Tag Archives: Curmie Award

And The Winner Of The Curmie Is….

blue ribbon

….Just whom I thought it should be…and a previous winner on Ethics Alarms.

Writes Rick Jones, announcing that his annual poll to pick the worst example of misconduct by education professionals that highlights the deep, deep problems in the field wisely selected Principal Greer Phillips of PS 79 (the Horan School) in East Harlem, who, you may recall, decided to terrify special needs students and her staff by running a surprise “a school massacre is happening right here at our school! ARGHHH!” drill shortly after the Newtown shooting…

“…it’s difficult to argue with the collective wisdom of Curmiphiles. Principal Phillips managed to do something not merely colossally stupid, but arrogant, cruel, smug, unethical, insensitive, reckless, boorish, and—oh, yeah—illegal, as well. Plus, in the kneejerk world of post-Newtown, it also succeeded in being an emblem of everything that makes me crazy about the world of public education and self-righteous liberal do-gooding.I may not have had preference among the finalists at the beginning of the voting, but you have convinced me that the right person won. I’ll send the Curmie along to her, but perhaps first I should call her up and tell her that there’s a serial killer waiting for her in her apartment and that he’s amusing himself by setting her cat on fire. She won’t really appreciate the Curmie until she gets out of therapy, anyway, right?”

Read his whole post here, and I urge you, again, to follow Rick’s blog.

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Vote For The 2013 Curmie, Designating The Worst Of Misconduct In The Name Of Education

...and middle school, and elementary school....

…and middle school, and elementary school….

Over at Rick Jones’ Curmudgeon Central, the final nominees for his not-so-coveted 2013 Curmie Award are up, and the winner will be determined by the vote of Rick’s readers. The Curmies memorialize the worst in U.S. conduct by education professionals, and a revoltingly diverse group of miscreants he has assembled. I urge you all to drop by, read Rick’s commentary (and about some of the awful incidents that didn’t make the cut), and vote.

Only three of Rick’s final eight were covered on Ethics Alarms, and while I am confident that the ultimate winner is among them, I am now second guessing my editorial judgment. Rick’s blog is more education-centric than Ethics Alarms ( his work has filled the gap created when the excellent “No Tolerance” blog went down), but I’m trying to recall why I passed on the other six, particularly Alex Evans and his imaginary grenade, and the student suspended for disarming another student. I think I was getting so sick of post-Sandy Hook hysteria when the invisible grenade story came out that I just couldn’t write about another one just then. The other one…well, as Rick notes, there were some complicating factors, but I should have covered it. Luckily Rick Jones was on the case, and did his usual excellent job.

Here, with Rick’s descriptions and links to his commentary, are the nominees:

Principal Greer Phillips of PS 79 (the Horan School) in East Harlem for conducting a completely unannounced (to teachers, to the police…) lockdown drill less than a week after the horrors at Sandy Hook Elementary. In aggravation: outrageous timing and an incompetently run drill complete with contradictory instructions, but also the makeup of the student body (a high percentage of students with emotional or cognitive problems). In mitigation: I can’t think of a thing. [Ethics Alarms commentary here.]

Principal Valerie Lara-Black of Mary Blair Elementary School in Loveland, Colorado for suspending 2nd-grader Alex Evans for throwing an imaginary grenade into an equally imaginary box containing “something evil.” In aggravation: this is stupid behavior even if there’s something tangible. In mitigation: there’s probably some idiotic zero tolerance policy that purports to justify if not demand these flights of inanity.

Principal Tracey Perkins of Cypress Lake (FL) High School for suspending a 16-year-old student because he disarmed another student, a football player who was threatening a teammate with a loaded gun. You see, he was “involved in an incident in which a weapon was present.” In aggravation: apart from the sheer idiocy the charges, they were changed after the school started being (quite rightly) embarrassed by the publicity. In mitigation: it is possible that the boy was indeed uncooperative with the ensuing investigation.

Principal Carla Scuzzarella of North Andover (MA) High School for stripping Erin Cox from her volleyball team captaincy and suspending her for five games because she went by a party where there was alcohol long enough to drive a drunken friend home. In aggravation: the police statement makes it clear that Ms. Cox had not been drinking, and the policy manual makes a specific point about the folly of guilt by association. In mitigation: there are reports that she was at the party longer than it would have taken just to collect her friend.

Officials at Dietrich (ID) High School for reporting science teacher Tim McDaniel to the school board and the state professional standards commission, allegedly for using the word “vagina.” Yes, in a biology class. In aggravation: Mr. McDaniel seems to be being penalized for the precise reason that he was doing his job. In mitigation: it is unclear to what extent the school per se was responsible for the brouhaha, although they clearly did little to prevent it.

Batavia (IL) High School and their equally incompetent school board for punishing social studies teacher John Dryden. His crime? Reminding his students of their 5th amendment rights while distributing a survey that could indeed have led to self-incrimination. In aggravation: the survey, with students’ name on it, was a clear invasion of student privacy, motivated by the usual nannyish hogwash. In mitigation: Dryden did react without checking with school officials about the intents of the survey. [Ethics Alarms commentary here.]

The unnamed teacher at Boles Junior High in Arlington, Texas for pouring pencil shavings into the mouth of 8th-grader Marquis Jay, and to the authorities who cravenly gave her a slap on the wrist. In aggravation: you need aggravation??? In mitigation: the boy deserved some punishment—he was at best inattentive—and it seems to have been an unpremeditated and isolated incident. [Ethics Alarms commentary here.]

Principal John Hynes of Grace Brethren High School in Simi Valley, California for the completely unauthorized action of changing the grades of at least one student (possibly several, including his own daughter), and the spineless board who allowed him get by with little punishment. In aggravation: it’s a short step from what has been admitted to and what has been alleged, which would be an outrageous abuse of power. In mitigation: with the exception of the one case, the allegations come almost exclusively from a now-former teacher. This may not be the most objective of sources.

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From Curmudgeon Central: The 2012 Curmie Results and “Legally Blonde” Redux

and-the-winner-is

The Curmie votes are in. This is Rick Jones’ annual prize awarded to educators who embarrass their (and his ) profession. Go to his blog, Curmudgeon Central, to see the winner and the vote totals. I don’t want to spoil the suspense.  Check out the nominations here if you haven’t already. A couple of observations, though: Continue reading

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A Lesson From Georgia: Schools Too Stupid To Be Ethical Are Also Too Stupid To Be Trusted To Teach

Handy Tip: Don't trust this man to educate your children.

Rick Jones, proprietor of Curmudgeon Central,  launched his Curmie Award last year, “honoring” educational professionals who embarrass their profession. Rick discovered a  Curmie-worthy story that he blogs on here, from the Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Norcross, GA. A teacher gave her third-grade class a Monty Pythonesque math test in which all the questions revolved around slavery:

  • “Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?”
  • “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?”
  •  “Frederick had 6 baskets full of cotton. If each basket held 5 pounds, how many pounds did he have all together?”

Moron.

Naturally the school got an earful from parents, and naturally the school, which had no possible justification for such wretched judgement on its teacher’s part, apologized and backtracked. It’s not enough. Why are such incompetent idiots hired to teach anything more sentient than a poodle? How can a parent trust a school that allows teachers like this in the front door? If your child is taught by a moron—and technical definitions aside, that is not an unfair or uncivil description of a teacher who thinks it’s reasonable to give the question, “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?” to a third-grader, your child’s likelihood of growing up moronic is vastly increased.

And yet, as Richard Dreyfus’s character says to Quint the shark-hunter as they compare scars in “Jaws,” “I got that beat.”In fact, Rick, I got that beat in Georgia. Continue reading

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