Tag Archives: public school

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/11/2018: Of Slave Cheerleading, Fake Degrees, And The Death of Pebbles

Good Morning!

(That’s the Kentucky All-State Choir serenading the hotel where they were staying last night, in observation of an annual tradition. I’m sure guests were kneeling everywhere in protest….)

1 Winter Olympics Ethics: You are all going to have to help me keep up with this, since I regard the whole enterprise as corrupt and cynical. How many of the competitors are doping? How many little girls are being molested by their coaches? How much gauging by local businesses is going on? Why are American citizens marching under flags of foreign nations? How many athletes are going to exploit the opportunity for political grandstanding? I’m dedicated to following cultural ethics, but as my terse and eloquent friend is prone to say in such situations, “There is some shit I won’t eat.”

So far, I note…

  • Vice President Mike Pence is getting roundly criticized for not being properly diplomatic regarding the North Koreans, refusing to shake hands with officials, and not standing when the unified Korean team entered the stadium during opening ceremonies. I would not criticized the Veep if he had behaved otherwise, but I won’t fault Pence for his choice, which I  assume were signed off on  by the President. Cognitive dissonance—my, this has been relevant lately!—applies. North Korea is a brutal regime that savages its people, spends money on weaponry while the public is malnourished, and has devoted a year threatening to nuke us.

They and their leader have earned contempt, not respect. The degree of criticism Pence is receiving from the news media shows how many journalists viscerally prefer North Korea to the Trump Presidency.

  • On that score, the gushing of NBC, ABC and CNN over the North Korean synchronized cheerleading squad is bizarre, dumb and tasteless. The 200+ team is propaganda for totalitarianism, and the less praise it receives from useful idiots, the better.  At one point, NBC tweeted “This is so satisfying” with a video of the beaming slave squad, then quickly deleted the tweet after a faint ethics alarm sounded.

This is one of those times we should be grateful for social media, as the Twitter assassins had their knives out, and appropriately so. My favorite of the many appropriate tweets collected here,

“Look happy or your little sister gets fed to a pack of dogs.”

  • And speaking of idiots, NBC Sports had to apologize after Asian correspondent Joshua Cooper Ramo told the Opening Ceremony TV audience  that “every Korean” respected Japan. This demonstrates astounding ignorance of culture and history, and stunning incompetence by NBC in preparing its broadcasters for covering an international event in South Korea.

2. Animal Ethics: Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Around the World, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Social Media

An Eight-Year-Old New Jersey Girl Is Waiting For Her Invitation To The White House…

Left: Potentially harmful to the academic environment. Right: A positive influence on students' behavior.

Left: Potentially harmful to the academic environment. Right: A positive influence on students’ behavior.

Proposition: Any educational system that can produce a headline like this…

Girl suspended from school for wearing wrong shade of green

…needs help desperately.

Or to be torn down and reconceived completely. I am tending toward the latter.

The headline is in fact correct. Winslow Township Elementary School No. 4 sent an eight-year old girl home  for wearing a Kelly green polo shirt, which was deemed to be in violation of the Camden County (New Jersey) school’s dress code, decreeing that shirts and blouses may only be white, navy blue, or dark green.  This is important, for as the  Winslow Township School’s code on dress and grooming points out “school attire can influence a pupil’s behavior and potentially impact the academic environment.”

This kind of mindless autocratic abuse of children causes them to become cynical, angry, submissive, fearful, distrustful of adults, or contemptuous of authority, none of which are good. The President of the United States, since he appears to be in the business of addressing local school wrongs, could perform a service by humiliating these cruel, dim-bulb administrators and their many equivalents by inviting this victimized young lady to the White House. But then she’s not a Muslim, or dark skinned, or a kid who pretended to invent something when he didn’t, so forget it.

I’m sorry I mentioned it.

________________________

Pointer: Fark

4 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, U.S. Society

Trying To Find A Good Analogy For The Horrific Failure Of America’s Colleges Being Accompanied By The Myth That A College Degree Is Essential

Great. What is it you think you did???

Great. What is it you think you did???

This latest example of a “Look! College grads are too ignorant to come in out of the rain!” survey” isn’t entirely surprising to me, but it is infuriating in a new way. Usually I react to such things with intensified contempt for the grads themselves, their lack of intellectual curiosity, their failure to meet the barest of requirements for competent citizenship. I still feel that way, but my disgust has refocused on other miscreants: the schools themselves, but most of all, the shills for continuing the myth that a college education is not only indispensable for personal and professional success, but worth beggaring the nation to ensure that everyone obtains one.

From a press release of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (and one which was ignored by the news media so they could spend all their time giving Donald Trump free publicity. That’s incredibly incompetent, but hey, the news media is run by college grads, so what do you expect?):

College Graduates Don’t Know Basic Facts About the Constitution

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 8, 2015 — The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) today released a survey that shows how little college graduates and the general public know about the Constitution.

According to the study, nearly 10% of college graduates think Judith Sheindlin — commonly known as Judge Judy — is on the Supreme Court; one-third of college graduates can’t identify the Bill of Rights as a name given to a group of Constitutional amendments; and 32% believe that Representative John Boehner is the current president of the U.S. Senate. Shockingly, 46% of college grads don’t know the election cycle — six years for senators, two years for representatives. Turning to the general population, the report finds that over half (54%) of those surveyed cannot identify the Bill of Rights accurately, and over 1 in 10 (11%) of those ages 25–34 believe that the Constitution must be reauthorized every four years….

Continue reading

55 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Education, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Research and Scholarship, U.S. Society, Workplace

P.S. 120’s Pay-To-Play Carnival: How Can We Entrust Our Children’s Education To People Like This?

