[Note to readers: I abridged this article to comply with copyright limits. Please open the link and read the article in full at the Hartford Courant, which had the good sense to publish it.]

Thanks to the punitive actions and policies of the U.S. Department of Education and the states, there is a new genre of writing by teachers, explaining why they are quitting. The most famous was written by Kris Neilsen of North Carolina, whose letter of resignation went viral, was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, and went around the world.

This column was written by Elizabeth Natale, a middle-school teacher in Connecticut. This state has one of the best public school systems in the United States, yet its governor and state commissioner continually bash teachers and public schools, while lauding charters and showering them with extra money. The leaders are certain that public schools and teachers are failing and need tough measures to shake them up. In time, what the leaders are doing will be revealed as a mighty hoax whose goal is to increase market share for charters.

Natale writes:

“Surrounded by piles of student work to grade, lessons to plan and laundry to do, I have but one hope for the new year: that the Common Core State Standards, their related Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium testing and the new teacher evaluation program will become extinct.

I have been a middle school English teacher for 15 years. I entered teaching after 19 years as a newspaper reporter and college public relations professional….

Although the tasks ahead of me are no different from those of the last 14 years, today is different. Today, I am considering ending my teaching career.

When I started teaching, I learned that dealing with demanding college presidents and cantankerous newspaper editors was nothing. While those jobs allowed me time to drink tea and read the newspaper, teaching deprived me of an opportunity to use the restroom. And when I did, I was often the Pied Piper, followed by children intent on speaking with me through the bathroom door.

I loved it!

Unfortunately, government attempts to improve education are stripping the joy out of teaching and doing nothing to help children….

The Smarter Balance program assumes my students are comfortable taking tests on a computer, even if they do not own one…

I am a professional. My mission is to help students progress academically, but there is much more to my job than ensuring students can answer multiple-choice questions on a computer. Unlike my engineer husband who runs tests to rate the functionality of instruments, I cannot assess students by plugging them into a computer….

My most important contributions to students are not addressed by the Common Core, Smarter Balance and teacher evaluations. I come in early, work through lunch and stay late to help children who ask for assistance but clearly crave the attention of a caring adult…

Teaching is the most difficult — but most rewarding — work I have ever done. It is, however, art, not science. A student’s learning will never be measured by any test, and I do not believe the current trend in education will lead to adults better prepared for the workforce, or to better citizens. For the sake of students, our legislators must reach this same conclusion before good teachers give up the profession — and the children — they love.”