Jackson County Board of Education members on Monday voted unanimously to fire a teacher who refused to administer state end-of-grade tests to his students with severe disabilities.
The board went into closed session for about two hours during its meeting before voting 5-0 to agree with the superintendent’s recommendation that Doug Ward’s contract not be renewed, Ward said.
“They’re also keeping me suspended through the end of the year. They’re not going to let me come back and say goodbye to the kids,” Ward said. “But that’s what I expected.”
Ward, 36, a teacher at Cullowhee Valley School, sent a letter to his school and district administration May 12 saying he would not participate in the NCEXTEND1 because recent test changes made it impossible for his students to pass.
Students with disabilities must be tested under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. This is the first time a North Carolina teacher has refused to administer standardized tests, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
Phone messages left with school board members were not immediately returned Monday.
Ward said he hopes to explore working as an administrator as he expects to be blackballed as a teacher.
“Hopefully this whole thing will motivate (the school board) to maybe take a second look,” Ward said. “But I realize it’s more of a system issue than anything else. They’re just kind of fulfilling their roles in the system and unfortunately, due to the law, that really doesn’t give them any latitude to use some logic or critical thinking when it comes to decisions."
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