This teacher realized that she could not be free to think for herself until she stopped internalizing and accepting the reproaches of the corporate reformers. She was free when she realized that her training and experience as an educator mattered. She was free when she realized that when she did not attain perfection every day, it was not her fault.

She wrote:

“Can’t speak for everyone, but the way it worked for me was this way… initially, there was this vague sense of confusion when the NCLB legislation went through. “How can we defy the Bell Curve?” I asked myself. I chuckled thinking, “Ha, just wait ’til ‘they’ figure out that it can’t be done!” I was teaching special education at the time.

“Over the next couple of years… as the pressure mounted, I moved to a state that I felt would better suit me for the rest of my career. The first slap in the face was that I couldn’t get a job in a public school… my degree and years of experience made me “too expensive.” A charter school was willing to hire me though… they liked having someone w/ a sp.ed. background. Especially since the school is working in an area with kids from low SES backgrounds… they wanted and were willing to pay someone with my education and experience. At the time, I didn’t know or understand the difference between a charter school and public school. All I knew was that I had a job!

“Fast forward… more and more “accountability” was heaped on… and the rhetoric that the teachers heard placed more and more “accountability” onto them. If the scores aren’t high enough, then we’re not working hard enough. THAT was the proverbial Kool-Aid… because most teachers are overly responsible, they bought into the idea that “if we only work harder…”. Then they (whoever “they” are) tried to close our school by revoking the charter due to low test scores. Unlike many charter schools, we take ALL of the kids! Many of our children are challenging. Many of our children struggle with learning. The school’s charter has been picked up, so it will not close this year. In the meantime, I’ve educated myself on the difference between charter, public, and private schools. I discovered that this “angst” that had been growing over the years in me was being experienced by other teachers all over the country. And what has happened… is that teachers are REALIZING that it’s NOT their fault! Hence, all the grassroots organizations that Diane is trying to link through NPE.

“Teachers have “allowed” it, because most of us “drank the Kool-Aid” of believing that it really was our fault… and now many of us are saying, “NO! It’s NOT our fault!” Like the character “Boxer” from Animal Farm… we kept working harder, working harder… but instead of us all collapsing and being sent to the “glue factory,” we’re getting off the farm. I’m leaving my school. I “know” too much now about the school reform movement… and I can’t support it. I don’t know where I will go. But I do know, that as soon as I figured out that it was NOT all my fault is when I started saying, “There’s something wrong with the system, and it needs to be changed.” THIS is probably what your seeing with many teachers. They believe that they only need to work harder… work harder… work harder… . But when they realize it’s not them, it’s the system… that’s when the change starts to happen. I “allowed” these policies, because I’m “hyper-responsible”… I’m the kind of teacher that kids need in school… I do what needs to be done…. but, the downside is… I was taking responsibility for things that were not my fault… and I didn’t realize it until I heard Diane Ravitch speak about it on the youtube upload “Diane Ravitch defends teachers” here:

“I’m grateful to Diane for this. In some ethereal way, she saved my life by helping me voice my experience and realize that the current state of education is NOT MY FAULT. I will NOT kill myself through the stress of working in an untenable situation.

“I’ve said it before, and I say it again, “THANK YOU DIANE!”