Kindergarten Teacher Quits: ‘I was Part of a Broken System’

Veteran kindergarten educator Susan Sluyter realized she was teaching to data and tests— not the individual needs of her students.

Susan Slutyer has 25 years of teaching experience with young children and more than two decades in the Cambridge, Mass. public school district.

Last month, she sent a resignation letter to school officials detailing the disconnect between what a child needs to learn and grow and how curriculum is dictated by mandates.

“I have watched as my job requirements swung away from a focus on the children, their individual learning styles, emotional needs, and their individual families, interests and strengths to a focus on testing, assessing, and scoring young children, thereby ramping up the academic demands and pressures on them,” she wrote.

The letter—written with “deep love and a broken heart”—hit home with parents and educators across the country. The Washington Post recently published the entire letter and additional thoughts from the former teacher.

“When I first began teaching more than 25 years ago, hands-on exploration, investigation, joy and love of learning characterized the early childhood classroom,” she shared with The Post. “I’d describe our current period as a time of testing, data collection, competition and punishment. One would be hard put these days to find joy present in classrooms.”

Slutyer says she saw problems start years ago with No Child Left Behind. From there, things have only worsened.

“The overall effect of these federal and state sponsored programs is the corrosion of teacher moral, the demeaning of teacher authority, a move away from collaborating with teachers, and the creation of an overwhelming and developmentally inappropriate burden imposed on our children.”

Do you think this teacher’s comments and resignation are justified? Are you a teacher, parent or student who has faced similar frustrations? Or do you have an alternate perspective to offer? Please share with us in the comments!

Concerned Parent April 26, 2014 at 09:58 AM
@Tom...IMO, there are good teachers out there who really want to inspire kids to be there best, but their hands are tied because of district policies. I agree that some are more consumed with their union contracts, but you cannot fault all teachers because of their poor administration. Teachers can be an inspiration for kids. They can expose our kids to things they have not known before but are now unable because of these politically correct academic programs.
Tom April 26, 2014 at 09:56 PM
@Concerned parent... And we all lived happily ever after... The Road to hell is paved with good intentions... A truly concerned parent would not make the sort of excuses you do... VOUCHERS and homeschooling Are solutions... Who supports VOUCHERS?
Concerned Parent April 27, 2014 at 08:59 AM
@Tom...Tell you what...you follow your own road, I'll follow mine, and we will see who's kids are successful and those who are just good at pointing the finger of blame...
Tom April 27, 2014 at 12:14 PM
@Noconcern Of course you will... On everyone else's dime... IMO


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