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dubone

CMS to fire and/or suspend teachers for expressing politically incorrect ideas

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Being married to a teacher, I hear a signifant number of stories about how CMS is lenient on both students and teachers for horrible behavior. Teachers can be convicted of a significant number of actual crimes (you know, things actually written into the law as harmful to society and then being arrested and charged and going through a trial and being convicted by a judge and/or jury) and NOT be fired. Furthermore, teachers can actually NOT teach and NOT get fired, such as constantly showing movies, or showing horrible test scores in End of Course Testing (like getting 5% of students to pass year after year).

Where is the expose' of teachers convicted of DUIs alone? You know, a major cause of death in country, and something that a high number of CMS teachers are convicted of.

Now we come to the CMS-Facebook scandal. Apparently, a free citizen of the United States over the age of 21 on her personal time (Facebook is blocked at CMS, so by definition, anything on Facebook is a private matter) posted that their hobby is drinking, a legal activity, will be suspended from her job teaching.

Then consider the ones that posted something controversial, like using terms like 'ghetto' and 'niggas' which are ubiquitous in our culture but are not politically correct. And among all the politically incorrect and potentially offensive words I can think of, these would not seem to be even close to the worst. (Especially the latter considering the context, being used by a black man about his friends, intended as a term of endearment.)

All of these people are stupid for not setting their privacy setting to the strictest level, but none of these statements is criminal and are perfectly reasonable free expressions.

Basically, CMS is saying that you can do actual crimes and keep your job, you can not do your job and keep your job, but in your personal time on a personal website, you can't describe your personal life or personal views. I won't even go into the horrible things they let students get away without sanctions.

Frankly, the job of teaching is an absolute nightmare. Students, administrators, parents, and even janitors feel they have the rights to abuse you. There are constantly new rules creating new responsibilities for the job, and poor management allows little room for self-actualization because while failure is rarely punished (as mentioned above), success is rarely rewarded. For example, my wife got 95%+ of her students to pass their E.O.C test in a school that is mostly free-and-reduce-lunch student body (ie. poor or, controversially, ghetto -- my word not hers... but don't give CMS my name Neo ;) ). She did not get even so much as a thank you or congratulations from the principal, including after she actually ASKED him to say something about successes. My point in this section is that teaching is thankless and stressful. One needs to find ways to unwind and vent about the frustrations, especially when you're still young and are still finding out how crapty a job it is after working so hard in college to prepare yourself idealistically.

Now that CMS is considering firing these teachers, I'd like to see exactly how they are going to apply that new policy against politically incorrect speech and confessions of vices, even if legal. They need to pay a consulting fee to Mullah Mohammed Omar to give training conferences to Gorman on successful practices for ensuring 100% compliance with virtue policies. Perhaps a new Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Suppression of Vice (PVSV) with special vice squads to seek out any evidence of controversy or sin. They could start with Google searches (which obviously the WCNC 'investigative reporters' used) to find anything published online with keywords that are determined by the PVSV to be offensive, controversial, or unprofessional. They could then search public records for evidence of parking tickets, late payments of credit cards, giving up a child or a pet for adoption, etc. Next, they can search trash and recycling bins, which are public property, to identify any alcohol containers, scribbled notes complaining about their job or their students, cigarette packs, or perhaps containers showing they meat that is not from a cloven-foot animal that chews its cud.

Or, they can worry about how the teachers perform on their jobs and whether they have been convicted of crimes and not confiscate their right to a personal life and their right of free expression, especially in their time as a private citizen.

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I agree 100% with you. I sat and watch the opening segment of todays 6'o clock news on WCNC which featured the story about the teachers and their facebook profiles. I just sat there and shook my head as Peter Gorman, spoke about the incident. I would like to personally see one(or all) of the staff members that were suspended stand up to the school board. They have the same right to drink and pose in sexy pictures and state their opinions(after all that is what the 1st admentment is all about) about the school they teach at. These CMS employees haven't broken a single law, and are enjoying their freedom given to them as a citizen of this great country. What people(and CMS) need to realize is ,their private lives have no effect on THEIR ABILITY TO PERFORM THEIR JOB. That is what it all comes down to, and they havent shown anything that demostrates that. I wouldn't be surprised to see a lawsuit come out of all of this mess.

