Opine I will

I am a retired elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

I need to set the record straight

I teach my students that their reputation is the most important asset they own. Your reputation is determined by your actions, your deeds, and also how you are viewed by others. Therefore, it is vital that  you understand that your reputation ultimately defines you. Success is not judged by how much you make, but rather, real success is judged by your character and how others view your actions and deeds.  I believe this with my heart and soul.

Unfortunately, my character was questioned by an unproven allegation. Ultimately it was determined I did no wrong and the allegation was unfounded. I write this posting today as a record of what has transpired over the last two days. I also owe my students and their parents an accurate representation as to what occurred so that they may be fully informed.

My views on the Common Core and high stakes testing,  are well documented on this blog as well as on other web sites including Facebook and Twitter. I  assumed that one day, I would be challenged for my beliefs, and I have even commented that teachers live in fear of retribution for their beliefs. Well this week it was my turn to be challenged. Not only was my professional judgement challenged, my First Amendment Rights were challenged.

It all  began Wednesday evening with the following “tweets”;

tweet ccss

My initial tweet was an editorial comment based on a Common Core standard (which includes a similar example in the standard), and included a generic example that can be found in many practice workbooks. As you can see Allison Sitts, aka, IthacaGorges took exception to my message and accused me of posting an actual test question.  I followed up with a response stating that it was not an actual test question. At this point I thought little of Allison, I didn’t remember conversing with her before and just assumed the conversation was over.  Well it wasn’t!

The next morning ( Thursday) I administered part 2 of the New York State Math  Common Core Math assessments to my class. Immediately following this exam, ( It was literally minutes after collecting the test books.) My principal was standing at my classroom doorway , with a very distraught and serious look on her face, and says, “I need you to come outside now.”

I say, “OK, I’ll be right there.”

She then says, ” I need you right now. “

My first thoughts are about the well being of my elderly parents, my wife or my children.. so I leave the room and find my Superintendent there, who immediately hands me a letter, and says. “you must come with me now.” Without having time to read the letter, I grab a pen, and a notebook and then he, and my principal escorted me downstairs, into the administrative wing and ultimately into his office. On the way down he informs me that my union representative and union president are on the way and that they will join us. Once in the office, as we waited for my representative to arrive, I read the letter and it said that I was going to be interviewed regarding concerns about my workplace conduct. So there I sat.. wondering what is this about?

Once my representatives arrived, I was initially questioned whether or not I posted test questions on the internet, on my blog , or on Twitter. I replied I did not and then I was shown the tweets that are at the center of this controversy. I explained that it was a generic example with an editorial comment, and that I am entitled to post  my opinion. He then informed me that Alllison Sitts , who I just then found out is a math specialist for Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga- Boces, sent an e-mail to my principal accusing me of posting test questions and suggested my district conduct an investigation. ( Now to be fair, as of today I have not read that e-mail because it has not been provided to me yet.)

Based on this,  my superintendent informed me that he would be contacting the Nassau County BOCES Superintendent and the New York State Education Department, regarding my ” posting of a state test question.” He then informed me that I would be placed on administrative leave and would not be allowed back into my classroom. As you can well imagine, a heated discussion followed which I will not disclose at this time. Throughout the entire discussion I maintained my position that under the First Amendment I am entitled to post my opinions, and that I did not post any test questions.

I immediately expressed a concern for my students. I told him my students saw me removed from my classroom, and I know that they will be upset.I was basically told,  they don’t know why you left and they’ll get over it. I also expressed a concern that my students are facing a 6th day of extensive testing the next day and that it was unfair that they will be forced to face it without their teacher ‘s encouraging words. As you can imagine, that appeal fell on deaf ears.

I asked why didn’t they wait until my prep period to summon me thereby not having the children observe me being escorted out. I also questioned, why I was being removed from the classroom, and why couldn’t the investigation continue while I was teaching. Was I a threat to the school or my students???

 I was told that upon the advice of the district’s counsel I was being placed on administrative leave.

