The Ugly Truth About The Teaching Profession: Orlando Public Schools Division

Whiplash

Magnify this news report about public school teachers disciplined in the Orlando area, what, 10,000? 100,000? times, and the complete untrustworthiness of the U.S. teaching profession should come into sharp focus.

Highlights…

  • The teaching certificate of Jeanne Michaud, who taught math at Longwood’s Lyman High was permanently revoked in a settlement agreement approved last month by the Education Practices Commission, quasi-judicial group that levies penalties against educator’s certificates.

Michaud showed students a crude wooden carving of a penis and testicles. Michaud also kept an umbrella that students “regularly used to strike each other with,” according to the evidence. She spread gossip about teachers and administrators in class, denigrating them in front of students.

  •  Gregory Alan Sims, a former science teacher at Lake Brantley High in Altamonte Springs, was accused of putting tape on a girl’s mouth and taping her belongings to a pole. Sims claimed that he only mimicked putting tape on the girl’s mouth. Sims’ settlement agreement calls for two years of probation and completion of a classroom management course if he returns to teaching. He also was fined $750.

  • Dina Ortiz, a former teacher at Princeton House Charter School in Orlando, “inappropriately disciplined” two students with autism, according to the state’s documents. In one incident, Ortiz was accused of placing tape over a 12-year-old autistic boy’s mouth to stop him from talking. In the second incident, Ortiz “crossed both of [a 13-year-old girl’s] arms and forcefully held them down while she yelled into her face.”

Mouth-taping seems to be a thing in Orlando. Ortiz was fired from the charter school in May 2014. Her settlement calls for two years of probation, courses in exceptional student education and classroom management, and a $750 fine

  • Robert Douglas Garland is accused of threatening to hit students with a baseball bat and kicking a student’s desk.  In another incident, a 15-year-old boy repeatedly asked Garland a question. The teacher reacted by grabbing him by the shoulder and shouting in his face, “It’s gonna be a freaking ratio!'”

Mr Chips, Garland is not. His settlement calls for two years of probation, a fine of $750 and a classroom management course.

  • Carol Clark Finch instructed the students to get on their knees, face the wall  with their heads touching it, and forced the students yo maintain this position for a period of between three and 20 minutes. Documents also say she “pushed or shoved another student to the ground and locked him out of the classroom.”   Finch’s settlement agreement calls for a year of probation,  a course in classroom management if she returns to teaching, and a fine of $750.

Just fills you with confidence, doesn’t it?

Teacher training is inadequate; there is no standard Code of Ethics for the profession; oversight is poor, and as a result, there is an unacceptable proportion of incompetent, untrustworthy teachers and administrators in the system that make education for far too many children an ordeal rather than a preparation for life, other than the undeniable value of learning how to deal with power-abusing assholes, of course.

Bad teachers are also treated far too leniently. In this group, for example, only Michaud was banned.

How many would you like to see teaching your child, after they were re-instated?

And now, to cleanse your brain, LULU!

17 thoughts on “The Ugly Truth About The Teaching Profession: Orlando Public Schools Division

  1. There is a reason, after being employed by our local high school in South Florida for all of three weeks, that I went home and told my husband “over my dead body….” and by the following June we had moved, and our kids were enrolled in the Wisconsin public school system.

    • I had read that as having seen what high school students were like, you and your husband moved your children far away, while you remained where you were. A perfectly reasonable response to impending adolescence.

  2. I think there’s a pretty good argument to be made that school and state should be separated. It’s too destructive if placed in power-crazy hands and, mostly, it’s persuasive in nature and no amount of state power can change that.

    I recently caught a rerun of “To Sir, with Love” on TV. It ran a little longer than the allotted time, so they cut out the song, “To Sir, with Love.”

    • Since much of Left-wing politics is ingrained into young minds at such an early education, via the public school system, you could very easily call Public Education the church of the Left. And one ought to separate church and state.

  3. Teachers as a group probably have about the same proportion of bad apples as any other profession. The issue is that teachers are responsible for children. That takes their bad behavior to another level. Teachers who abuse children should be out.

    On the other hand students bad behavior should also be taken into consideration. Teachers who cannot handle students who misbehave need to learn better methods. Students who exploit the system should be removed from classrooms so that students who want to learn can. My guess is that it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

  4. I wouldn’t want to be a teacher, though I once considered it. The kinds of discipline used when I was a student aren’t allowed, and I’ve heard too many stories of kids running riot. These teachers above never had that thought: what if this happened to my kid?

  5. At the beginning of sixth grade classes in the mid-1950s, my teacher explicitly prohibited gum chewing in class. Predictably, several days later he caught two girls chewing gum. He calmly told them to come to the front of the classroom, to remove the gum from their mouths and to stick it to the blackboard at nose level. After instructing them to stand about a foot in front of the blackboard, he had them lean forward until their noses were leaning against the gum. They stayed there for roughly three or four minutes. Then he calmly told them to take their seats. As I recall there was never another instance of gum chewing in that class, nor were there any other discipline problems. In fact he was known as a popular and well-liked teacher, and a number of years later he became principal of the school. This post, Jack, has me scratching my head. Was this lesson too harsh/unethical or a good-natured way to demonstrate that the teacher would not tolerate disobedience in the classroom?

