Rick Jones, known to his web fans as Curmie (short for Curmudgeon), has had a busy year in his day job as a tender of young college-age minds, and his excellent blog was not as active as years past. Just in time for his annual awards for the worst transgressions in the field of education, however, he has returned with a vengeance, exploring at length and with his usual superb ethical instincts several incidents I have not had time to tackle here. Among them…
- …a bullying high school football coach who decided the school band had no right to perform at halftime, and a principal without the guts to put him in his place (as in “the sidelines”)
- …stunning examples of outrageously unethical and unprofessional conduct by school personnel nonetheless deemed insufficient provocation for relieving them of their jobs
- ...a jaw-dropping incident where the Cleveland State University Chapter of the Association for American University Professors has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against law school dean Craig M. Boise because it claims that his awarding some AAUP members merit increases of $666, constituted a sly suggestion that they were creatures of Satan!!!!
Rick, in one of his posts, makes the oft-heard point that the many awful incidents of miserable judgement and outright misconduct, if not criminal conduct, on the part of teachers and administrators should not be projected on the education profession as a whole, since these are relatively rare. I hear him, but I am not convinced. As one who was sufficiently alarmed by the incompetence of multiple educators in private and public schools to homeschool my own child, and as a frequent chronicler of unethical conduct in the ranks of educators, I have concluded that it is a profession adrift, with its values warped by unions that have less interest in children than job security and pensions, and administrators whose primary goals are keeping their jobs and avoiding lawsuits. The fact that the profession still has no official ethical standards is a significant clue that it is a profession in name only. As for the theoretically rare instances of child-abuse, teachers bullying students, no tolerance excesses, indoctrination, sexual predators and the rest, I think it is far more likely that we see only the tip of a very ugly iceberg than that the horrors making the news, web and police reports comprise a full accounting of the state of ethics in American education.
Here is one account of the years misadventures in the classroom, from the blog ConMom. The post is called “Who is Teaching Your Kid?,” and unless the answer is Rick Jones, there is cause for concern.