I was offered the choice of remaining in an office to work on lesson plans or I can work from home. At this point, after consulting with my representatives, and a NYSUT ( our union) attorney I decided to work from home. I then had to wait until my students lunch period, so that I may be escorted by my principal to my room, to gather my personal belongings.

I then left the building and went home.

On Friday, I received a hand delivered letter at home, with a directive to pick one of three thematic units to develop. As I sat home wondering when I would be allowed to return to my class ( I never had any doubt  that I wouldn’t) I set to work on my project.. Upon the advise of my counsel. I ‘laid low’ , I didn’t tweet, post on my blog, or answer parent’s emails that were questioning what happened because they heard I was escorted out. I put my energies into the task at hand, developing a Social Studies- LA unit. As you may have guessed I decided to develop a unit based on the Bill of Rights, specifically the First Amendment.I knew I would be vindicated so I did  what I was instructed to do.

As I was completing my task, just before 3 PM I received a phone call from the District Superintendent. He informed me that he filed a report with the New York State Education Department and that they have cleared me. I was now welcome to go back to my school on Monday.

Last night as I was answering parent e-mails that I put aside during this ordeal, I discovered that parents thought I was arrested! You see my students went home upset, and one thing led to another.

Hopefully my student’s parents will find their way to this blog, the rumors will end, and my reputation will be made whole. I look forward to teaching my students the importance of the First Amendment and how you should never allow anyone to take your rights away.

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75 thoughts on “I need to set the record straight

  1. Anonymous on said:

    Mr Ratto, thank you for setting the record straight. The rumor was that you were arrested which was very upsetting to my 10 yr old son. I have had you teach both my children, my daughter for 2 years, and now my son and I told him that i know up would never do anything to compromise your students or yourself. I am very happy that yo will be back in school on Monday. I myself being so sick to my stomach left a message for our superintendent asking to clarify the rumor. I think it is a disgrace that in today’s day, where teachers are fighting for their students they can’t cont on their peers to be supporters. I chose to take a stand against common core and now I choose to take a stand for my teacher!

  2. Anonymous on said:

    Just saw my post ad anonymous- my name is Maureen Bryant

  3. I’m wondering about the behavior of Ms. Sitts in all this and whether what she did is actionable by you. I trust you have retained counsel. If not, you might want to look into suing her for damages. I know I would be in your shoes.

  4. Anonymous on said:

    Another thought on this as I discuss this issue with community members- yes, why didn’t he wait until the end of the day? Why put your the position to think harm came to your family? Why let these children take the test you have tried to prepare them for without you? But then again, as I spread the word, this is the same man who DURING State testing wandered into several classrooms and flipped through children’s completed tests causing unnecessary noise and disruption. Again you have my support and many others. Maureen Bryant

  5. lainie on said:

    I am so sorry that this happened to you and your students. I was placed on admin leave for allegedly throwing a pencil at a student. A week into my leave, it was uncovered that the student had lied, she loved causing drama, and I was allowed back. However, no apology was issued, verbally or in writing, and I was told by my union president and an apology would never happen in this lifetime. I was humiliated, terrified, and angry. I hope that your students were able to bounce back from this disgusting situation and that you have healed. Stand strong……

  6. I too share Michael Goldenberg’s opinion regarding the actions taken by Ms. Sitts. She set in motion the events which you had to endure. Thankfully you were vindicated. If I was in your shoes I would be motivated to sue her for defamation of character. Your students, I’m sure missed your presence at school as this was an unnecessary distraction for them during a most important time.

    Ms. Sitts or @ ithacaGorges or whatever she calls herself should butt out of trolling the Twitterverse looking to stir up trouble. She should remember the lessons learned from the 1950’s during the red scare which bred McCarthyism: just by accusing someone of being a communist (or compromising the integrity of the NYS Assessments) does not make it so. What’s amusing is that you tweeted in response to her that your Tweet question wasn’t from the assessment but was a PRACTICE question, incredible. Instead of giving you the benefit of the doubt as a fellow educator/professional, she took it upon herself to set in motion the events you so eloquently described in your post.

