Common Core standards are posted on a bulletin board in a classroom.
AJ Mast/AP

Teacher: ‘I was bullied’ for opposing testing system

A Missouri teacher says she was intimidated and bullied because she opposes the newly implemented Common Core, a new standardized testing and lesson plan that has been adopted by 45 states.

Kindergarten teacher Susan Kimball of Sikeston, Missouri, testified in a legislative hearing that her bosses and fellow teachers had pressured her and others not to speak negatively about Common Core in public or online, lest they face repercussions at work.

“In a professional development meeting … in November, and at a faculty meeting in January, we were told in my building, and I quote, ‘Be careful about what you post on Facebook, or talk about in the public regarding Common Core. Don’t say anything negative. It could affect your job,’” Kimball recalled for the Missouri Senate Education Committee. Video of her testimony was recorded by Duane Lester, a conservative blogger, who was asked by several activists to attend and videotape the testimony and questions. (Lester says he’s not an activist on the issue, but he’s concerned about the lack of transparency and cost of implementing new standards.)

“When I turned in a personal day request to come support the rally for House Bill 1490, I was asked by my principal, ‘Do you really want that in your personnel file?’ And then I was bullied and ostracized by my administration, a few other teachers and the president of the school board. And that continues today,” Kimball said.

Common Core is a set of math and reading curricula and tests promoted by the Obama administration; Kimball was testifying in favor of two Senate bills that would remove or curb Common Core in Missouri schools.

“It has been heart-wrenching to watch my students frustration when having to be taught these lessons, especially when I know better from all my years of teaching that this is not appropriate, but I am powerless to do anything,” she said.

The testimony comes as millions of students try out Common Core testing for the first time. The results won’t be applied to the students or given to their teachers, but instead used by the test creators to continue developing the program.

Emails to anti-Common Core organizers in Missouri were unanswered by press time. 

Education Policy

Teacher: ‘I was bullied’ for opposing testing system