Regular readers of this blog are familiar with the work of Amy Prime. (See here and here.)For the past ten years, she has taught second grade at Berg Elementary School in Newton, Iowa. she has written several articles about the problems and challenges of protecting children from the negative effects of test-centric reforms, some of which have been published in the local newspapers and reposted on this blog.

Last month she was called to a meeting with her principal, a human resources employee and the curriculum director. The meeting lasted about one minute. She was told that, although she is a highly proficient teacher with great grasp of content knowledge, she had not shown proper respect of others’ views. To “solve” this problem, they had decided to transfer her to a different school to teach 5th grade.

Understand that she is an early childhood educator who has taught either 1st or 2nd grade since 1998. Her masters is in Literacy Education and she is a reading specialist. Now she will be a 5th grade social studies teacher.

The official letter of transfer says that she was “chosen” for this position because of her command of the content knowledge and her demonstrated instructional competency. Her unusual strengths prepare her to be a successful fifth grade teacher of social studies.

Some of her colleagues have expressed their regret. They see this as a punitive transfer, intended to rebuke her for speaking out while others remained silent because they were afraid of the consequences.

Amy has been candid. she blogs for the state’s newspaper. She expresses her views at faculty meetings about developmentally inappropriate instruction and assessments. She has defended the freedom of teachers to voice their views and do their jobs professionally. She opted her own children out of state testing. She told her son’s kindergarten teacher that she didn’t want him taking part in weekly spelling tests.

Was she transferred to send a message to other teachers about the danger of speaking out? Was it an effort to silence Amy? Was it harassment intended to encourage her to move to another district?

Amy says she will be the best fifth-grade teacher possible. And while she is obviously not happy with the decision to shift her out of a job she loved and did well, she believes that the administrators are bowing to larger forces. She wrote me, “When districts are forced to comply with unrealistic goals for test scores and other artificial measures of success, it puts pressure on district leaders. They are much less likely to be team players with the teachers in their charge and instead some of them want obedience to methods that they feel will be successful in getting their schools off of government watch lists in danger of serious repercussions.” She fears that no one asked the most important question: “Is this what is best for kids?”