December 04, 2005

Sunday education burst

Ever wonder why teachers complain about working conditions? Why they complain about poor parenting? Case in point: Joanne Jacobs details where a mom had the teacher charged with assault -- because a teacher dared lay a hand on her "angel" when the kiddie tried to leave class without permission. Mom has a record of this kind of stuff -- she did the same thing to her son's elementary art teacher. Nice.

In a different vein, Darren notes how a lesbian high schooler is suing her school -- because they informed her parents that she was making out with her girlfriend in the school hallways. The school may face legal hassles for suspending the girl for her "activity" -- they don't seem to have suspended heterosexual couples who were swapping spit -- but let's face it, the girl, Charlene Nguon, has no case for her supposed violation of privacy. Making out in public school hallways sort of precludes any privacy "right" one may want invoke, don't'cha think?

Back to Joanne Jacobs, she also reveals how our lovely lawyers are filing a class action suit against soda makers -- for selling sugared sodas in school vending machines.

The suit's legal basis will be tied to the concept of ''attractive nuisance: If somebody has something on his land like a swimming pool that he knows is attractive to kids and dangerous, then he has some obligation to keep the kids away from it," (lawyer Richard) Daynard said. ''You want to keep kids away from dangerous objects, and a soda machine is demonstrated to be a dangerous object for kids."

I could see that if these machines had a history of toppling down on kids, but soda? Now a "dangerous product"? I love this line, too: "[Lawyer Richard] Daynard said the challenge is finding the right set of parents to sign on as plaintiffs for the class-action case."

Yeah -- parents like the mom in the first anecdote on this post.

Elsewhere, US News and World Report's John Leo now has his own blog (to which we've linked, by the way) and he opines on the matter of a Catholic school that fired a pregnant teacher. That's not all -- she's not married. He notes:

An unmarried pregnant teacher, dealing with impressionable 4- or 5-year-olds, is inevitably a role model, here presenting a message clearly contrary to the one the church wants to send. Besides, when she was hired, she accepted the requirements of the teachers' personnel handbook, which says: "A teacher is required to convey the teachings of the Catholic faith by his or her words or actions, demonstrating an acceptance of Gospel values and the Christian tradition."

It may sound harsh, but legally the Church appears on solid ground. Not surprisingly, the ACLU is on the case -- for the teacher. The supposed "guardians of the 1st Amendment" don't want to allow a private entity (the Church) its right to free association! But who ever said the ACLU made sense?

Next, one of our favorite education writers, the inimitable Professor Plum (who rarely, if ever, minces words when it comes to "perfessers" of education) shows how tried and true direct instruction teaching methods are proven to be best when it comes to boosting student achievement.

The Independent Conservative has a post up that discusses, among other things, why it's hard to get good teachers to remain in poor socio-economic schools. The obvious: the constant stress of dealing with perpetual discipline problems and awful parents becomes overwhelming.

And lastly (h/t to John Ray):

UPDATE (9:32am): Todd Zywicki has more on the soda maker class action suit. Be sure to check out the vast comment section.

Posted by Felix at December 4, 2005 08:45 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Don't you love this bit of info from the article on the soda machines?

Victor Schwartz, a Washington lawyer who has advised companies on product-liability policies, said the case ''would require a radical modification of traditional liability laws with an expansion of statutory consumer-protection claims." However, he noted, Massachusetts is one of the few states in the country where plaintiffs do not have to demonstrate actual damage in a consumer-protection case -- just that a violation occurred.

No harm but still a foul for which you can recovr damages? Sounds like extortion to me.

Oh, and I wrote about the lesbian case as well -- seems to me that the granting of privacy rights to minors is a real problem for all of us who teach that goes well beyond discrimination issues.

Posted by: at December 4, 2005 09:51 AM

Direct instruction works.....but what would all of the education consultants do if all we had to do was improve, train and implement direct instruction strategies.....not pick up ridiculous paychecks and waste the time of thousands of excellent educators!

Posted by: schmitt at December 4, 2005 10:03 PM

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