LEAD LETTER OF THE WEEK

Letter | Disillusionment with education system leads to retirement

April 13, 2014 

I will be resigning as a teacher in Horry County Schools, effective at the end of this school year. Why?

A seismic revolution is underway in American public education. Prompted by the birth of the personal computer and the publication of a Nation at Risk in 1983, a union of big business and big government is well on its way to restructure American public education, mainly for the purpose of business expansion and national control. Although sold to the American public in terms of what is best for students, the bottom line has always been what is best for big business and big government. Public education must be reclaimed by the people, if our republic is to survive.

For the last two decades, I have dedicated my professional life to expose much of what is wrong with local, state, and national restructuring efforts.

I got involved in the restructuring movement in the early 90s, believing it was motivated by a genuine intent to do what was best for students. As co-chairman of the curriculum committee and chairman of the social studies department at Socastee High School, I helped bring block scheduling to Horry County. SHS was the first school in the district to have block scheduling and the second in the state. Having been named our district’s Teacher of the Year in 1993, I accepted an invitation to be on our original strategic planning team, which helped introduce computer technology into our district.

After a couple of years working with those in positions of authority, I saw and heard things from administrators, board member, and the superintendent that disturbed me. I began to investigate the “why” behind the restructuring movement in the mid-90s. After a couple of years of serious investigation, I publicly recanted and apologized for my participation in strategic planning and for contributing to the introduction of block scheduling. What I discovered was life changing, and my conscience has compelled me to fight it ever since.

Details of my findings were presented in 1998 to the Horry County Board of Education in two grievances, more than 200 pages of documented discoveries, one of which resulted in a secret ballot for teachers on highly sensitive issues. The fact that the secret ballot was not honored by the district in its recent Race to the Top application is further confirmation of my many allegations over the years that teachers are often treated like pawns, not professionals, and too much power has been given to the superintendent.

Over the last seven years, I have attempted to detail the dangers of our district’s system of governance, presenting to the Horry County Board of Education in 2007 the most extensive research to date by anyone on the practice of policy governance in United States’ school districts, recently updated on my blog, “Teachers Are Citizens Too.”

Lately, I have been fighting the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, a continuance of the centralization of control over public education and a means for Bill Gates and others to dictate what happens in our local public schools.

For 41 years, the last 36 in this district, I have devoted myself to my profession inside and outside the classroom. My passion is teaching. However, recent actions by the school board and superintendent, resulting in my lack of trust and respect for district operations and directions, have compelled me to retract my stated intent to serve another four years. I will be exploring new opportunities and strategies to help save public education and our republic from the powerful monetary and governmental interests that threaten their destruction.

The writer is International Baccalaureate History instructor at Socastee High School.

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