Dear Reformers

Dear Reformers,

When I read the latest teacher-resignation  letter circulating the internet, I couldn’t help but suspect that it filled you with a bit of glee.

You don’t want us anyway. You have made this quite clear.

And so I am here to tell you something different.

I am here to tell you that there is a growing army of us – yes, army  – who are refusing to quit, despite the havoc you are wreaking on our profession.

I am here to tell you that not only have we vowed not to quit – we have also vowed to fight.

We are getting organized, and are rapidly growing in our ranks.

So let it be clear that just as you have declared war on us, we have declared war on you.

Yes, you have your freakish amounts of money and the political power  you’ve bought with it.

You have your strategically formed foundations and your consultants with their arsenal of devious, deceitful tricks.

You have your wickedly distorted narratives that you have spent years crafting.

You have your egos and your algorithms  and your data that means whatever you want it to mean.

But we have more than that.

We have families – parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers – and the unthinkable amount of love they generate each day.

We have momma bears whose claws are out and fangs are bared.

We have whole communities who will not stand idly by as their schools go under due to your business plans.

We have deep, fiery anger at the way we, as professionals, have been treated over the last decade, and even deeper anger over the way our children have been used as guinea pigs in your covert experiments.

We also have the truth.

So be prepared.

We are not quitting, and will not be surrendering.


Teachers (and mothers, and fathers, and grandparents, and communities…) Everywhere


Author: Emily Talmage

My name is Emily Talmage and I teach fourth grade at Montello Elementary School in Lewiston, Maine. In addition to teaching in Lewiston, I have also taught special education and general education in New York City, including one year at a “high-performing” charter school in Brooklyn. I also have two master’s degrees; one in Urban Education from Mercy College, and another in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. I have also worked as a research analyst and assistant at the National Center for Children and Families at Columbia and Oldham Innovative Research in Portland.

9 thoughts on “Dear Reformers”

  1. Wow! I love the fierce commitment and passion in this statement. I will say however, that I equally respect the passion and ethical convictions of those teachers who have refused to participate in an abusive system anymore. While I commend teachers who refuse to be pushed out, I will likewise APPLAUD those who refuse to continue following orders.

    That’s where I’m at with this. FWIW


      1. And some of us who have left the actual classroom after decades inside, are continuing the fight from the outside. Now that I am NOT putting in that 70-hour week and worrying about my students and what they need that I don’t have the resources to give, I am wielding another weapon in my arsenal – I write. I write. I write. I write. Letters to Congress. Letters to book companies. Letters to parents. Facebook. Comments to the media. Letters to the editor. Since NCLB first appeared with its objective to destroy public education, I have not been silent. I am not silent. I will not BE silenced.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. There are many of us who spent many years in the classroom and are now retired. We know how much things have changed for teachers. I didn’t have to deal with a lack of respect when I first started teaching i in 1970, and I could actually use my skills to prepare lessons which would benefit individual students. Testing was not an issue until No Child Left Behind was passed and data management became the rule of the day. My teacher evaluation was not affected until the very end of my career by how students “performed to a higher level each year” on their tests because every instructor knows that with each new class there is a new challenge — different students with their own learning styles. The reformers are here to simply destroy public education, but in time I believe we will see the pendulum swing back the other way.

        We are behind you 100% and will do everything in our power to bring public education back for the children, parents and teachers of this country. Thank you for all you do! You, Emily, are my hero.


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