Ellie Rubenstein resigns from teaching job in YouTube video

As parents in several states have stood up against standardized education such as Common Core and CSCOPE, one teacher in the Chicago area (Highland Park) has taken a similar (although not necessarily directly related) stand that is now going viral.

Last week, 15-year teaching veteran Ellie Rubenstein posted a 10-minute YouTube video where she decried the state of test-centric eduction after the district she was working in said it was going to be transferring her and several other teachers– a move she says came because those teachers were vocal about their issues and one she says the district has attributed to concerns over the school’s “poor climate.”

“This is a total kangaroo court, a retaliation against four teachers who are quite vocal in advocating for their children,” Rubenstein said in an interview last week. “We are at the forefront of speaking our minds and at the forefront of advocating for our students. We are all being falsely accused by the administration and some colleagues of doing things we have never done, and saying things we have never said.”

Frustrated and out of options, Rubenstein decided to resign instead of face the transfer — and she did it in a way that has garnered over 350,000 views.

Among her concerns that have now gone viral:

  • “I have experienced the depressing, gradual downfall and misdirection of education that has slowly eaten away at my love of teaching.”
  • “The emphasis in eduction has shifted from fostering academic and personal growth in both students and teachers, to demanding uniformity and conformity.”
  • “Raising students’ test scores on standardized tests is now the only goal, and in order to achieve it the creativity, flexibility and spontaneity … have been eliminated.”
  • “Everything I loved about teaching is extinct.”
  • “Curriculum is mandated. … The classroom teacher is no longer trusted or in control of what, when, or how she teaches.”
  • She says complaint forms and write-ups are being used as tools to target teachers and keep them as “yes men,” instead of being used to get rid of poor educators — and she even takes a shot at the union.

Watch the entire resignation — which includes plenty of more examples and quotes and even mentions “tracking” of students — below:

“I thought I would be a teacher for the rest of my life,” Rubenstein says as her voice begins to crack.

“I have to get out before my sense of self and self-worth is completely obliterated,” she adds later.

At a local school board meeting last Thursday, the issue came up and district Superintendent David Behlow denied Rubenstein’s claims while trying to answer to angry parents who say the “poor climate” reason is bogus:

Behlow said many of Rubenstein’s comments in the video “were inaccurate, misleading and, in many cases, factually wrong.”

“Our teachers are encouraged to be creative and innovative and to exercise their own craft and magic in classrooms every day,” Behlow said.

For more background, you can read the Chicago Sun-Times article here.