Suspension! Update on Teacher’s Objections

On Monday, a letter was published about a teacher’s objection to the state assessment, A Teacher’s Professional Conscience: Objecting to the Assessments.  On that very day, the teacher was removed from the classroom and suspended.  Rather than rehash here what has already been written elsewhere about this, you can read about it for yourself in three different articles.

Update: SC teacher suspended after questioning standardized tests

SC teacher on leave after controversial letter

Letter on standardized testing lands teacher in trouble    (with video)

It sounds like it was initially claimed that Tracie Happel violated student confidentiality.  This is an issue that I would be a stickler about.  As I read the letter, no red flags of concern popped up.  I do not think that claim will hold up.  I was not able to identify any student by reading the letter.  No names were provided or mentioned.  If the district was really interested in student confidentiality issues, they would be wise to examine their policies and practices with regard to student level (personally identifiable information) being collected and providing access to the data by their assessment contractor and the state longitudinal data system.  Do they really know who has access to this data and how it will be used?  I doubt it.

It sounds like another claim is that Tracie called her students stupid, idiot, and retarded.  Again, no red flags for me when I read the letter.  It was clear to me that she was not calling her students these things.  She was simply using the words students had used to describe themselves.

I doubt the school officials will really look at the more serious issues about what has happened and why.  It will probably be more important to address someone who has spoken out against a system, whether right or wrong.  It ends up being a power and control issue since the system seems to feel threatened.  I have the feeling the school district is going to subject Tracie to the spaghetti test.  The spaghetti test is where the district will keep the spaghetti boiling in the water and test its done-ness by throwing noodles at the wall.  This will continue until one or more of the noodles stick or there is no more water left in the pan.  In either case, a mess results—a messy noodle decorated wall and the floor immediately below or a messy inedible glob in the bottom of the pan.










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