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Teacher’s Resignation Letter Goes Viral: ‘I Tried to Do What I Could Within the System'

Teacher’s Resignation Letter Goes Viral: ‘I Tried to Do What I Could Within the System'

Wendy Bradshaw spent 14 years earning her education degrees, including her doctorate. After spending six years as a special education teacher in a Florida elementary school, she posted her resignation letter to her Facebook page and it quickly went viral.

Bradshaw made the decision to share her resignation letter to her page after she told ABC News that when she quit, she felt that no one in the school cared.

“…they just closed the door,” Bradshaw said to ABC News.

Prior to quitting, she said she did what she could “within the system” to address her issues with Florida’s curriculum and the education system in general- a system she calls full of practices “which are not only ineffective but actively harmful to child development and the learning process.”

She describes in her letter of resignation how her special needs children have been forced to cry with frustration “as they are asked to attempt tasks well out of their zone of proximal development.”

”My master’s degree work focused on behavior disorders, so I can say with confidence that it is not the children who are disordered,” she said in her post.

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.

In a response to her letter, Polk County Public Schools released a statement wishing Bradshaw the best and thanking her for her time, but said it would not be doing any interviews in response to the “personal matter of her decision,” said ABC News.

Bradshaw is not the first special education teacher to speak out against the curriculum required for special needs students, specifically through standardized testing.

In June, New York special education teacher Brian Zorn wrote a post for The Wall Street Journal where he said that Common Core and standardized testing was leaving his students behind.

Zorn described New York "statewide exams as 'six horrific days’ in his classroom [where] students who had begun to improve and build confidence throughout the year were forced to attempt to answer questions above their grade level.” 

Like Bradshaw, Zorn said that standardized tests reduced his special needs students to tears- succumbing to frustration after at-times not being able to understand a single question on the mandated exams.

See Bradshaw’s full resignation letter below:

 

 

Today I resigned from the school district. I would like to share with you what I gave them. Feel free to share it if it...

Posted by Wendy Bradshaw on Friday, October 23, 2015

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

11/05/2015

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