Caleb Rossiter resigned as a math teacher at Friendship Public Charter School in D.C.

He wrote an open letter to the Board of Trustees of the school explaining why.

Here is a selection from his brutally frank letter.

“I recently resigned from a position as a ninth grade Algebra 1 teacher at Technology Preparatory because of unremitting pressure from the administration to alter failing grades and the return to my classroom of two students whose actions threatened the safety of other students. These issues are related to a fundamental question about Tech Prep’s mission: can it successfully implement a college preparatory, let alone a STEM, curriculum for the ninth grade when a significant minority of that grade has math skills that are below the third grade level or consistently exhibits disruptive behaviors that keep both this minority and their peers from achieving?

“There appear to be strong institutional pressures on administrators to achieve high enrollment figures, pass rates, and scores on grade-level standardized tests. These pressures flow down to the classroom, where they collide with the reality of severe academic and behavioral deficits, creating the sort of situations that led to my resignation.

“The administration pressured me to raise failing grades for the first quarter to grades that students had not earned. I was told by a supervisor that my intention to report 30 percent of my students as having earned a failing grade — due to low rates of doing class work and homework, which led to poor performance on assessments – “cannot be.” I was told that this would be “bad for the school” because it would have to be reported to the Public Charter School Board as evidence that students “were not on track to graduate” and that it also would be “bad for me.” I was asked to raise grades, or to change the weighting of the different categories of grades listed in my syllabus that had been sent to parents so that the grades would rise.

“The pressure was not successful with me, but I know that it was with teachers of these same students in other courses who had similar provisional failure rates. This casts into doubt for me all the grades reported for the ninth grade. When the second quarter started, the supervisor met with me and continued to press me to raise grades, including suggesting that failing students who completed one homework assignment in a week of five of them be given credit for all of them…..”

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