This week Ellen Rubenstein, a veteran teacher at Highland Park School District, submitted her resignation via YouTube, tearfully blaming the district’s budget cuts and impossible testing standards as cause. Rubenstein explains, in her candid monologue, that teaching, once seen as a prestigious and respected position, has become shadowed by the district’s cuts of all creative projects and its intensified focus on high test scores. It now seems that education has become less about inspiring individuals and more about securing funding for the next school year.
“Raising students’ test scores on standardized tests is now the only goal and in order to achieve it the creativity, flexibility and spontaneity that create authentic learning environments have been eliminated,” states Rubenstein in her video. Teachers seem to be becoming more angry and exhausted after spending hours in over-crowded classrooms with little resources and ever-growing list of standards. And for this, both teachers and students suffer. In a video that went viral on Facebook and YouTube recently, a heroic student lectured his apathetic teacher that his education “should be more than an endless stream of packets” for him and “a paycheck” for her. Placed side by side, these videos show the negative effects standardize testing and slashed budgets have on students and teachers alike. So here’s to hoping that as each of these videos go viral, school administrations will begin to realize that inspiring learning doesn’t come from a scantron, but from a passionate teacher and her love of learning.
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