Opine I will

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

Archive for the month “April, 2018”

Priorities?? Kids or Institution?

It’s been a while since I have posted anything on here. I’ve been using Twitter or Facebook as a way to get my thoughts out there. It’s no secret  that I am firmly against New York State’s testing policies. Today’s incident clearly pointed out to me that some administrators have their priorities in the wrong place.

We are beginning to witness the  pendulum starting to swing towards an end of the institutional abuse of our students. Both of New York State’s legislative branches have new Bills awaiting a vote that will make it illegal to use any state test to evaluate teachers. That’s a huge swing in our direction.

Opt outs must continue regardless of these Bills. The tests need to be eliminated all together. These new Bills will still allow some sort of test ( to be negotiated locally from a pre- approved list) to be used as an evaluation tool. We must continue to work to eliminate any test that is used to evaluate teachers, schools or principals. Test should be used only to inform our instruction! Nothing more!

Priorities?? Kids or Institution?

Our #1 priority should be the well being of the children we teach. Unfortunately, many administrators, including some of  new ones in my own district have a distorted view that our #1 priority should be the institution.

Today I was summoned into our superintendent’s office to discuss a possible disciplinary action . Upon arrival I was asked if I sent out a Tweet on April 12th during the state test. I willing admitted that I sent out the following tweet.tweet

I  learned at this meeting that another principal in my district took issue with me doing this and informed our superintendent. I was also informed that the superintendent contacted the State to see if  charges would be brought up because I used my ‘personal device’ during the test.

I was also told that the name of my accuser would be kept from me. I asked for the opportunity to speak with said principal so that I could explain why I took the video. That request was denied.

An open letter to the principal who chose the Institution over the kids.

Dear principal who chose to remain anonymous,

Every year I watch my students struggle with abusive assessments that provide me, as their teacher, with useless data. Every year the test is administered in the Spring just as allergy season  is in full swing. Every year my students must suffer through this test while leaf blowers, jets, garbage trucks and traffic create an annoying din that makes concentration difficult, especially with those of my students with ADHD, severe allergies and other issues that affect their learning. And yes, every year my students perform better than the state, region and often lead the district.

You cowardly chose  to  attack a teacher who was documenting the noise pollution that affected every child in our school rather than solve the problem of noise pollution or even solve the problem of these abusive tests. 

Your priorities are skewed. You may post tons of smiling faces on your own Twitter account but the truth is out there. Today, you chose the institution over those smiling faces. Shame on you.

Yes, I may have broken test protocol , but you broke something even more important. Your failure to approach me personally goes to character. Your failure to choose kids over institution goes to character. 

You got your teaspoon of flesh. I was reprimanded and told not to do it again. Tomorrow is test day #3. I will always choose kids over institution. The question is, what will you do?


No charges are being brought against me.

I am still committed to ending test abuse. I am committed to the opt out movement. I am committed to the success of my students.

I am 63 years young. I have almost died twice. I have been working in one form or another for 50 years. I have always stood up for what I believed and I have never let a bully get their way, not even a principal.

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