Teacher Resigns after Scorching Critique of “Teaching to the Test”

May 25, 2013


Teacher Resignation Video: Ellie Rubenstein Explains ‘Everything I Love About Teaching Is Extinct’

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 05/23/2013 5:42 pm EDT  |  Updated: 05/24/2013 1:59 pm EDT

Ellie Rubenstein has had enough.

Upon learning that she would be involuntarily transferred to another Illinois school, the former fourth-grade teacher submitted her resignation in the form of a video.

In the 10-minute spoken resignation, posted on Youtube Tuesday under the usernameIquityoucantfireme, Rubenstein explains why she is quitting and addresses several major problems she says she has faced as a teacher in the U.S. public education system.

“I was proud to say I was a teacher,” Rubenstein tells the camera, after describing how she abandoned a career in public relations to “do something meaningful” with her life. “But over the past 15 years, I’ve experienced the depressing, gradual downfall and misdirection of communication that has slowly eaten away at my love of teaching.”

“Raising students’ test scores on standardized tests is now the only goal, and in order to achieve it the creativity, flexibility and spontinaety that create authentic learning environments have been eliminated. … Everything I love about teaching is extinct,” she continues.

Rubenstein’s resignation stems from a dispute between four Lincoln Elementary School teachers — Rubenstein included — and North Shore School District 112 administrators. As Highland Park News reports, Rubenstein and her colleagues received letters detailing their mandated transfer to other schools in the district and were given 21 days to respond.

In the video, Rubenstein states that the letter cited a “poor climate” in the building as the reason for her involuntary transfer. “But the truth is, I’m just not a ‘yes man,'” she claims in her video.

Administrators contend, however, that such a transfer is not used to punish teachers, Highland Park News notes.

Rubenstein’s resignation and the teacher transfers will likely be discussed at a school board meeting Thursday night. Pamela Kramer, president of the North Shore Education Association teachers union, said the district did not violate its contract. Nevertheless, she expects the meeting to draw a crowd, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Earlier this year, a New York high school teacher’s resignation garnered widespread attention on social media after he posted the letter on Facebook along with a photo of Porky Pig saying, “That’s All Folks.”

“I am not leaving my profession,” Gerald Conti explained in the letter, “in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists.”

This lady has guts, integrity, experience, valor, bravery, intelligence – and her observations are crystal clear. We’re going in the wrong direction, striving for the wrong goals. We need to inspire children to love learning and love using what they have learned in real life. Not prepare them for useless tests that probe their memory of knowledge.
I sincerely hope she finds a new purpose and mission in life – I am sad to see her disillusioned and despondent, it’s everyone’s loss she’s leaving her profession this way.

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19 Fans
I get what she is saying. This epidemic however is not exclusive to the profession of teaching. I believe it is across the board with middle class workers. I am a nurse and nurses are leaving the field in droves. Corporate indentured servitude has wiped us all out. Decades of sure sure we appreciate you BUT we expect more… No raises, no loyalty to employees, no respect, and the slow stripping away of benefits, rights vacations etc has created this horrible atmosphere to be employed in. Corporations sole focus on productivity and the bottom line has completely overlooked hard workers, dedicated and loyal employees and killed all enthusiasm.

12 Fans
In reply to: Bainic
you hit the nail on the head. It’s everywhere.

8 Fans
This is what happens when money becomes more important then people. And this is only one of the beginning rungs of the ladder in the down fall….

I have counseled many stressed out teachers over the years and this is exactly what I’ve heard from them. God Bless You for speaking out!

3 Fans
My peers and I are being stripped down and exploited by the people who falsely believe they know what’s best for us in regard to our education. I stand with Mrs. Rubenstein on this issue. I wish her nothing but the best and hope this video could make an impact on those who seek to “better” the education system.

SUPER USER·3,062 Fans·Blessed are the peacemakers
This is sad in every way, and wrong. So much for the standardized testing and lack of teacher autonomy. She wants to make a difference, which isn’t necessarily a factor for lesser teachers. Yet the school systems fail to see this. It isn’t the teacher that’s failing, its the administrative part that is trashing our kids.

1,287 Fans·GOP, Fact Free since 1981!
In reply to: Jan Badinski
Administrative level are mid level people who enact policy. No more no less. She is talking about test taking and legal issues. Which the GOP have pushed for ten years or more.

1 Fan
In reply to: KingGeorgetheTurd
Indeed: follow the money on who benefits from the GOP’s ‘push’.


Read Conversation →

100 Fans
Of course we only get her side of the story about why she was transferred, but she is undeniably correct about one thing: everything that makes good teachers like teaching is being stripped away by so-called “reform.”

A strong trend in education today is toward “lock-step” teaching. Many teachers are no longer able to craft their own lesson plans or activities, but must teach a… Read More

2,471 Fans·Ain’t wastin’ time no more
In reply to: Warhammer Jones
yeah. we hardly ever get the teachers side of the story……anytime a teacher wants to point out what is wrong with the system they risk being fired for “insubordination”. No one ever asks teachers for their input into education, those decisions are made by politicians and administrators who have little to no experience in the classroom yet they are the spokespeople for education and the decision makers. Even the Sec. or Ed. for the country never taught a day in his life.

275 Fans·They Obey The Voices In Their Heads
School administrators are politicans and wannabe superintendents, nothing more.

275 Fans·They Obey The Voices In Their Heads
In reply to: WhatWereTheyThinking

0 Fans
highland park is some what of an exemplary example of how the standards or practical, worthwhile, and creative education have literally shriveled and died. i find as I’m taught that we are simply here to absorb and regurgitate information as its tad rather then learn from and evaluate its meaning and relevance. some of our teachers attempt to reinvigorate our dry, and hollow curriculums but… Read More

In reply to: Nate Goldman

105 Fans
You can tell she is a fantastic teacher that cares about her students. It’s awful that inspiring teaching in public schools is a thing of the past. No recess, no P.E., no art or music. Standardized tests have taken the passion out of the teachers and the excitement of learning for students.

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