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[Susan notes: The article to which this fine letter responds makes the point that "Every aspect of an office worker's life can now be measured, and an increasing number of corporations and institutions -- from cosmetics companies to car-rental agencies Ă¢€” are using that information to make hiring and firing decisions." Three cheers to Charlotte Burns for showing that teachers are treated like office workers.

And I say support Harper's with your subscription.]

Published in Harper's

To the editor

Re: The Spy Who Fired me, March 2015. As a teacher in Massachusetts, I have witnessed a trend toward "accountability" prompted by Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, and the Common Core. Like UPS or Starbucks workers, teachers are now being electronically tracked by state education departments. Through PowerSchool, a program used for planning and grading, teachers are required to show that every lesson pertains to the assigned strand of the Common Core. If grades donĂ¢€™t meet expectations, teachers must provide research-based and data-driven strategies for improving them. In programs like TeachPoint, an elaborate, time-consuming self-evaluation, I have to provide evidence for twenty-five standards of instruction.

Teachers meet these new demands by disposing of creativity and flexibility. As a high school student, I wrote stories and plays in English class. Now kids learn to master the art of the state-mandated open-response question.

Charlotte Burns

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