do these tests; they give students a period of the day for exploring their own interests. How they operate is almost antithetical to the way our system is evolving. What we’re developing is a mind-deadening system both for educators as well as students.

    Corporations whose CEO’s or owners are politically connected sell programs and testing instruments to states and to school districts, sucking who knows how much of the taxpayers’ resources, enriching themselves as they negatively impact the effectiveness of the system and affect the minds of the masses who vote for their cronies.

    I’ve been in this game for more than 20 years; I’ve watched the changes; we have now created a system in which people serve the system, rather than the system serving the people.

    Welcome to the new world.

    • E P


      Finland has only one standardized exam at the end of high school, says Pasi Sahlberg, a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and an expert on testing in Finland.

      But while Finnish teens have just one test to worry about, it involves roughly a half-dozen, daylong exams — so that one exam can mean some 40 hours of testing. Sahlberg went through the system and says he remembers the stakes.

      “It was very clear for everybody that unless you do very well with this one examination, that some of these dreams that you may have for the future will become very difficult to fulfill,” he says.

      In other words, bomb this test, kids, and you can kiss your dreams goodbye.

      And students’ stress doesn’t end there. Sahlberg says Finnish universities generally have their own entrance exams, too.

  • oldguy68

    As a parent and a college professor, I think the emphasis on standardized testing is too great. First, I am skeptical that any test can give an accurate picture of what students are learning. Can it be an element of that picture? Of course. But the pressure put on teachers due to this emphasis encourages teaching to the test and in extreme cases has resulted in dishonesty. Also, in subjects such as mathematics, it is counter productive to move to the next topic if the present topic is not well understood. From the teachers that I have taught it seems they feel forced to get to the next topic regardless of whether the present topic is mastered

  • Cheryl

    It is interesting to me that the students are continually socially promoted. Until they are held accountable to learn we will have the same problems. My freshmen complain it is not fair they have to “pass” classes to become sophomores. They have not had to before. I have students with a third or fourth grade level of math skills. I’m expected to teach algebra to them?!?

    • Profesor S

      I had a student in my Spanish class who was a sophomore but at best read at a third grade level. I was supposed to teach Spanish to a student who couldn’t read English at the level she should have been at. Social promotion didn’t do her any favors.

  • Greg Sheets

    32 year special education teacher and this year was the worst in terms of time and resources wasted on standardized testing. I was forced to “evaluate proficiency ” of my students in curricular areas that are not relevant to their IEP’s, after spending hours documenting why those students do not participate in the general curriculum in these areas. I am tired of mandated tests that evaluate how well fish can climb trees…..

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  • Elizabeth Kamerer

    I have been teaching for 20 years. I feel that it is unfair to be in a union, where the pressures on the members are not equitable. Being a mathematics teacher, we have more pressure than our colleagues, for the same pay. It is also insulting toward our colleagues the obvious message that their subject area isn’t as important to the state as ours. If I am expected to make these students jump through math hoops, then I expect a physical education teacher to take someone who can’t do a pushup and I want to see them do ten by the years end. Sound absurd? Yes, it is, and that is why this is not equitable toward our union members. Completely absurd in my opinion.

  • Jae

    After spending a year preparing to make the transition to teaching, committed to making a positive difference in the community, I lament having to walk away. Schools and the educational hierarchy are broken. Politicians are spinning education out of the realm of reality. And, the students, all too often, are completely disinterested and disengaged from long before they put one foot onto the bus or into the school. Teachers are not magicians.

    I was hired mid-year. The previous teacher left due to ‘stress’. My first classroom (ELA, Grade 6) was filled with students who had no intention to cooperate with the learning process. Add to that class sizes which exceeded maximums – 19 – with between 22 and 27 students. Twenty-two students were ELL, two of which had no written language proficiency in either English or their native language, 32 students were ESE, and many more students simply didn’t want to be there. Consequently, behavioral issues were often un-surmountable. At first I thought it was my inexperience and ineffectiveness, but I increasingly recognized that even the most experienced teachers had unrelenting issues which undermined the teaching process. Then comes the incessant computerized testing. They began on my first day and ran for three days. More students signed into the exam and then signed out without even trying – whether due to disinterest or the lack of language proficiency to meet the demands of the examination. I could count on one hand how many students typed more than two to three sentences, then spent the rest of the 90 minutes being disruptive and disrespectful to those applying themselves. The ESOL coordinator had no support and over 300 students to monitor. She could offer little insight or support, none-the-less classroom time. Bilingual students become translators, so they have a job each day when they go to school, which undermines their education. The ESE facilitators were being used by administration as substitutes, limiting their time with the students they were intended to serve, leaving the classroom teachers overburdened and distracted from the heart of the lesson. No one can effectively do all that a single teacher is tasked with doing. To make things worse, the students who don’t have exceptionalities don’t get the instruction to which they are entitled. Teachers are spending most of their time dealing with the needs of those with ESE and ESE requirements or behavioral issues. Everyone loses.