    As someone beginning my journey as an educator, I am so put off by those who seek to make their name at the expense of others. That behavior was what I saw a lot of in the business world and that’s why I looked to change careers and become a teacher: to make a difference in children’s lives. I wear many hats as a teacher to my students: friend, advocate, father-figure, mentor etc. I do this because I know I make an impact, as I’m sure Mr. Ratto does. How did Ms. Sitts’ actions help her students and Mr. Ratto’s? The answer: Zero, they served no purpose except perhaps helping to heal her bruised ego.

    Here on Long Island and in the New York Tri-State area, due to the mass media, there is an unfortunate focus on all the bad things teachers, especially male teachers do. Typically, the press is reserved for severe allegations of misconduct and criminal activity. This bad press does a disservice to all male teachers who wish to make a difference at our elementary schools. At the elementary level it’s tough going finding employment or interviews.

    Mr. Ratto, congratulations on your Vindication, but Ms. Sitts needs to proclaim on Twitter that her actions against you was wrong. Also if this is how teachers treat each other, I would gladly take the place of one of your students Mr. Ratto. I’m sure they’re going to get so much out of your Bill of Rights/1st Amendment Unit/Lesson.

    Keep up the good work.
    Steve Keegan

  7. aidanfromworcester on said:

    Sorry about this entire ordeal. Teachers deserve a lot better. I’ve been teaching for nine years and I am trying to find a new line of work because of stuff like this. I have a private Facebook account and was reprimanded when they somehow went around the privacy blocks and found two pictures of me that I had to answer for. One was a picture of me drinking a beer on St. Patrick’s Day. The other one was a picture I was tagged in that I didn’t remove because I hadn’t been on Facebook in days (I wasn’t that active on it at the time). The picture had the “N” word in it, which I obviously would have taken down had I seen it. When I asked them how often I was supposed to check my Facebook to make sure this didn’t happen I was told to just get rid of my Facebook because of this risk. So basically as a teacher you are held to a ridiculous standard (your evaluation is based on the test scores of your students), you are paid less than a prison guard (who doesn’t need a college degree) and the 1st Amendment does not apply to you. Why would anyone want to go into this profession? SMH

  8. Jenny on said:

    I saw my principal copying the ENTIRE math test onto loose leaf when I went to the office to return my student’s exams. How about that for cheating? Who knows, maybe one of his relatives will now get a perfect score on an impossible exam.

  9. I can’t overstate how disturbing I find this incident. It’s one thing to ask if you’ve copied a problem directly from a secure test. It’s quite another to assert you have when you have not, and then, having been told as much, to go to your employers to try to destroy your career (in the current climate of testing, cheating, and related hysteria, what other outcome could she have expected were her charges found to have veracity).

    Given her apparent gung-ho pro-CCSSI views and chummy relationship with math standards honcho Bill McCallum (or perhaps just her desire to be in with the in-crowd), Ms. Sitts appears to be operating out of a direct dislike for opposition to those standards. If so, her actions are even more heinous.

    But perhaps I’m jumping to conclusions about her. Maybe she’s not a climbing, advancement-hungry Standardista looking to lift herself over the corpses of professionals who dare hold views different from her own. If not, it would be unfair of me to write a blog piece to that effect, then make contact with her employers to attempt to ruin HER career, despite the fact that apparently she has no such scruples.

    • Anonymous on said:

      Please don’t drag Bill McCallum’s name into this. He’d prefer to go back to being a math department chair than deal with all of this drama. He is on record saying he doesn’t agree with the way the tests are being used here in NY and around the country.
      More importantly, NY teachers (even NYSUT members) are largely in favor of the standards. It’s the implementation, not the standards, that are the problem here.
      The key question is, who in New York benefits from a top secret test and bullying tactics? Certainly not McCallum.
      I’d venture a guess, but I’m also a teacher and I depend upon my job to care for my family.

      • “Drag Bill McCallum’s name into it”?

