May 28, 2013

Once upon a time, public schools represented what was best about our democracy. Now, under the guise of "reform," the art of teaching has been dismissed and the emphasis is on mechanized testing (which, not incidentally, is making a lot of people very, very rich). This Illinois teacher posted this viral video last week after finding out she was being moved to a different school against her will --- in retaliation, she says, for sticking up for her kids:

An impassioned video resignation by a teacher with 15 years of experience blasts the state of public education in the US, which she claims is now more focused on tests than children's welfare.

Ellie Rubenstein, who taught fourth grade in Highland Park, Illinois, posted the emotional speech last week after hearing that she was going to be transferred to another school against her will.

In the ten-minute footage, posted on YouTube under the user name Iquityoucantfireme, Rubenstein claims she had to 'get out before her sense of self and self-worth was completely obliterated.'

The former teacher says: 'Raising students' test scores on standardized tests is now the only goal, and in order to achieve it the creativity, flexibility and spontaneity that create authentic learning environments have been eliminated.

'Everything I love about teaching is extinct,' she continued. The video has since had nearly 335,000 views.

Rubenstein starts the video by explaining how she left a business career to earn a master's degree in education at night school while bringing up twins in order to 'do something meaningful.'

But she goes on to explain her frustration with how that world has changed.
'I was proud to say I was a teacher,' Rubenstein states.

'But over the past 15 years, I've experienced the depressing, gradual downfall and misdirection of communication that has slowly eaten away at my love of teaching.'

She adds that she now feels like she is now 'not being allowed to do anything meaningful' but is 'instead forced to act as as cog in a wheel that is turning in the wrong direction.'

Later in her resignation the tearful woman admits she is 'backing down with a sad and heavy heart.'

The final straw for Rubenstein was a dispute between her (along with three other teachers) and the school administrators.

According to Highland Park News, the teachers were given mandatory transfers to other schools in the district on May 16.

Rubenstein told the paper: 'This is a total kangaroo court, a retaliation against four teachers who are quite vocal in advocating for their children.'

'We are at the forefront of speaking our minds and at the forefront of advocating for our students.

'We are all being falsely accused by the administration and some colleagues of doing things we have never done, and saying things we have never said.'

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