    The longer this type of situation persists the more the for-profit prison systems will consume governmental budgets in the future. is this the design? Squeeze the public educational system, causing them to fail the next generation, only to create a path to incarceration. Something needs to change. So, I start law school next week with a major in education law. Nothing will change on its own. I just wish teachers had a greater voice. Most are simply afraid to speak-up lest they lose their job and their livelihood, not to mention their pension. The public needs to know what is going on. Its voice is the only mechanism for change.

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  • Carol

    Though I have loved teaching and have always felt it was what I was destined to do, I no longer wake up motivated, excited, and eager to start a
    new day. I cannot begin to tell you how the “Race to the Top”
    and “No Child Left Behind” has undermined our profession
    and has taken away our professional autonomy. I am sick and tired of
    educational elitists like Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, John King, and
    our own elected officials, pointing their fingers at the teachers for
    what is wrong in education. We are not what is wrong. Yes, there are
    exceptions in any profession, even in politics, but most of us are
    hard-working, dedicated, intelligent professionals.
    Here I am, yet again, unable to sleep because I know I have today’s
    responsibilities on my mind. I’m at the tail end of my career, but I
    still care enough to be up at 2 am. to prepare for my teaching day.
    One only needs to look at Finland to find out how to better improve
    education. They have it right. High stakes testing and targeting
    teachers is not what they do. They value and respect their teachers.
    How about taking a look at how all of the externals affect students’
    performance, like the poverty level and students’ behaviors? How
    about improving discipline in school? How about making the students
    accountable for their learning? Students are more than aware
    that if they don’t do well, the teacher will be held accountable for
    their lack of progress. The teacher will have to get more
    training, not them. How about encouraging more parental involvement
    outside of school? I am the teacher from 8-3. The parents are the
    teachers the rest of the time. I cannot do it all. My parents spent a
    great deal of time with me after school hours helping me learn what I
    might have not learned well enough in school and felt it was their
    responsibility to do so. I am lucky enough to work in a district
    where there is a high level of parental involvement, but I have heard
    story after story from colleagues in other districts who do not have
    that level support and are treated very disrespectfully.
    I just finished my formal observation lesson plan whose format was the
    equivalent of a college term paper, as I tried to make sure I linked,
    and cross-referenced, the NYS Core Curriculum Standards and the
    Danielson rubrics to each part of it. It took me seven hours to
    write one lesson plan. Is this really necessary? I have letter after
    letter from parents appreciating my teaching abilities. Yet I have
    to prove day after day to others that I am good at what I do.
    I have a partial solution to the observation expectations. Do you want
    to see if I’m doing a good job? Just put a camera in my classroom,
    and watch me all day long. Watch me as I differentiate instruction
    for the multiple levels of academic needs in my inclusion classroom.
    Watch me as I dance, sing, smile, and try to inject humor into my
    lessons so the children are not leaving school as defeated and
    demoralized as we teachers are. Watch me as I hug the children who
    are on the verge of tears because they are overwhelmed, tired, and
    frustrated because what we are teaching is not developmentally
    appropriate for most of our seven and eight year olds. Watch me as I
    try to hold it together, mentally and physically, when I am
    functioning on interrupted sleep, often waking up at two and three
    am. thinking about how my day can unfold seamlessly, and perfectly,
    in case I have an unannounced, evaluated walk-through.
    In what other profession does one have to be perfectly “ON” all
    day long? We are not automatons. We are human beings. But then, I
    remind myself that these evaluations make no difference, really.
    After all, our own governor has told us that we have far too many
    effective and highly effective teachers, and we just cannot have that
    happen again this year. Can you imagine that? Yes. Governor Cuomo
    has made it abundantly clear to us that this CANNOT and WILL NOT
    happen this year. So, I remind myself not to worry. After all, I’m
    just one of the bunch. I’m ORDINARY or, perhaps worse, developing or even inept. Imagine if I started my school year telling my students that? “Boys and girls, we had too many top students last year.” “That doesn’t make sense.”
    “There shouldn’t be so many high scoring students.” “So, just
    know that there cannot be as many this year.” “Do you
    understand, boys and girls?” What’s the message here? Where’s the
    motivation to excel?
    I have two years left to go. I don’t know if I’ll make it intact. It’s
    a shame that I have to leave my profession feeling this frustrated
    and disappointed. Yet, I try to go in everyday with a smile. We do
    because we know these 6, 7, and 8 year old youngsters deserve to have
    us at our best. Speaking of deserving, I’d have to say I deserve the
    teacher’s version of the Academy Award for best classroom actress. We
    teachers are all actors and actresses everyday when we go in feeling
    tired, defeated, and miserable while making every effort to infuse
    our classrooms with the joy of learning.
    Then there is the standardized testing component. Students are being
    tested on material that has not yet been taught. And, if they are
    unable to answer those questions, we teachers may be deemed
    “developing” or even worse, “ineffective”. Understanding
    that thousands, and perhaps even millions of dollars, has been spent
    on purchasing these tests and the companion on-line test prep
    programs, I doubt if school districts, nor the state, will be willing
    to listen to the public and end this lunacy. Imagine the money that
    has been wasted when it would’ve been better spent positively and
    proactively on inspirational, motivational professional
    development workshops, teaching materials and supplies, improving the
    self-esteem comes from being successful. It certainly does not
    physical workspace, and building self-esteem. By the way,
    evolve in a punitive atmosphere in which highly experienced,
    hard-working teachers’ actions, decisions, lessons, and motivations
    are continuously questioned and dissected. Where is the trust? Do
    I feel valued, appreciated and protected? No, I do not.
    Our cultural, governmental, economic, academic, and educational
    institutions each need a miraculous rebirth and reincarnation. Who
    courageous enough to take a stand and lead us to a morally and ethically
    higher ground? Oh, and before our politicians started pointing their fingers at us, they might have better served themselves by fixing their own profession. Imagine if they held themselves to the same level of rigor? They’d all be out of work!
    A Very Frustrated, Highly Experienced NYS Teacher