        He continues to act as if what he has delivered via the CCSSI math standards is gold. Obviously, SOMEONE was going to take the job to head up their creation, but he is the one who accepted it. Maybe he honestly didn’t see the 500 lb corporate deform gorilla in the room, but if not, he should have his eyes checked.

    • Ned Scott on said:

      Groupthink, the mantra of the school reform movement and SMSD administrators, is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

      Loyalty to the group requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the “ingroup” produces an “illusion of invulnerability” (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the “ingroup” significantly overrates their own abilities in decision-making, and significantly underrates the abilities of their opponents (the “outgroup”).


      Type I: Overestimations of the group — its power and morality
      1. Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
      2. Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.
      Type II: Closed-mindedness
      1. Rationalizing warnings that might challenge the group’s assumptions.
      2. Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, impotent, or stupid.
      Type III: Pressures toward uniformity
      1. Self-censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
      2. Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
      3. Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of “disloyalty”
      4. Mind guards— self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.
      Groupthink, resulting from the symptoms listed above, results in defective decision-making. That is, consensus-driven decisions are the result of the following practices of groupthinking[11]
      1. Incomplete survey of alternatives
      2. Incomplete survey of objectives
      3. Failure to examine risks of preferred choice
      4. Failure to reevaluate previously rejected alternatives
      5. Poor information search
      6. Selection bias in collecting information
      7. Failure to work out contingency plans.

      • Old Poor Richard on said:

        Thank you for this post on groupthink. It is very informative. If you know how to recognize the symptoms of a disease, you’re on the road to preventing it.

      • Connie Zimmermann on said:

        Hi Ned Scott, your post reminded me of what I’ve learned when researching the threat of the United Nations Agenda 21 and the tactics which are being used to implement it… one of the main tactics is the Delphi Technique, which I’ve come to understand is a way to develop concensus. But the Left uses a Saul Alinsky-ized version of it. It is where they give you the illusion that you are participating in a consensus developing meeting or series of meetings, where the truth is that you are simply guided through an excercise with a predetermined outcome.

        The first place this subversive technique was used was actually in community meetings about education. This is before is was used to advance Agenda 21.

        My understanding is that Common Core is the education component of Agenda 21 (UNESCO).


  10. GregorSamsa on said:

    “Standardista!” Love it. I was wondering what to call the fanatics.

  11. Concerned Educator on said:

    I am so sorry this has happened to you. Hopefully it won’t quiet your comments. I hope your union leaders and your students’ parents take this to your errant accuser and her supervisors. Her false charges cannot go unanswered.

  12. Anonymously Living in Communist China, Too on said:

    This is a two-way street; Miss Sitts need to be held accountable for her egregious actions. Seems like a liable suit that is win-able.

  13. gremlin1 on said:

    To paraphrase Madeline Albright, “There’s a special place in hell for teachers to do harm to other teachers.” Keep fighting for your student’s, sir, but don’t get caught up in trying to reason with Ms. Sitts. Ignore, ignore, ignore!

  14. schoolgal on said:

    I just did a search of her Twitter account, and it seems the comments are not following a sequence. For instance, your reply that it wasn’t from the test is not shown, however your replies about not trusting her are which makes no sense in that context. Is it possible she deleted your response about the test question to Cover Her A$$???

  15. Thank to all for the words of support. Let’s please keep our comments on the professional level. As far as Allison is concerned I only stated the facts.. I am sure she has already heard your message.

    Our real concern is the continued attacks on our credibility as educators.

  16. Anonymous on said:

    The system worked exactly correctly. Anyone with real brains now knows who is a knee jerk elitist ignorant know it all (Sitts), who are the lemmings (your district), who are the only winners in all this (legal counsel), who the losers are, and who in all actuality mean little to the educational bureaucracy thanks to administrative egotism,and finally (with utmost certainty) who is an excellent educator–Mr. Ratto.

    • Old Poor Richard on said:

      I don’t get how “the system worked exactly correctly.” The way this incident was handled suggested that a teacher was accused of criminal misconduct against a student. Interesting to witness “zero tolerance” and extreme overreaction being wielded against faculty the way it is used against pupils. If this is an example of the system working correctly, that a teacher is removed from the classroom because of a non-profane tweet, then the system is seriously broken.

