Letter: School changes drive teacher out

I have been an elementary schoolteacher in two schools for the Jefferson Parish Public School System for 29 years, and I am in my second year of DROP. I have endured many changes in administration, curriculum, and policy. However, the changes made over the past two years have created the most-chaotic and challenging years of my career.

On Feb. 20, we were informed that we could no longer administer the yearly standardized tests to the students we teach. In other words, the state does not trust us to not cheat.

In the past, the philosophy was to create as comfortable an environment as possible for our students to perform well on these high-stakes tests. That level of comfort exists when students are testing with the teachers who have worked with them daily and who have established a rapport with them. Apparently that philosophy is no longer valued, and we are no longer trustworthy. Keep in mind that these one-time test scores can be the basis for a student’s promotion to the next grade level and are a major criterion for a teacher’s yearly evaluation.

I was told to not take this directive so personally. But, the fact of the matter is that after dedicating 31 years of my life to teaching, I do take it personally.

And, that is why Feb. 20 wasn’t my last day of working for the Jefferson Parish Public School System. Because I do take it personally, I will continue teaching through the rest of this school year for my students and then retire early.

Connie Gauchet

teacher

New Orleans