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Teacher Retires After Leadership Class Cut for Not Being Part of Common Core Curriculum

Teacher Retires After Leadership Class Cut for Not Being Part of Common Core Curriculum

Backlash against the Common Core persists after a highly-awarded New York City English teacher announced his retirement because of concern over the sacrifices being made for the standards.

Tom Porton, according to The New York Times, has been an English teacher at James Monroe School for 45 years, frequently using his relationship with his students to help aid the problems riddling the Bronx neighborhood he taught in.

Part of Porton’s work was in helping spread awareness and information about HIV and AIDS, a disease that still remains a danger to the residents of South Bronx.

For 25 years, NYT said, Porton handed out fliers in honor of World AIDS Day, which included nonsexual ways of expressing intimacy. The principal deemed these fliers inappropriate and asked Porton to stop handing them out and to collect the fliers already distributed.

This was the last straw for Porton, who was already angered at the cancelation of his 40-student leadership class; he announced his retirement shortly after.

The school’s principal said the class had to be canceled "because he said it was not part of the standard curriculum, even though the class met before the formal start of the school day. Because of that, combined with Mr. Porton’s disappointment over the standardized test frenzy that rules in many schools, he chose to leave,” NYT said.

In a post on his Facebook page, Porton described working under the Common Core Standards as a form of "torture." 

"As an English teacher, having to teach more classes, especially those based on EngageNY, the Common Core English curriculum that allows students to go through high school without reading a single complete novel, play, or biography, is torture for me," Porton wrote in his Facebook post, seen below. 


So many emotions as I write this...Mr. Tom Porton has decided that he will retire this year. He has made a tremendous...

Posted by James Monroe High School, Bronx NY on Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Many current students and former students are devastated by the news, but Porton told NYT that his work in education is not over. He said he is actively “looking for a job” and is hoping that someone will offer him a position to make use of his expertise.

Porton is not the first widely-respected educator to retire from a New York school due to dissatisfaction with the current state of education.

Porton’s announcement brings to memory the retirement of Carol Burris, who quit her position as principal after her growing concern that Common Core was hurting both students and educators alike.

She announced her retirement last May to dedicate her time to being an advocate for public school education. Burris was New York’s Principal of the Year in 2013.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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