  17. Pingback: This Teacher Sets the Record Straight | Diane Ravitch's blog

  18. Character and class, even under fire. Thank you for representing our profession well.

  19. Joe Bleaux on said:

    You may write to Ms. Stitts at asitts@tstboces.org.

  20. I am sorry that happened to you. It sounded like it was really unhealthy for your students to watch (especially during a testing week). If my child had you as a teacher, I would be on the phone complaining on how they handled it. I would FOIA all the email concerning this matter, you do not know what was said internally. Your reputation is everything and they tried to ruin your’s publicly. Your principal and superintendent owe you an apology. Really sad we’re all working in a time where back-biting is becoming more and more prevalent. All educators have to join together or we’re going to end up like the country of Wisconsin. Good luck with this, you have a lot of people standing behind you.

  21. J. Helping on said:

    Allison Sitts, Mathematics Instructional Specialist, is in charge of planning and implementing a customized, professional development service for TST BOCES and component school districts in the area of mathematics. Currently, Allison provides Network Team support to local districts and focuses her efforts on Race to the Top initiatives, including the Common Core Learning Standards for Mathematics and Data Driven Instruction. Other professional development offerings include curriculum mapping, differentiated instruction, using literature as an instructional aid, and using data to meet individual student needs. She is responsible for organizing and facilitating a K-8 Math Coaches Network which is an initiative to open the communication of ideas and best practices in the mathematics area in grades K-8. Allison will also be spending some time working with Model Schools and integrating educational technology.

    To contact Allison:
    607.257.1555 ext. 368

    • Kathleen on said:

      What an awful way for a coach to act. Coaching relationships must, first and foremost, be based upon trust.

      I’m sorry you had to go through this.

  22. persephonesmother on said:

    Reblogged this on Persephone's Mother and commented:
    It appears we no longer live in a country in which we are free to speak out about injustice. This is beyond ridiculous & the idiot who reported him needs to suffer some type of consequence. Karma can be a bitch.

  23. Angela Gaudioso-Klein on said:

    What a disgrace this happened to you, if things keep up this way , no one will go into teaching any longer!

  24. All of this is BS…..Let there be BLOG according to 1st amendment. Sheesh..thank God u back in class…teach on.

  25. Reading this makes me thankful for our current technology, and at the same time a bit leery of it. It’s wonderful that we have this outlet to express the aforementioned 1st Amendment rights, but really unfortunate that some people feel the need to make themselves offended by what comes of that freedom. Glad you were cleared, and hopefully the rumors will disappear quickly. Not being a litigious person, I wouldn’t say “sue this creep,” but something needs to be done to make you whole again.

  26. Joan Dillon on said:

    I am sorry this happened to you. Allison Sitts should be ashamed of herself and should have checked her facts.

  27. Outside the school’s walls it’s innocent until proven guilty. How did we get to the point where it’s just the opposite for teachers inside? This seems like a real trust breaker for your principal. That’s the message I would get if I worked at your school. I am a former principal and I would certainly believe a teacher if they told me the question wasn’t on the test. It is a simple matter to prove it either way. Why would a teacher lie knowing he would be caught if he did indeed post a real test question. Perhaps this will serve as one more more nail in the testing culture coffin. You might enjoy my summary of “The Myths of Standardized Testing.” http://bit.ly/lJLUNR Let me know and hang in there.

  28. ClayCoMOPolitics on said:

    Reblogged this on Conservative Teachers of America and commented:
    A good example of why so many teachers are afraid to speak out about Common Core. Doing so does put you at risk. Teachers still need to do it regardless of the risks.

  29. Connie Zimmermann on said:

    The people behind the Common Core State Standards are a well-orchestrated lot. I consider them a threat to our Country. As they say, “You can have Liberty, or you can have Federalized Marxist-indoctrinating Education… pick one”.

    I’m so sorry to hear that this has happened to you Mr. Ratto. I live in Louisiana and we are in the throes of fighting Common Core at this very moment.