150521_  Carnival at PS 120, 58-01 136th St, Queens, NY, for Sunday, J.C.Rice

I don’t know why my head didn’t blow up with this one. Maybe I’m building up resistance. (Is that good or bad?)

PS 120 in Flushing, Queens, held a carnival for its students last week during school hours, with nearly 900 kids, pre-K to fifth-grade, taking turns in 45 minutes shifts.  There were inflatable slides, a space-bounce, rides,popcorn, ices, music and more. It also cost parents $10, and if they didn’t pay, their kids were forced to sit in the auditorium and listen to their richer classmates having fun.

Now the carnival operator is offering to hold a repeat for the excluded children. “If I had known that there were kids not allowed to attend the carnival, I would have paid for them,” he now says.   That’s nice (and smart PR), but the damage is done.

All the teachers, administrators, the PTA and the principal involved in planning this event, and not one had the functioning ethics alarm to say, “WHAT? We can’t exclude kids who can’t pay. That’s unfair and cruel.”  Wow.

Find another way to fund the event. Find a sponsor. Tell the parents who can pay that they will also be paying for poorer families that cannot. Cancel the event, but whatever you do, you can’t punish kids because their parents can’t or won’t pay ten dollars.

Oh—the school made a nice profit on the carnival!

People this incompetent and lacking in compassion and common sense shouldn’t be allowed alone with children, much trusted to teach them.

___________________________

Pointer: Fred

Facts: NY Post 1, 2

 

65 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee

And Now A Brief Public School KABOOM! From Your Sponsor…

exploding-head

There were fewer Ethics Alarms posts last year about outrageous conduct by public school teachers and administrators. I think this was because my brain was trying to save itself from ending up on the ceiling, as it so frequently does in these KABOOM! inducing stories.

And here is the first one of 2015…

In Gustine, Texas, population 457, there is just one schoolhouse for the elementary school kids. Apparently some incontinent young prankster has repeatedly deposited #2 on the gym floor, and since they had no clues, teachers rounded up two dozen student suspects—some as old as 12–and ordered them  “to pull down their pants” so the teachers could “check them to see if they could find anything.”

I’ll tell you what teachers would find if they tried that on my kid: a criminal complaint and an arrest warrant. Continue reading

30 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Kaboom!

Signature Significance For A Ruined U.S. Education System: The Tasteless School Drama Awards Ceremony

high_school ruin

How could this happen? I’ll tell you…but first, let’s be horrified together, shall we?

In Bellingham, Washington, the High School’s drama club held an evening awards ceremony.  A parent who attended the ceremony in the school auditorium with her 17-year-old daughter,  who was nominated for an award, reported to a local TV station that the ceremony was, to understate the case, “inappropriate.” In an email to KOMO News, the mother said the teacher, Teri Grimes, a 30 year veteran who is retiring after this year, repeatedly used profanity and told a vulgar joke.  Sex toys were given for one of the awards; the category was “Horniest Stud.” She  wrote:

“I sat there with my mouth open in shock and the final straw was when a joke was told on stage about a teacher, a lawyer and a priest on a plane. The plane was going down and the teacher says we have to save the children. The attorney says ‘Fuck the children!’ and the priest says “Ooooh..Do we have time for that???”

She left after that. Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Education, Etiquette and manners, Professions, U.S. Society

Comment of the Day #1: The Eventual Firing of Daniel Picca: Why Our Children Are Not Safe In Public School

child-endangerment

One aspect of Ethics Alarms that provides me with both satisfaction and pride is that participants in the events that sparked particular ethics commentaries sometimes comment on the posts, providing fascinating and useful perspective. Such a comment arrived yesterday, a heart-felt and wrenching testimony by a former student who was one of the many abused by teacher Daniel Picca, in Montgomery County (Maryland) schools. My post had focused on the fact that his proclivities were well known by 1995, yet it took school administrators until 17 years later to fire him.

I also note, ruefully, that the original post concluded by pointing out that the tendency of those in positions of authority to postpone confronting reality, to avoid confrontation and to rationalize inaction even in the face of undeniable peril to others was mirrored in the U.S.’s irresponsible approach to the conduct of the leadership in Syria and Iran. It was written in 2012.

Here is Sergio Madrid’s Comment of the Day on the post, The Eventual Firing of Daniel Picca: Why Our Children Are Not Safe In Public School:

As a former student, this is all true. I was too young to know it back then, but this man is a calculating monster. Reading this story does not surprise me one bit.

Back in the day (early 90′s – Rachel Carson Elementary), he had kids from my neighborhood help him come clean his classroom and we did challenges for candy. He had a closet FULL of candy. I can reflect that his “Picca Magical Dollars” was an excellent motivator in the classroom – it was also my neighborhood’s downfall for young boys at the time. The magical bucks were used to buy candy on Fridays (if we chose to spend our money) and that candy was the bait for young boys. We were too young to even know. After school, we would clean his classroom and he would have me sit on his lap. He would have me flex and he squeezed my muscles. I do remember one incident where he squeezed and did not let go. I squirmed in agony and would back and head butt him – busted his lip and he got up and yelled at me to leave his room and go home.

Too bad I’m late. I really wish I would have stepped up on this man. He IS a monster and let me tell you …. he single-handedly destroyed all my African American and Latino friends in 5th grade with his malicious words and style. They were targets from day one and NEVER recovered to be successful students in school. I still remember all this some 20-25 years later.

Although I do not know where he currently is, keep this man away from ANY schools with young children. If one person reads this – please understand it’s very real and true. I didn’t hide my real name. He was my 5th grade teacher. Real shame and sad to read these articles.

3 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Childhood and children, Comment of the Day, Education, Government & Politics, Leadership, Workplace