Ron Maggiano taught history and social studies in the Fairfax County (Virginia) public schools for 33 years. Along the way, he picked up many awards for his excellent teaching.
Here he reflects on why he quit a career he loved.
“Now more than three decades later, I have just spent my last day as a teacher. I resigned my teaching position because I can no longer cooperate with the standardized testing regime that is destroying creativity and stifling imagination in the classroom. I am sad, angry, hurt, and dismayed by what has happened to education and to the teaching profession that I so dearly love.
“It was a difficult decision, but I am confident that it was the correct one. For me this was a moral choice. I believe that our current national obsession with high-stakes testing is wrong, because it hurts kids and deprives students of an education that is meaningful, imaginative, and relevant to the demands of the 21st century.”
“More significantly, critical thinking skills and analytical problem solving have now been replaced with rote memorization and simple recall of facts, figures, names, and dates. Educators have been forced to adopt a “drill and kill” model of teaching to ensure that their students pass the all-important end-of-course test. Teaching to the test, a practice once universally condemned administrators and educators alike, has now become the new normal in classrooms across the country.
“If teaching to the test was wrong 30 some years ago when I first entered the classroom, it is just as wrong today as I leave my classroom for the final time. The fact is that we are not really educating our students. We are merely teaching them how to pass a test.”