On May 15th, we met in my office with you and your representative, UFT chapter leader Mr. Rosenboom. We discussed the fact that, despite Common Core standards, you persist in teaching literature in your English class. As we discussed, Common Core standards mandate that no more than 25% fiction be taught in the classroom.
You freely admitted having taught several novels, including The Grapes of Wrath, The Kite Runner and The Joy Luck Club. You further stated you'd taught various poems, and several Shakespeare plays, though these were not included in the list of suggested materials. I suggested you select from our fine selection of non-fiction works, including The History of Cement, or 1 Million Tedious Essays that No One Wants to Read.
You flatly refused, and referred to me as an "ignorant troglodyte." You then stood up and angrily called me a "killjoy," a "Philistine," and a "corporate tool," among other things. Despite Mr. Rosenboom's repeated entreaties to sit down, you continued standing and screamed uncontrollably at me for at least another 20 minutes, frightening the secretaries gathered outside my office and effectively disrupting the flow of our meeting.
You claimed your students enjoyed these works of literature and were inspired by them. You went on about how this student and that related to the stories, was touched by this or that, cried at the book's conclusion, and made other statements of varied levels of irrelevance. I must point out that we are here neither to promote enjoyment, enrich understanding, nor to inspire children. We are here to produce test scores, and if we do not produce sufficiently good test scores we will likely be closed and replaced by half a dozen small schools or charter schools.
It is our policy at Preposterously Overcrowded High School to follow the Common Core standards, no matter how incomprehensible, irrational or counter-intuitive they may be. Please be advised that further forays into teaching of literature may result in stronger disciplinary measures, including termination, public humiliation via the New York Post, or whatever other measures Mayor Bloomberg may see fit to institute.
S. Fields, Principal
c. T. Fields, Assistant Principal, English
c. A. Rosenboom, UFT chapter leader
Please sign and return one copy of this letter.
I have received a copy of this letter and understand it will sit in my file for three years or until I am removed for the value added test scores of my students, whichever comes first.
Views expressed herein are solely those of the author or authors, and do not reflect views of my employers, the United Federation of Teachers, the MORE Caucus or any other union caucus.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.