Zeppie to Retire at End of School Year; Says American Education System “Broken”

Osborn School Principal Clarita Zeppie announced earlier this week in a letter to parents that – “after much agonizing and soul-searching” – she will retire at the end of the school year.

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Published January 31, 2012 3:10 PM
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zeppiethumbOsborn School Principal Clarita Zeppie announced earlier this week in a letter to parents that – “after much agonizing and soul-searching” – she will retire at the end of the school year.

 

By Jim Byrne

 

Osborn School Principal Clarita Zeppie announced earlier this week in a letter to parents that – “after much agonizing and soul-searching” – she will retire at the end of the school year.

zeppieMs. Zeppie has overseen Osborn for the past eight years, and been in education since 1972. She came to the decision because of her disillusionment with the direction of education in the country, pointing to what she called the damage done to kids by standardized testing.

 

“After watching ‘Race to Nowhere’, I decided I want to be an advocate for children and teachers,” said Ms. Zeppie, referring to the 2009 film about the pressures today’s students face. “Being an administrator in Rye means I can’t voice my opinions, because they would be seen as politically incorrect.”

 

In recent years, Osborn has lagged behind Midland and Milton in standardized math scores. The principal is disappointed she has been asked to cut back or cut out programs that are “creative” and “inspire critical thinking” so more time can be spent on “so-called ‘skills and drills’”.

 

“It’s not what I signed up for,” she said. “I like to see students come to school happy and smiling. I like to see them ask questions, play with blocks, and interact with one another. I don’t want to see them stressed out, so I made a decision that I want to be part of the solution, and I can’t do that because it’s not in keeping with the District’s policy of high levels on standardized testing.”

 

The St. John’s graduate, who previously worked in Hempstead and New York City schools as a teacher, principal, and administrator, said she “doesn’t want to be around to watch the suicide epidemic reach the elementary school level”.

 

She added, “Look at Cornell University, where they’re talking about putting safety nets under city bridges because so many kids are jumping to their deaths. Kids are stressed to the point they can’t sleep or have a minute’s peace because they’re worried about the future and the need to be ‘successful’. There are core standards for pre-K now, and kindergarten is the new first grade. We’ve gone off the deep, it’s totally ridiculous. Children should not have their childhood taken away from them.”

 

Ms. Zeppie is already in touch with an advocacy group connected to “Race to Nowhere”, and has joined another organization called Miss Representation that advocates for females misrepresented in life and the media.

 

“I live in Connecticut and have a place in Florida, so I’ll continue to stir the pot wherever I go,” she said with a laugh, before getting serious again. “I have a mission and I won’t stop until changes are made.”

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