Society

Was This Teacher Fired Because Her Kids Performed Too Well On Tests?

| by Will Hagle

A fourth grade teacher at a Long Island elementary school has blamed her dismissal on the fact that her students have been performing too well on standardized tests. 

Voula Coyle had been teaching fourth graders at Rhame Avenue School in East Rockaway for 17 years before she was reassigned to a clerical job at East Rockaway High School following an investigation into her classroom conduct. 

Coyle claims that her removal from the classroom demonstrates the contradictory nature of the New York school system, which rewards academic improvement over consistent success.  

According to FiOS1 News, Coyle believes the New York State Education Department had lowered Rhame Avenue School’s ratings after students failed to show improvement in the fifth grade. Coyle attributes this lack of improvement, however, to her own success teaching the children in the previous grade. 

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By Coyle’s logic, she has been removed from the classroom so that the school can replace her with an inadequate teacher in order to demonstrate its improvement and continue receiving the necessary funding from the state. It's a complicated accusation, but Coyle's convictions are strong. 

“They are not putting their concern where it needs to be: with the children and the taxpayers. And they are destroying my reputation in the community,” she told Dan Prochilo of FiOS1 News

Coyle has also been accused of cheating in order to improve her students’ scores, as they did not represent the predicted distribution of varying grades. The teacher’s belief in her instructional approach is so strong that she is considering filing litigation against the school district. 

“One faculty member said our job is not to be optimal, but to be adequate. That underlying message of mediocrity was promoted,” said Coyle.

Coyle is currently under additional investigation that she has mistreated her students. She is expected to resume her clerical role at the high school in the fall.