When teacher Wendy Bradshaw herself became a parent, she had an epiphany that would change the course of her baby daughter's education.
The Polk County public school teacher saw horrible changes in the educational system, and she wasn't about to subject her own child to be a part of it.
So Bradshaw penned an open resignation letter two years ago and shared it on Facebook. The letter instantly went viral after it struck a chord with many other frustrated parents and teachers.
The special education teacher wrote, "Like many other teachers across the nation, I have become more and more disturbed by the misguided reforms taking place which are robbing my students of a developmentally appropriate education."
One of the problems that made Bradshaw resign was because children were being forced to engage in lessons that their developing brains were not ready for. "They cry with frustration as they are asked to attempt tasks well out of their zone of proximal development," she said.
When she shared her letter on Oct 23, 2015, she didn't expect it to go viral and shared over 50,000 times. Bradshaw expressed, "I had no idea that this many people identified with the way I felt, and that really disappoints me and makes me sad at the direction that our school system has gone."
Polk Superintendent of Schools Kathryn LeRoy agreed with Bradshaw's frustration and said that the problem lies in the accountability system that is "smothering everybody." She told the Ledger, "We can't afford to lose any more good educators. I don't know what's going to happen to our public education system if we can't recruit or retain good teachers.”
Here's Bradshaw's resignation letter:
Today I resigned from the school district. I would like to share with you what I gave them. Feel free to share it if it strikes you as important.
To: The School Board of Polk County, Florida
I love teaching. I love seeing my students’ eyes light up when they grasp a new concept and their bodies straighten with pride and satisfaction when they persevere and accomplish a personal goal. I love watching them practice being good citizens by working with their peers to puzzle out problems, negotiate roles, and share their experiences and understandings of the world. I wanted nothing more than to serve the students of this county, my home, by teaching students and preparing new teachers to teach students well. To this end, I obtained my undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees in the field of education. I spent countless hours after school and on weekends poring over research so that I would know and be able to implement the most appropriate and effective methods with my students and encourage their learning and positive attitudes towards learning. I spent countless hours in my classroom conferencing with families and other teachers, reviewing data I collected, and reflecting on my practice so that I could design and differentiate instruction that would best meet the needs of my students each year. I not only love teaching, I am excellent at it, even by the flawed metrics used up until this point. Every evaluation I received rated me as highly effective.
Continue on to the next page for the rest of the letter.