    The 400 data points and complete loss of the privacy of our children and our families are a hot topic right now.

  30. I’m so sorry you had to deal with all this. Honestly, it’s my worst nightmare! I’ve been teaching for 37 years, but I’ll never understand the educators who are so quick to make others look bad. Unfortunately, I have colleagues like that. I still believe that most people in this world are good and believe in those of us who work hard to do the best we can for the kids.

    Teaching has evolved tremendously since I’ve been in the field. Many of the changes are good. Unfortunately, the abundance of testing and it’s impact has brought out the worst in many.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  31. I am so sorry that you had to go thought this ordeal Mr.. Ratto. It’s incredibly dispiriting to hear about this so I’m sure experiencing it was tenfold the negative experience. It is heartening to see the response you’ve received here, not just from fellow educators by also from community members. I hope that helps you move beyond this and back into teaching with passion. How sad that we have now started to “eat our own” as one way to deal with the assault on public education. Please know that your twitter friends have your back. For whatever that’s worth.

  32. Anonymous on said:

    Seems Allison sitts ex husband had her accused of misconduct in her previous school -which maybe why she feels the need to pry into something before getting her facts straight! Just sayin!

  33. Jenny on said:

    This is bullshit! If it makes you feel better something similiar happened to me. I applaud you for standing up for yourself. It’s inspiring and will hopefull lead to more teachers to do the same. In this day and age of “effective, ineffective, etc.” that takes courage. You absolutely need to hire counsel- someone who specializes in teachers getting screwed like this. I could probably word that better, but you get my point. A personal attorney will be of more help to you. You can begin by filing a complaint with the EEOC- but it must be done within a year (I think) of the incident. There are some top lawyers in your area. Your personel councel will be better than union reps and your union attorney. It will cost you a few grand, but you can sue for damages in court:

    1) This ridiculous bitch spread proved untruths about you over social media- thereby defaming your character., 2) The district clearly didn’t investigate this claim before going ape shit on you- which is beyond irresponsible. They have their own attorney who should have been consulted before they took any action in front of you. Had they investigated her accusation, they would have found it to be untrue. But that’s administration for you- jumping the gun. Finally, pulling you out in front of your class is inexcusable.

    I would send a typed letter home, in a sealed envelope, with each kid. This letter should explain, in detail, exactly what happened to you. Parents hear so much through the grapevine, and they deserve the truth. YOu have every right to tell your parents the truth. If you catch any crap from your boss or any higher ups for doing this, I would simply say, your parents and students have a right to know how you were falsely accused, and you are simply clearing your name. Perhaps you should seek legal counsel before this, but I see nothing wrong with it. If you end up getting a bad evaluation, your lawyer can claim it’s arbitrary and capricious. I know in Michigan, “student growth MUST be the dominant factor when evaluating a teacher. Keep fighting…please.

  34. Jenny on said:

    Sorry for all the spelling and grammatical errors. I was in a hurry, but had to respond when I read this.

  35. OMG, This MUST have been HORRENDOUS for you?. 😦

    I hope that EVERYTHING is sorted out as soon as is possible.

  36. Anonymous on said:

    Would have been a simple and easy for the principal and superintendent to solve the issue, without a full blow investigation, could have been handled by a quick email exchange with you–Q on your twitter account you mentioned a typical math question from an example problem. Could you please show me this source? A. Sure may I catch you during my planning period or lunch?
    The end

  37. Anonymous on said:

    In the District I was in teachers had NO First Amendment rights

    • I think you are right: teachers are frequently told that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to them. It applies to students, to parents, to attackers of any stripe, but not to the people who would defend themselves or their ideas about teaching.

  38. Pingback: Teacher dragged out of class for tweeting about Common Core | Grumpy Opinions

  39. LADYJUSTICE on said:

    Where is little Ms. Allison now? She doesn’t have to much to say for herself does she? I can totally empathize and sympathize with your situation. I have been through a similar ordeal, and know that it is very taxing on the mind. I am glad this ended swiftly and positively for you…,and it should have, since I fell you have done absolutely nothing wrong. Today….it seems that any opposition in the educational testing field is under scrutiny..and brought up on charges. Good luck to you.

