Putting Education Reform To The Test

The Resignation Letter That Has Common Core Critics Talking

As the spring semester winds down around the country, one teacher, Gerald Conti, is not going quietly.

flickr / griffithchris

Gerald Conti's resignation letter is making waves with critics of the Common Core.

Conti is retiring from Westhill High School in Syracuse, NY at the end of this school year and his resignation letter has become a manifesto for critics of the Common Core.

In his letter — which he posted in full on Facebook — Conti laments that the push towards standardized testing and the Common Core has fundamentally changed teaching:

“STEM rules the day and “data driven” education seeks only conformity, standardization, testing and a zombie-like adherence to the shallow and generic Common Core, along with a lockstep of oversimplified so-called Essential Learnings. … My profession is being demeaned by a pervasive atmosphere of distrust, dictating that teachers cannot be permitted to develop and administer their own quizzes and tests (now titled as generic “assessments”) or grade their own students’ examinations.“

According to a profile of Conti from The Post Standard, the retiring teacher sent the letter in February, but it blew up on the web after he posted it to Facebook in March. More than 2,500 people have shared the letter since March 29th.

Conti is not the first person to outline criticism of the movement towards new standards and testing, but his conclusions about the changing culture of education struck a nerve:

“For the last decade or so, I have had two signs hanging above the blackboard at the front of my classroom, they read, “Words Matter” and “Ideas Matter”. While I still believe these simple statements to be true, I don’t feel that those currently driving public education have any inkling of what they mean.“

What do you make of the letter? Leave us a note in the comments.


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