I Am A Teacher Who Is Breaking Up With Public Education (Because It Sucks)


Dear Public Education,

We need to talk. Look, I know we haven’t really been together that long but something like this is never easy.

I have been twirling this pen back and forth between my hesitant fingers wondering if they will ever muster up the strength to get a grip. The truth is, Public Education, I haven’t been happy in this relationship for quite some time.

I am not saying we were never good together, because we were. I never felt like being together was wrong, but I also wasn’t convinced we were totally right either. Public Education, I’m breaking up with you. And the thing is…it’s not you, it’s me.

Public Education I loved you. During our honeymoon phase I put everything I had — every ounce of effort — into making us work and for a while, we did. Despite the bad press, political whispers, or occasional standardized setbacks we both believed that we had a bright future together.

Then, Public Education, something happened: you and I both changed. You see, I always preferred discovery over documentation and you were suddenly more focused on the product, where I prefer the process. I felt like the water I was treading was all for the sake of keeping you trending.

I know you are rolling your eyes, Public Education, but please hear me out. To be honest, I feel like you were always too busy listening in when you should have been listening up. This isn’t the first time a teacher wrote you a letter and publicly broke up with you. Every day there seems to be a new, well-composed, poignant letter from someone leaving you. This is not one of those letters.

Please listen to me when I say: “It’s not you…it’s me.”

Public Education, you surrounded me with a family, not a faculty, but a family of often underappreciated, devoted professionals whom I was privileged enough to call my colleagues.

Public Education, you gave me the greatest opportunity of all: a platform for impacting children. This alone was my favorite part about being with you; it was the highlight of many days of my life. However, over time, our once-creative platform began to shrink. Now that platform feels more like a plank, and these pirates dressed as politicians make it awfully hard for me to swim when they tie my hands behind my back.

I believe we met for a reason, Public Education, but being with you is not at all how I imagined. There are plenty of other fish in the applicant pool. There are so many people out there looking for exactly what you offer. You will find someone else to replace me, you always do.

It’s not you… it’s me.

I would say, “never change” but that’s what we do…we change. I hope in both our cases we change for the better.


A Former Public School Teacher