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  • IamVirg

    The biggest reason for me to leave is the evaluation system as I’m judged on how well my PGP is written and the 45 minute formal observation. It took me over 50 hours to write this year’s. It does not take into account any of the other lessons I provide or all the committees I am on or the thousands of dollars in grant funding or the award winning service learning project I founded or…plus I’m being judged on students I do not even see!

  • Kathie Marshall

    I retired in 2011 after nearly 40 years as an educator. I clearly remember one day when in my mid-forties I looked around my classroom and thought to myself how I could never even imagine myself not teaching. I just could not imagine it. Then along came NCLB and all the testing and disrespect and sucking the joy out of the classroom, and when I retired, I was so grateful to get away. I feel so sorry for younger teachers who never got a chance to learn and thrive and discover their inner creativity. Of course, many are ready to quit.

  • mrslito

    In FL, our students have spent endless hours preparing for the new “FSA Writing” test. While the test itself is great in concept, the way it has been handled and administered can only be described as a comedy of errors. The entire test is to be administered online last week with a new testing platform – AIR – which no one had seen until we were suddenly told 2 weeks ago to go to the computer labs for a “practice” test. Then, the day testing was to start, the whole system crashed due to a lack of bandwidth and egregious “bugs” in the system… Testing was cancelled and rescheduled 3 different times in the course of one week. Students had no idea if they were testing literally until they got to school. No one has been able to answer important questions, such as, “What is considered a ‘passing’ score? How will those who will be grading/scoring the test be trained if they have no background in Language Arts? Why is no one paying more attention to the farce that the FL Department of Education is playing out? I wonder if other states are making the same level of bone-headed decisions.

  • J

    I have been teaching elementary classrooms full time since 1980. I love the classroom, but the high stakes, competitive atmosphere along with high student numbers, full push in, and general student apathy have accelerated my decision to leave the classroom. I wanted to teach students as long as I could, expecting to teach at least another 6-10 years. I have decided that pretty much anything else will be my occupation after next year. The physical, mental, and emotional toll have made it impossible to consider otherwise. I am sad and exhausted. My years and years of continuing education mean nothing, as I am constantly told what I am doing must be focused on testing outcomes. I pray that education changes before I have grandchildren, or I will find a way to educate them privately. Public education is not based on developmentally appropriate learning. Teachers are one of the lowest paid but highest stress professional degrees. Public opinion leaves us like raw meat hanging in an old trap.

  • Mario Castellanos

    I know that based on research the worse teaching strategy I can use with my ELL learners is a cycle of test and retest. In one month I was required to administer 20 assessments to collect data. I attempted to inform my administrator that all the testing would take away from instructional time …In response I was told to “stay the course” and I was informed I would receive daily walk throughs …so much for best practices…I just chuckled in disbelief..

  • kathleen

    I don’t think the problem is evaluating students for.growth using standardized tests. The problem is overtesting. New Jersey is requiring two tests each year beginning in third grade. This takes away from educational time, puts unnecessary stress on students and derails the love of learning and teaching.

  • teeky2

    Arne Duncan is FULLY aware of the effects of standardized over-testing. The question is, “What’s he going to do with that knowledge?” The answer is “nothing”. He is too beholden to big money and Wall Street. Mr. Duncan is a for-profit privatizer at heart.

  • English Teacher

    Capriciously, not “capricious lyrics”. I don’t even know where that came from, but English teacher has to correct the error.

  • a. elston

    Putting so much emphasis on test scores drives teachers away from positions where they would have more at risk students. As a teacher, if I am going to be evaluated for my students performance, should i take a job where students have a lot of learning gaps? The best teachers should not be driven away from positions where they are needed. If you say that teachers who choose not to work in under performing schools because of test scores must not really have their priorities strait as an educator, you do not understand the pressure placed on educators. I don’t like the idea of being labeled as a failure because not enough kids could pass an exam. They may not be able to pass a state exam, and it doesn’t matter if their reading levels increase by 3 grade levels throughout 1 year? Other measures of student performance should matter. I work in a district that loses 50 percent of its teachers every two years, and I don’t see enough support happening. I have a hard job, and the main reason I keep at it is for the students.