Kindergarten teacher: My job is now about tests and data — not children. I quit.

From the Washington Post - by Valerie Strauss - Susan Sluyter is a veteran teacher of young children in the Cambridge Public Schools who has been connected to the district for nearly 20 years and teaching for more than 25 years. Last month she sent a resignation letter ( “with deep love and a broken heart”) explaining that she could no longer align her understanding of how young children learn best in safe, developmentally appropriate environments with the testing and data collection mandates imposed on teachers today. She wrote in part:
     I have watched as my job requirements swung away from a focus on the children, their individual learning styles, emotional needs, and their individual families, interests and strengths to a focus on testing, assessing, and scoring young children, thereby ramping up the academic demands and pressures on them.
     Each year, I have been required to spend more time attending classes and workshops to learn about new academic demands that smack of 1st and 2nd grade, instead of kindergarten and PreK. I have needed to schedule and attend more and more meetings about increasingly extreme behaviors and emotional needs of children in my classroom; I recognize many of these behaviors as children shouting out to the adults in their world, “I can’t do this! Look at me! Know me! Help me! See me!” I have changed my practice over the years to allow the necessary time and focus for all the demands coming down from above. Each year there are more. Each year I have had less and less time to teach the children I love in the way I know best—and in the way child development experts recommend. I reached the place last year where I began to feel I was part of a broken system that was causing damage to those very children I was there to serve. Read full story

Hundreds gathering to protest foothills shooting

From - By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - Tuesday, hundreds of protestors marched to Albuquerque Police Department headquarters saying they wanted “justice for James Boyd.”
     The mentally ill homeless man was shot and killed by APD officers more than a week beforehand after a standoff in the foothills. Police say he threatened officers with knives, but many of the protestors said that was no reason to kill him.
     “We are all James Boyd,” protestors chanted. They accused APD of using excessive force against James Boyd and lamented what they call a lack of mental health services in family.
     Shannon Haley was one of the protestors. She anonymously posted a sign reading “sorry our system failed you” at the site where Boyd was killed last week.
     “We wanna show that we care, that we want to change things, that they're not working the way they are, that the humanity is not about killing,” Haley said. For others, it was a time to reflect on past shootings.
     “People do care, and the people of Albuquerque should start caring too, it could happen to their loved ones. It happened to mine,” Mike Gomez, whose son Alan was shot by police, said.
     Protestors finished their march at APD headquarters. There, they packed the block, still waving signs. They called for APD leaders to step down and Albuquerque leaders to step up to prevent another death like James Boyd’s.
     APD says they support protestors’ first amendment rights to say whatever they choose as long as they do so peacefully. There were only a couple officers present during the protest, mostly for traffic control. More