Honored as the “Top Teacher” by ABC’s “Live with Kelly and Michael” show, Stacie Starr was speaking at an education forum earlier this week when she dropped a bombshell.
The veteran teacher at Elyria High School in Elyria, Ohio, told a stunned audience Monday she will resign at the end of the school year because of the new federal Common Core system of standards and assessments adopted by her state, reported the local Chronicle-Telegram newspaper.
At the forum, which sought to help parents navigate the complex standardized testing system, Starr was talking about how special education has suffered under Common Core.
As she fought back tears, she disclosed she is leaving traditional education and plans ‘to teach in a different way.”
“I can’t do it anymore, not in this ‘drill ‘em and kill ‘em’ atmosphere,” she said. “I don’t think anyone understands that in this environment if your child cannot quickly grasp material, study like a robot and pass all of these tests, they will not survive.”
Her announcement was met with gasps of disbelief, the paper reported.
She explained that she has faith in her ninth-grade students, but they are reading at sometimes a fourth- and fifth-grade level.
“Each and every day, I have to look in my students’ eyes and tell them I can’t help them because the state has decided they have to prove what they know,” she said, according to the Chronicle-Telegram.
Teaching is getting harder, she said, because “the rules keep changing.”
Last month, a sixth-grade teacher in upstate New York tearfully asked the local school board to be reassigned due to her objections to teaching using Common Core, reported WNYT-TV in Albany, New York.
“This is not developmentally appropriate for my students, and I find it cruel and harmful to suggest that it is,” Jennifer Rickert told the board.
“I do not believe in knowingly setting up my students for failure,” she said. “I cannot remain silent for one more day.”
Rickert received a standing ovation by parents and teachers in the audience.
On Monday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, began promoting a 42-page proposal to reform American education at the national level that would repeal Common Core along with a general rollback of federal authority. He wants to increase school-choice options for parents and give educators greater administrative freedom.
‘I have to get out’
Meanwhile, another teacher told Starr at the Ohio education forum she also is quitting.
“I’m like you. I feel like I have to get out,” said Jackie Conrad, a third-grade teacher.
PJ Media noted another veteran teacher in the Elyria district, Dawn Neely, implored the school board to take control of the “testing culture” in their local schools, the Chronicle-Telegram said in Feb. 5 story.
“I don’t know what to do. I am morally against what we are doing, and I think history will judge us for what we do to fight for our kids,” she told the Elyria school board. “Look through the test books, and you tell me if you think they are developmentally appropriate. No one is advocating for our district, and I am asking my district to be honest with the parents about what we are doing to students.”
In response, the board president, Kathryn Karpus, said the district can do nothing about it, because it’s bound by Ohio laws that mandate the testing.
As WND reported, Common Core also has been accused of seizing control of education from local jurisdictions, politicizing subjects, censoring conservative viewpoints, dumbing down subjects, imposing one-size-fits-all standards and data mining of private information.
Mary Calamia, a licensed clinical social worker, said she observed a significant increase in the number of students struggling with anxiety and depression since Common Core’s implementation in New York state.
“What was so upsetting for [the children] was they couldn’t do the work, they feel stupid, they were extremely anxious, [and] extremely distressed about going to school,” she said.
In Georgia, as WND reported, Meg Norris was forced out of her teaching job in Hall County last year after she ran afoul of mandatory testing for Common Core.
“We were one of the first counties in the nation to implement Common Core, and at first the teachers felt like we were special, we were all excited. I drank the Kool-Aid,” said Norris. “But after teaching Common Core in my class for about 18 months, I started seeing a lot of behaviors in my students that I hadn’t seen before. They started becoming extremely frustrated and at that age, 12 years old, they can’t verbalize why they couldn’t ‘get it.’”
Will Estrada, director of federal relations for the Home School Legal Defense Association, has raised privacy concerns. He said the assessments tied to Common Core collect more than 400 points of data on every child.
“It’s their likes and dislikes, grade-point average all the way through school, their home situation, health questions,” he said. “It’s an incredibly invasive collection of information that they are trying to collect in what they call P-20, or pre-K through workforce.”