UT High School Physics Teacher Resigns Over Common Core   6 comments

Utahns Against Common Core published the resignation letter of Utah high school physics teacher Stuart Harper today.  The letter is powerful.  These are the words of a noble man, and his resignation is a tragic loss to Utah’s school system.

When will our state leaders acknowledge the train wreck of Common Core and turn our state around?  When will they read and heed teachers like Stuart Harper?

Read the full letter here. 

——-

“… After much research I know that the Common Core (CC), the way it has been implemented, and the reforms which have accompanied it are wrong. They are unsound, of poor quality, take power from local government, and further empower federal agencies and policy makers. Most importantly, their enactment was unconstitutional, both in Utah and in the nation. However wrong CC may be, my reasons for resigning are only tangent to this constitutional breech. I was aware of the core before signing on, and though I did not approve of it I gave my word in contract to teach whatever curriculum I was given.

In the summer of 2013 a personal letter I had written,  stating my concerns with Common Core, was posted on the Utahns Against Common Core website. It was an opinion piece, not a scholarly review. I saw no problem with stating my opinion, it is my right as a citizen, at least so I thought.

A few months later, I was informed that the Utah State Office of Education (USOE) had learned of my published letter and was not happy with my opinions or concerns. Local school authorities were instructed to meet with me and put me back in line. During this meeting with the district representatives I was told that I was shallow, ignorant and emotional in the way I wrote my concerns and that by writing things like this I would create rebellion and insubordination across the district. I was told I can have an opinion with other state’s educational systems but as a teacher in the state of Utah I cannot be concerned with my own state’s educational affairs.

I reminded them that my intent was not to promote rebellion, but to simply encourage personal research on the subject and exercise freedom of speech on my off time, as a citizen and father. I was told “Those freedom of speech rights you are probably referring to do not apply.”

I was shocked, but I stood my ground. I made it clear that if I continued to be intimidated into silence that I would resign same day. I told them that I have given my word to teach what they want me to in the classroom and would continue, but I would also continue to use my rights as an American citizen to effect political change. They said I could share my research if I get my facts straight, but even then my job is on the line. When I told them that I would continue to research information from original sources as well as writings from those for and against Common Core they were confused. They discouraged me from seeking information from anywhere other than the USOE, and accept only their interpretations of the facts. I refused, reminding them that true education comes from educating yourself on all sides.

I was threatened on three separate occasions with professional action all because I stated my opinion. I did not resign at any of the instances where I found myself threatened because I realized that I had given my word that I would teach for the year, and I will not break my word. However I refuse to remain in an environment that clearly has no respect for the Constitutional right of free speech. I refuse to be a part of the problem.

Over the years the school system has fallen far below what it should be. The public school system is just that – public. It should represent those served by it – We the People. Each level of the system (classroom, school, district and state) fails to remember that its duty is to the people, not to the establishment. We should be representing what is in our students’ and our community’s best interest. Our current system expects acceptance and conformity to its decisions and policies by all of its teachers and administrators. Further, it expects this without questioning or voicing concerns and even goes as far as intimidating and threatening those who have differing opinions. Any society or organization that silences and discourages freedom of speech removes the possibility to express ideas, and without competing ideas we close the door on true education and open the door to tyranny.

… We have lost control of the classroom and continue to hand more and more power over to the government. Our current system no longer promotes learning, but rather focuses on training. It teaches what to think, not how to think. It is now a system of hoops for students, teachers, and administrators, and with further national control and regulations of education, these hoops have been set on fire.

I believe that until we can get education to become self-sufficient where it no longer relies on the funding and intimidation from federal and even state levels, until we can bring education back to learning how to think and not being trained for a test, and until we can bring freedom back to the individual teachers, students, and schools, our public system will continue to decay. I hope the system and its people can exercise the self discipline to do this, but where I cannot foresee this happening, my greatest hope for education now resides in home-schools, home-school groups, and in private education.

My hands are tied within this system. But I now know that I can be more productive on the outside. I will continue to promote true and correct educational principles, awareness of civic affairs, and our duty to be involved. I am going to be a part of the solution. Asking questions is the essence of education. All I encourage of others is to ask questions, seek truth and not be afraid to share that truth with other Americans who are willing to listen.

Sincerely,

Mr. Stuart Harper

Teacher, Citizen, and Father”

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6 responses to “UT High School Physics Teacher Resigns Over Common Core

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  1. Anyone that writes: ” reminding them that true education comes from educating yourself on all sides.” has my full support. The only way people can learn is to check out all sides of an issue as paramount to our country and our rights as legal citizens of the United States of America”. Those that seek to take or usurp our rights are at the very least wrong and more likely traitors to very offices they hold. That is whether those offices are local or national and since this CC is being forced upon us by at the national level they are indeed traitors to the oaths they took when they assumed their offices.

  2. We have truly lost a great teacher and educator. I want a teacher who teaches my children how to think, not what to think. I admire Mr. Harper for his willingness to stand and frankly I am ashamed there are so many teachers who are willing to put up with this. I cannot believe that this is the America we live in today. Shame on the Utah Board of Education!!!

  3. GREAT letter, great man. The school system may have lost him, but he certainly isn’t dead!!! He will have great impact!
    Thank you, Mr. Harper

  4. Mr. Harper says, “…my greatest hope for education now resides in home-schools, home-school groups, and in private education.” If the public system goes down, there will be nothing left to protect the home schools and private schools. Look at what happened to Sweden! First vouchers got the private schools hooked into government funding. Then when the hook was fully implanted, they forced their curriculum on all private schools and slammed the door on ALL home schooling – taking the children away from parents who tried to home school their children!

    The public schools MUST be saved, or all is lost. The only way to save them is to reverse national takeover of the schools, but to make that permanent, we will HAVE to divide large districts into community-sized districts, in order to drive the issues and concerns back to the local level. If that is not done, the cycle will start over of people going to their legislators and congressmen to solve problems instead of their local board member. Government CANNOT solve education problems. They can only make it possible for the local people to do so, by returning that governance to the local community.

  5. A lady in my neighborhood just told me that 100 percent of the teachers in the Weber county school district, said that S.A.G.E. Testing influenced their decision to retire this year and over 100 are retiring from the district this year. She said many are retiring earlier than they had planned.

  6. Thank you for sharing the experience about why UT High School Physics Teacher Resigns Over Common Core.There are many other Reasons to resign apart from it.To know reason click this link for more information.

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