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Reading teacher laments, Duval is getting it all wrong, students suffering for no reason.

I received the following note today, which is basically the same note I have received a half dozen times or more from ELA/reading teachers throughout the district this year. The gist is the state shifted down it's reading instruction, second became first, first became kindergarten and so on and many teachers don't feel this change was appropriate. 

As you read the note below imagine the frustration and angst the teacher must be feeling wanting to what's best for their students but not being able to, instead stopped by a system that wants  to try out the latest new thing. Here is a hint, there is always a latest new thing.

Hi Chris,
My name is xxxx xxxxx, and my dad told me about your blog and I wanted to reach out.

This is my 10th year teaching. I am at a very high frustration level with Duval county and their i-ready kick. I have seen it frustrate my 1st grade students, my daughter and other teachers, including myself. I know enough about what is developmentally appropriate and what isn't to know this is not. This is going to come and go, but take a lot of students down in the mean time. I refuse to let this take place any longer.

Not only is it not following the curriculum we are teaching, but our teacher EOY Eval. scores are based on what the students do on this program. It has nothing to do with what we are teaching them, but yet our score will be based on them clicking a button!

We are supposed to be implementing 2nd grade reading in a 1st grade class and 1st grade reading in a kindergarten class.....there's something wrong with this. My class average went down after just assessing them 2 weeks on the fry words the district is wanting us to use, which of course are not 1st grade level. So, I am going against what the other teachers are doing and what is "required" of me because I REFUSE to see students suffer for no reason and give them words that are not developmentally appropriate. Including my own child.

Why do teachers sit back and not stand up for what is right? I don't understand? I would love to blog, start a petition, anything to get this madness to stop. Something has to be done. What can I do and who should I go to? Thank you.

They ask a good question at the end. People don't come to me first. They raise their hand at faculty meetings, they voice their concerns at department ones. Teachers I believe want to work with the system but what are they supposed to do when the system starts hurting the children it is supposed to help?


  1. They are trying to eliminate teachers with these stupid programs. They want teachers to surprivise students on the computers while they're working with a small group while another group is working on a project. Nothing gets done. Kids run their mouth the whole time while the teacher is being drawn and quartered. Group work and web based programs are great but they should only be used to supplement good old fashioned teacher led instruction. Am I the only one?

  2. I could have written this letter. I was on leave for part of this year, and came back to find my students' reading grades suffering because we are expecting first graders to master third grade sight words! Oh and the dropping down of curriculum was not a state thing, it's a district thing. They seem to think that increasing rigor is increasing the level and that is not the case. I received a highly effective evaluation last year, but am not trusted to know what is developmentally appropriate for my students. Duval county will have even bigger gaps than they already do if teachers only follow these ridiculous expectations.

  3. I wish Vitti would move on, dont want anyone to get fired or be unemployed. Then again, It could be worse or could it? If I am not mistaken, Vitti has less than 6 years of school based teaching and administration experience. He is using our district as his research and development lab. He is making all of his early career mistakes at the expense of Duval county parents, teachers and stakeholders. There were other better options.

    1. Its because Duval is essentially a Black School District and the designers prefer to do experimentation where they do not consider the demographics to be of any importance. Lets get it straight, they don't care that they will hurt Black Kids. But keep your eyes on the ball; the whole game is about making money from privatization of our Public Schools. Note how they started talking about STAKEHOLDERS and they also have SHAREHOLDERS. So if you get the wolves away from our Public Schools these problems will be gone, absolutely. Vitti is still an imatured BOY; he has no right being at the helm of such a large school district.

  4. I'm a boomer and recall that Kindergarten was optional. I went to K and played all day. Then in 1st grade we read Dick and Jane. My generation has prolific readers. Some things don't change; women still can't get pregnant easily after 35 and kids can't read before age 6. Why are we trying to force developmental milestones on them? Their brains aren't ready, especially boys. FCAT didn't start until 3rd grade and there's a reason for that. I'll bet most of the kids held back in 1st grade were boys, and they would have caught on by 3rd grade.