Click here to read the teacher’s quick guide to resisting from within – Peg Robertson
Sample letter to your union
(Please personalize and revise to fit your style)
I have been a member of the_______ (association/union) since _____. Over the years I have watched my profession erode and have seen humanitarian, best teaching practices give way to testing and standardization reforms . All pedagogical research indicates that this regimen of standardization and high stakes testing is destructive to both the young developing mind and a student’s personal identity. Labels and mandated outcomes without the participation of the professional in the classroom have wreaked havoc on our children and the very institution of public education on which a healthy society so depends. Both pedagogical research and basic intuition reveal that our children learn in multi-faceted ways.
I went into teaching because I care about kids and learning. Reforms like high-stakes testing, Common Core, performance ratings and scripted curriculum are destroying what brought me to this profession. I would like for you to do a better of representing me and my colleagues. I am writing to ask you to take the following action:
1) Association/Union adoption of a resolution to oppose NCLB, Race to the Top, Common Core and High-stakes testing.
2) Financially support the individuals and the organizations working to oppose Common Core, high-stakes testing, performance pay and scripted curriculums. Contribute generously to these non-profits, contract authors and education leaders to consult on union strategies and policy approach, and invite them to speak to teachers across districts so we can be better informed and unified.
3) Create a plan and a process to bring educators into the state legislature to share our personal experiences and expand our professional voice, this has been greatly missing for too long.
4) Hire experienced educators in the union leadership. Lobbyists who have never been in the classroom are not equipped to represent me in the legislature. Listed in the bios of our union leadership team, I would like to see the reference to their teaching experience.
5) Develop partnerships and work collaboratively with any initiatives that support educators, honor student, reinforce the rights of parents and oppose policies and practices connected to corporate reforms, privatization, and high-stakes testing.
6) Support legislative and school board candidates who will advocate for public schools, teacher autonomy, student-directed learning and parental engagement.
7) Initiate legislation that ends or reduces high-stakes testing; eliminates the stakes tied to standardized tests such as grading schools and evaluating educators. No student, teacher or school should be judged on the basis of a single measurement tool.
8) Actively oppose legislation and school policies that forward standardized testing, privatization and corporate interests in education including Common Core and PARCC.
9) Sponsor an education day at the state capitol to bring together parents, teachers and students.
10) Organize teacher members around these goals so that we may better represent our profession and more effectively influence the decision makers on behalf of our students and public education.
11) Communicate all policy actions with members and more importantly, seek our input, listen to our recommendations, and invite us to be the leaders in our profession.
My colleagues and I are feeling powerless in this climate of teacher hostility, top-down policies and exhausting reporting requirements. We are desperate to get back to the evidence based practices of teaching and learning that include creativity, critical thinking and collaboration. I will only be directing my dollars and my support to an association that represents the voice of teachers and aggressively advocates on our behalf and the students we serve. Please consider me a resource as you approach as we move forward. I am with you and committed to the stated goals. I will be following up regularly and sharing the information with the colleagues in my building and in my community.