  40. Try, and you can.

  41. Peg Metzger ( Bflo, NY) on said:

    I’ll bet that she feels super duper important with that job description. As such a super duper important person, she must think that she has been given the duty to check and evaluate everyone on the planet… and since she probably thinks of herself in the third person ( sometimes plural), her lot in life is to ferret out the faults of others and bring them to justice,( or have them flogged, hung and quartered.) The SuperDupers don’t make mistakes, they make casualties.

    This exaulted station in life most likely started in utero and her first breath was the beginning of a long series of “tattle tales “which made her the “favorite” and reinforced her pathetic sense of superiority. Pity her siblings.

    Getting ahead in a career by stomping on other people’s faces is effective when the supervisors are also “face walkers” who know they are not qualified for the jobs they have, and are petrified that that everyone will find out the truth. Hence the Superintendent…

    Right now I would not want to be the Finger Lake Twit that started your unfortunate trip to hell this week. I am sorry for the emotional roller-coaster that your wife and children suffered knowing that you were “in trouble”.

    I am happy that you are vindicated, and if you decide to sue ,I’ll contribute to your lawyers fee.

    Thanks for your wonderful blog. I have been a follower for months. Peace to you, Ratto.

  42. All this over simple order of operations and standard form. Ugh! Please keep up the blog. Alice may be watching, but there are people watching her now. I can’t think of anything worse than a math fascist.

    We are fighting to keep the Common Core out of Fairbanks, Alaska schools.

  43. More and more our government is serving as the “jack booted thugs” of industry. A complaint rolls in but was there any follow up on the complaint? Was any evidence offered (copy of a blog post, test question reference, actual test quation being alluded to?) or was there just a knee jerk reaction of the school district to respond to a coporate master?

    I wonder.

    I am sorry this happened, not just to you, but to anyone. How many times has this happened to someone who got railroaded because they didn’t have union representation or the balls to inssit on their rights?

  44. Pingback: Mr G's Idle Musings » Blog Archive » My Diigo 04/29/2013

  45. Pingback: Remainders: A teacher learns a lesson about N.Y.’s test secrecy | GothamSchools

  46. Excellent post. I am so glad that you wrote this. People need to know that teachers have 1st amendment rights, too. We are supposed to live in a country where we can disagree with others in power without penalty. Thank you for this post!

  47. Grandma donna on said:

    Mr. Raddo, Chris emailed your blog to me after discussing this fiasco at the school and after reading the entire posting. I just want to say that I am proud to have you as the role model for my grandchildren, Chris, Brianna and hopefully Jessie too! You are a special teacher and a wonderful American. I am very proud of my daughter Jennifer for allowing Brianna to decline the testing as well. Bravo to you both. All children are not the same and if our government chooses to punish our youth in disguise of “trying to level the playing field”, I am glad there are those like you who see it. I’m disappointed that many Americans believe the crap they’ve listened to for 4 1/2 years!

  48. Keep up the very good work.

  49. Lois Baron on said:

    Good for you Mr. Ratto!
    You are an outstanding teacher and I am so grateful that both my boys had you as their 5th grade teacher.
    Lois Baron

  50. You’ve handled this thing great, like a pro and though I don’t know you, I am proud that you stood your ground. Teachers are all-too-often told to be silent with their opinions and if I were a teacher in the public school system, I’d probably have been fired a long time go for not abiding by that. When there’s injustice, someone has to stand up to it and I’m glad that person was you. You are a fine example to your students.

    I appreciate hardworking teachers in this nation’s public school system and I abhor the ridiculous zero-tolerant, mindless administrative minions who run it.

    BTW I work in higher education and see what the public school system eventually sends our way. It’s not always good. Keep up the good fight.

  51. Pingback: Update: Diigo in Education group (weekly) | ChalkTech

  52. Maybe the thugs currently ruining running our departments of indoctrination need a refresher course from Mr. Olweus; or maybe more of us need to stand up and LOUDLY proclaim “No More!”

