Cast Your Vote For The 2015 “Curmies,” Disgraces To The Field Of Education…

Charles Addams

Rick Jones, whose blog has been a past award winner at Ethics Alarms and who is also a much-cherished commenter here, has posted the nominees for his annual “Curmie Awards” (his blog is, after all, Curmudgeon Central.) The Curmies are “presented to the person or persons who most embarrass the profession of educator.”

This time, only one of his nominees were the objects of posts on Ethics Alarms. Following is the list of finalists; then go here to read more of Rick’s riffs on the nominees, and to recoil in horror at Rick’s dishonorable mentions, like the  Texas high school that “not only painted Christian zealotry on the corridor walls, they used made-up quotations from the likes of George Washington and Ronald Reagan to do it.” (I’m really sorry I missed that one.)…

1. …Gustine ISD in Texas, where Principal Alan Luker faced a rather unique problem: someone was leaving feces on the gym floor. So, naturally, a couple dozen 4th and 5th graders were carted off to separate rooms for girls and boys and made to drop their pants….

2. … Harrisburg (PA) Sci-Tech High School, where an (of course) unnamed Assistant Principal threatened senior Alexus Miller-Wigfall with suspension for wearing a dress that was “too revealing” to prom…apparently motivated by the fact that Ms. Miller-Wigfall has “more boobs than other girls,” who “have less to show.” (More boobs? Two aren’t enough for this girl?) [Ethics Alarms post here.]

3.…The State Education Department in Florida, which devised a testing apparatus whereby students who got perfect scores on a standardized test actually hurt their school and their teacher by not improving on the previous year’s perfect score. How often does this happen? Actually, tens of thousands of times annually. Yes, there’s a provision that allows districts to correct the record, and indeed the problem might have been fixed by now, but the mere fact that the default position was to punish teachers and schools for not improving on perfection tells us everything we need to know about the corporate-driven lunacy that now infests public education. [ I omitted this initially, finding it so incomprehensible that I, I don’t know, thought Rick was having a stroke or something. He assures me it’s real.]

4. …the Cypress-Fairbanks School District in greater Houston. Administrators there made Jef Rouner’s daughter wear a shirt over her sun dress and jeans under it because it had spaghetti straps….Rouner’s daughter, you see, was five at the time. Yes, five…

5. … Bedford (VA) Middle School, and specifically Assistant Principal Brian Wilson and School Operations Chief Frederick “Mac” Duis, who suspended the 11-year-old son (identified as “RMB”) of Bruce and Linda Bays for a year for marijuana possession. One problem: every field test of the substance found in the boy’s backpack came up negative. Not “inconclusive,” negative. It wasn’t pot, and school officials (admittedly, led on by an overzealous—to say the least—cop) went ahead and threw the boy out of school even though they knew the kid was guilty of—at most–pretending to have marijuana….

6. … Florence High School  [which] seems to have been turned over, lock, stock, and altar to Pastor Randy Pfaff, a run-of-the-mill religious charlatan with an ever-so-predictable persecution complex. Of course, the real problems are Principal Brian Schipper and Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti, who have allowed the school to become essentially a wing of the Cowboy Church at the Crossroads …Prayer meetings are publicized over the school P.A. system; the church distributes flyers on school property; there’s a prayer request box in the faculty lounge; all-school assemblies involve concerts by Christian rock bands and are based off Gospel passages. You get the idea. That an evangelical preacher would seek an audience of adolescents is reasonable enough; that public school administrators would cater to his every whim is unconscionable.

7. Marquette University, an institution with a solid academic reputation, tarnished it considerably by firing tenured associate professor John McAdams over a blog post…McAdams acted a little unprofessionally in calling out a grad student teaching assistant by name, but that’s an offense that (in isolation, at least) wouldn’t merit withholding tenure, let alone revoking it.

8…. Glen Oak Elementary School in Lewis Center, Ohio, where administrators (and presumably the school board) fired 5th grade teacher Nicole LeMire, [who] did precisely what actual experts say to do when confronting a classroom bully: call him out in front of the class….

Now do your ethics duty, and vote!

12 thoughts on “Cast Your Vote For The 2015 “Curmies,” Disgraces To The Field Of Education…

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Jack, but you missed one of the nominees: the State Board of Education in Florida, which created a testing mechanism that expects students who got a perfect score last year to get better than a perfect score this year.

  2. Gimmie dat ole tyme religion! I’m all fer gettin’ the Godless turned ’round in our schools! Do I hear a big AMEN, Brother Jack? Praise be to Brother Pfaff.Now I’m off to give my weekly tithe to Peter Popoff.

  3. “students who got perfect scores on a standardized test actually hurt their school and their teacher by not improving on the previous year’s perfect score.”
    This kind of Catch 22 is a feature of No Child Left Behind. Schools eventually reach a point of high achievement where they can no longer improve their percentages and then they have to send parents notice that they have not reached adequate yearly progress. Yes, number one schools in the state are forced to send out these notices. It has happened.

  4. Jack, number 3 gets even stupider. Florida didn’t even bother hiring someone to come up with an algorithm to accurately model the projected ‘guideline’ scores; they used an algorithm intended to model the reproduction of livestock. As a computer science major (all computer programs ultimately boil down to mathematical algorithms), I can tell you that this is the mathematical equivalent of trying to use a hammer to unscrew a bolt.

    • Chase–I don’t doubt what you’re saying, but could you point me to a source? If #3 wins, I’d love to be able to add this information to the announcement.

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