Kris L. Neilson of Monroe, North Carolina quit his job last week by writing a letter to Union County Public Schools. Now his letter is getting national attention for its bold criticism of the public school system, administrators and standardized tests. Neilson’s words, which may seem harsh or even whiny to an outsider, have rung true with educators across the country. He criticizes schools for teaching only the test, for stifling creativity, and most notably, for wasting teachers’ time and talents. You can read the full letter here. This is an excerpt:
I refuse to be led by a top-down hierarchy that is completely detached from the classrooms for which it is supposed to be responsible.
I will not spend another day under the expectations that I prepare every student for the increasing numbers of meaningless tests.
I refuse to be an unpaid administrator of field tests that take advantage of children for the sake of profit.
One major problem is that our educational system has been politicized, and thus no one can agree on anything. Instead of working together towards common goals, educators and administrators fight over insignificant details in order to gain political clout. It’s counterproductive for adults and it’s extremely detrimental to our children. That’s why I started the group Residents Against the Politicalization of Education. We threw our first RAPE party last week. Turnout was NOT good. It was just the board members and a couple random dudes from Florida State. In hindsight I think that had more to do with the marketing than with the cause itself.