    I wonder what color shirt Ms. Sitts was wearing that day. I hear brown is back in vogue.

  53. Pingback: Still setting it straight! | Opine I will

  54. PA SAY NO COMMON CORE on said:

    THIS IS THE UGLY REALITY OF 21ST CENETURY EDUCATION AND COMMON CORE. as a parent it horrifies me that we are forbidden to see our children’s work, that teachers are made to sign gag orders about it and that both teachers and parents are being disenfranchised and bullied by brown shirt government educrat spies. thank you for your bravery and candor and care for our children.

  55. I had a similar event happen to me, and with a similar response by the district administrators, although the actions in your case are far worse because they happened in front of your students- with very little regard to them, or your privacy. Aside from the fact that it was clearly a generic question, which anybody with half a brain could figure out. The so-called test-security in these high stakes assessments is beyond ridiculous. I’m waiting for them ETS to bring them in an armored car (and charge districts full price for the privilege).

    I’m a teacher in California, and like most teachers- it isn’t the high standards that I have issues with. Obviously there needs to be some sanity in defining one-size-fits-all, when it clearly doesn’t, but at the same token we can’t lower the expectations of students because their teacher thinks they aren’t ‘ready’ for it. When I started in 2001, we looked at students meeting proficiency on the STAR test as a pipe dream, and now a vast majority of the kids are meeting that expectation- because we are teaching the standards.

    However, I really dislike how the standards and assessments are being used. You have district superintendents being paid HUGE sums of money with the directive of increasing test scores (note-student retention- ultimate outcomes- drop out rates don’t seem to matter). All that matters is how students do on the test at the end of the year. They bring in yes-men to implement their changes (without much input from the stake holders), and any opposition to their plan is taboo (after all they want to improve education). Site administrators face a lot of pressure to toe the company line, and know they are expendable if they fail to do so. They either create an adversarial relationship with their staff, or risk their jobs. Very few site administrators are able to truly act like a Principal should.

    And then there are the so-called coaches. School district pay these ‘advisors’ a lot money to make changes, which invariable don’t include input from the stake holders. Sometimes they have good ideas, and some of them are really able to improve collaboration of teachers. But those that are good actually do improve the collaboration of teachers, by INCLUDING THE TEACHERS in their plan. It is a collaborative effort- not a dictatorial mandate. The others merely espouse the same garbage you can find in millions of books about education (which don’t cost in the millions of dollars).

  56. Pingback: Parents setting the record straight for me. | Opine I will

  57. jillconroy on said:

    Reblogged this on The Indignant Teacher and commented:
    Teacher Dragged Out of Classroom in Front of Students…
    for tweeting a math question from the Common Core PRACTICE test!

  58. Melvin Band on said:

    Now that Mr.Raggo has been vindicated, he must take the situation to the next level. He should go to a school board meeting and speak out during the public comment portion of the meeting. He should have someone video tape his comments with the camera also focused him, the school board, but especially on the supt .After he speaks he should ask the the school board president, ” I would like your response, the Board’s response and the supt. response.” Although the supt. will probably not respond, his facial expressions will be worth their weight in gold. NEXT, put the video on the social media circuit. Mr.Ratto should wear a shirt with a snake on it with the expression, “Don’t Tread On Me.”

  59. Pingback: This Teacher Sets the Record Straight | CC4Teachers

  60. unnamed on said:

    wow! super!

  61. ABNichols on said:

    Are you still teaching? I’m on administrative leave pending an investigation of misconduct but I don’t know what I did. It’s been three months since I was given my letter and I haven’t heard a single word from anyone. I will stop here as I.have no.idea who is reading these blogs and who might turn me in….

  62. we have 2 teachers going through this in our school district right now….one teacher forced to resign and one teacher who has been on leave since December. Very much like your story! Escorted out in front of his students and no answers for anybody!! I am very glad to hear you were cleared. I sure hope our teachers will be too….Disturbing to hear that this happens to other teachers too!

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