    • This would be what the 8th amendment calls cruel and unusual punishment. That it worked isn’t a defense. But the example is still materially less cruel that the similar one in the post. 20 minutes? Kneeling?

  6. I have been told that a great positive difference has been made in schools where parents are hired and trained as assistants to teachers, especially in overcrowded classrooms (other than their own kids). Besides alleviating the usual problems of getting materials distributed and other time-taking chores — not to mention giving part-time gainful employment to people who are underemployed and often undereducated themselves — the children respond more promptly, respectfully and calmly in their presence, and the teacher’s head of steam is less likely to blow. I am assuming that it also helps either “side” to have an adult witness to misbehavior. I’m pretty sure these were private schools, though: the teacher’s union might object.

  7. Smaller schools, private schools, charter schools, parent involvement, local control, and dozens (probably more) of other methods could alleviate the problem for both teachers and students, but teachers unions block every avenue. It’s as if they really don’t want schools and teachers to be effective. Every solution they offer makes the problem worse. The goal for teacher unions is to make teaching easy, highly paid, and non-accountable. Parents and people who care about education have very different goals.

  8. I am not supporting the teachers that you have presented but you have highlighted five teachers. Even if this represents only a hundredth of the bad teachers that actually exist what does that calculate as a percentage of teachers in the US. Exceedingly small I would say. To multiply this five by ten thousand or one hundred thousand seems manifestly unfair and akin to claiming that all police are racist or incompetent.

    Here in Australia the rules placed on teachers are completely ridiculous. Students can’t be kept in after school, can’t get the cane, of course, can’t be given extra homework, can’t be kept down and can’t have a negative comment written on their report card. If a teacher writes: “Little Johnny could achieve better if he paid more attention in class” you should read it as:”Your snotty, entitled little bully is disrupting my entire class and preventing every other student reaching anything like their potential. If I had any power at all he’d be booted out of here so fast it would take a month for his head to catch up with his arse!”

    To top it off special needs students are placed in regular classes, some classes having four students with severe learning and behavioural problems. Having worked in a school and having relatives who did and do I am appalled at what teachers have to put up with and despair at the future of education in Australia.

    Bad teachers have to go, but so do bad students and bad parents. To deprive teachers of any method of discipline and then expect them to teach will lead to more examples like those you have given of teachers snapping.

    • My point, is, was and has always been that this is a profession that isn’t regulated, has no standards, and is insufficiently disciplined. I would guess, since most of the conduct is performed against children, the teachers who are actually apprehended doing such things is a tiny, tiny percentage of the whole mass of cruel, incompetent teachers. Note that I didn’t include the sexual predators. Here’s one from last week—again, these are the ones we hear about.

      Bad parents and bad students can’t be kept from being parents and kids, and they aren’t compensated for being lousy at those roles either. It’s a false dichotomy.

  9. Yes, I understand that. Things seem to be somewhat different here in the antipodes where teaching is regulated. As to standards, there are certainly some who don’t measure up academically and some who lack any semblance of class management but they are vastly outnumbered, in my experience, by the excellent teachers. It is common that only the best graduates get jobs teaching these days and many graduates do not get to enter the field.

    As to disciplined, teachers here get sacked for the slightest infractions, especially if a parent comes in claiming the teacher ‘done their little Jonny wrong’!

    I am very much in favour of teachers being regulated, having standards to meet and having a disciplinary system but the problem here is that the system sucks and the teachers, students and parents are let down because we kow-tow to the latter two. If you want to refine Gold you need to scrape of the dross.

  10. Whether the teachers have standards and are regulated or disciplined is really up to the local school boards. Some have clear, written policies that define boundaries. The really good policies are those that hold principals accountable for monitoring the standards. In a recent incident involving educator misconduct (with which I am familiar) the whistle blowers were fellow students who went straightaway to the principal’s office.

      • At the risk of facing your scorn, let me point that in a school system with clearly defined policies those within the system do recognize specific standards. Also, might I inquire as to whether there are standards in other professions: plumbers, police officers, elected officials, journalists, bloggers, physicians, lawyers, college presidents, coaches in college sports, professional athletes, executives in sports leagues, preachers?

        • No scorn—those are valid questions. Jeez, am I that forbidding?

          Don’t mix-up professions and occupations. Professions are self-policing, require certification, and involve sacrifice for the public good (supposedly). In the list you provided:

          plumbers: not a profession, and not self-policing
          police officers: No profession wide standards, and you can see the results…
          elected officials: Codes of ethics that aren’t followed. Like educators, a profession that can’t be trusted because it doesn’t act like one
          journalists: A profession with universally accepted ethics that no longer follows, enforces or respects them, and therefore no longer a respectable profession.
          bloggers: not a profession. Not even an occupation, in most cases..
          physicians: despite bad apples and too lax policing, a profession, with many codes that essentially say the same thing…and ethics training.
          lawyers: a profession, the most thorough and used of all ethics codes, and required training.
          College presidents: no, no, no and no.
          coaches in college sports: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Thanks, I needed that.
          professional athletes: not a profession by a longshot.
          executives in sports leagues: see Goodell, Roger.
          preachers: Yes, a profession, but one with a lot of frauds, fakes and hacks.

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