I'M OUT: When Wendy Bradshaw of Willow Oak, Florida, posted her resignation letter from Polk County Public Schools on Facebook, she simply said, "Feel free to share if it strikes you as important." So far, 65,000 people felt it was just that.
Bradshaw was a special education teacher at R. Bruce Wagner Elementary in Lakeland, Florida. She believes that an increases in testing and recent policy reforms "not only disregard 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" have curdled her love for teaching. Her letter came the day before the Obama administration said there should be a limit on standardized testing.
She cited student frustrations and developmentally inappropriate requirements as the hardest things to deal with. She likens failures of the system to the behavior disorders she sees in her students but cannot address because of new, rigid restrictions on her instruction time. The last straw, though, was the dread she felt about sending her daughter into a system she herself didn't believe in.
Polk Superintendent of Schools Kathryn LeRoy agreed with Bradshaw, saying that "accountability is smothering everybody." She said this pressure is making it hard to recruit good teachers.