Introducing a story on Wednesday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer touted the Washington Post publishing the resignation letter of Massachusetts kindergarten teacher Suzi Sluyter, who decided to quit her job after being “frustrated by what she says is too much emphasis on test scores and testing instead of the kids themselves.” [Listen to the audio]
In the report that followed – amid clips of Sluyter reciting her letter on camera – correspondent Ron Mott declared: “A sobering assessment about standardized tests, how children are damaged by what she calls a broken system more focused on scoring them.” He soon found who to blame: “When President George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law in 2002, supporters applauded the sweeping reform for holding schools and teachers accountable for student performance. But it wasn’t long before complaints surfaced.”
Meanwhile, the current President of the United States, Barack Obama, was not mentioned once during the segment. That despite his administration backing the increasingly controversial Common Core education standards.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that Indiana became the first state to pull out of Common Core.
Instead of holding the Obama administration accountable for its education policies, Mott wrapped up the Wednesday Today segment by lamenting Sluyter’s disillusionment: “Sluyter says students are often lost in the test-taking shuffle, which shows up in their behavior….In the end, she says teaching left her heartbroken….A self-described firm believer in public education walks away….No longer a believer in what it’s become.”
Here is a full transcript of the March 26 report:
8:20 AM ET
MATT LAUER: Now to the subject of education and the hot-button issue of teaching to the test or teaching for the test. A Boston-area teacher, frustrated by what she says is too much emphasis on test scores and testing instead of the kids themselves, quit her job in a resignation letter to the Washington Post. And as NBC’s Ron Mott explains, a lot of people are taking notice.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Put to the Test; Teacher Resigns Over Standardized Testing]
RON MOTT: As resignation letters go, teacher Suzi Sluyter’s is a talker.
SUZI SLUYTER [READING HER RESIGNATION LETTER]: I’m resigning my position as pre-k and kindergarten teacher.
MOTT: A sobering assessment about standardized tests, how children are damaged by what she calls a broken system more focused on scoring them.
SLUYTER: I have seen my career transformed into a job that no longer fits my understanding of how children learn and what a teacher ought to do in the classroom.
MOTT: Her decision to quit was not an easy one.
SLUYTER: So many things that pulled me away from the classroom. It takes the joy out of learning for the children. It takes the joy out of teaching.
MOTT: When President George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law in 2002, supporters applauded the sweeping reform for holding schools and teachers accountable for student performance. But it wasn’t long before complaints surfaced.
JEFFREY YOUNG [SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT, CAMBRIDGE, MA]: I suspect that in time, we will find the right way to achieve that balance between strong academic instruction and high-quality learning.
MOTT: Sluyter says students are often lost in the test-taking shuffle, which shows up in their behavior.
SLUYTER: I recognize many of these behaviors as children shouting out to the adults in the world, “I can’t do this! Look at me! Know me! Help me! See me!”
MOTT: In the end, she says teaching left her heartbroken.
SLUYTER: When I think about all of the children that I know in the school that I’ve been in for years, who I never get to see anymore, and they don’t even all know why I left.
MOTT: A self-described firm believer in public education walks away.
SLUYTER [CRYING]: I did not feel I was leaving my job. I felt then and feel now that my job left me.
MOTT: No longer a believer in what it’s become. For Today, Ron Mott, NBC News, Chicago.
— Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.
TLB highly recommends you visit http://www.mrc.org for more great/pertinent articles