Gerald “Jerry” Conti, a teacher at Westhill High School in New York has decided to throw in the towel and retire from a profession that he loves. After 27 Years in the classroom, 62 year old Jerry has decided to go out with a bang-all guns blazing at the end of this school year.
Jerry’s detailed and thought provoking letter as to why he is leaving the classroom is quite riveting. Posted on his Facebook wall on March 29, 2013 he writes in part,
…our legislators have failed us by selling children out to private industries such as Pearson Education. He continued, The repercussions of these ill-conceived policies will be telling and shall resound to the detriment of education for years to come.
Towards the end of his resignation letter Jerry went into the most personal aspect of his letter, in my opinion. And he states.
After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists.
One cannot help but feel the pain and the anguish in this letter. His words are like the voices you hear being whispered ever so often, but no one will stand up and really say what they are thinking, or try to make a difference. I applaud Jerry for publishing this resignation letter and I hope that the lawmakers-and the wider parent population-will take notice. The voices of the people are getting louder. Standardized testing, as Jerry puts it so eloquently,
…it smothers the development of critical thinking in our students and assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality more appropriate to the assembly line than to the classroom.
In closing out his resignation letter Jerry Writes,
I have had two signs hanging above the blackboard at the front of my classroom, they read, “Words Matter” and “Ideas Matter”. While I still believe these simple statements to be true, I don’t feel that those currently driving public education have any inkling of what they mean.
Jerry, in an interview with the Syracuse Online was quick to point out that he was not blaming his school district for the reason behind his resignation and subsequent retirement. He stated. “I feel no animosity toward them. This is larger forces, Bill Gates, the state legislature, and Pearson (a private test assessment company).”
Currently, Jerry’s Post on Facebook has over 86 Likes, over 2, 300 shares and counting. His resignation letter is being shared all across the internet, and the comments posted in reply to his resignation letter provide quick feedback that encompassed the general feeling that people have towards his expose.
Screenshot from Facebook
Image Credit:Syracuse Online