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While I can see the school system's stance on the politically correct terminology, it is still a bit rash to suspend a teacher for posting something under free speech, on the internet of all places too. People hack Facebook accounts all the time. Those teachers could have defended themselves in that there is not any physical evidence that they were the ones to type such "language" in. Regardless of what word or what phrase is used, unless it says "I hate all black people in general without exception," I'm not convinced that messages on facebook or any social site could or should be used against an employee of the state.

As for drinking... ok, this is America. If we were in Europe, it would be understood that alcohol is a part of culture. But for alcohol to not be considered a part of American culture is to be in denial. I still don't understand why America's political correctness and conservatism has to be so prudish with everything. People drink, it happens. You can't penalize somebody for saying they like something that is 100% legal in every respect. There aren't any moral implications to the word "alcohol." Maybe she likes to have a martini with the girls. That's alcohol. Maybe she likes a glass of wine at dinner. Maybe she likes a beer at the football game. The word alcohol doesn't imply excess, irresponsibility, or any type of compromise to his/her morals/social standing. If it said cocaine, pot, etc. then by all means, those are illegal in the United States, so the admission to using them where students could see it would be compromising to the character and credibility of the teacher. To think that your child is going to be "tainted" by knowing their teacher drinks alcohol is admitting that your parenting abilities are not substantial enough to convince your child that they don't need to drink if that is what you believe.

In terms of DUI's, I perfectly agree dubone. It is a shame that teachers are not punished more strictly for minor felonies. However, with an offense such as a DUI, while it shows extreme irresponsibility while intoxicated, suspending the teacher during the semester takes a lot away from the students more than the teacher. A teacher showing up to work drunk would be the point where you'd be compromising the student's education, not when the teacher is out somewhere. I know that switching teachers in classes when I was younger always made the class less organized and beneficial to my education. IMO, teachers should be suspended without pay for the following semester after their offense so it doesn't interfere with the education of their students. That is, just in the case of DUI's for example. I'm not defending DUI's, or the people that commit them, I'm just not convinced that a teacher should be suspended for one immediately, but rather suspend them at the end of the semester and take their license if the teacher does not show a substantial improvement. It would be pretty strong motivation for a teacher to improve his/her scores if they thought they could lose their license at the end of the semester.

As for pass rates, I can't believe a school system would employ a teacher who only has a 5% EOG/EOC pass rate. That makes me lose what little faith I had in CMS. Oh well, at least we have our private schools and a small handful of good high schools to produce students that can be respected.

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All of the sudden I'm reminded of reading about an exchange student's account of being in Europe... (Germany or Poland, I think). At the end of the school year, the teacher said "See you under the table!" Which the exchange student figured was a misunderstanding of his foreign language skills.

Later that evening, he was invited to a party where the teachers and students got slosh drunk!

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Meh. Same old story. Free speech is free speech. They can post anything they want. Really! They can. The school will not, and can not, stop them. But that doesn't mean there won't be consequences. By accepting a job they agree to a code of conduct. It's pretty simple. If you do something against the code of conduct, you suffer the consequences. Don't get me wrong: There should be a very close look at what the actions are, and whether they are against any code. And if they aren't, then the teachers should fight it strongly.

Free speech doesn't mean free speech without consequences. It means free speech.

By the way, this statement makes no sense: "(Facebook is blocked at CMS, so by definition, anything on Facebook is a private matter)".

Also, I am far far FAR from a conservative, so don't even go there. I'm also a parent, and if I saw "I hate my students" on a teacher's facebook page, I would absolutely report him/her and hope to have them punished. If I see a teacher drinking on a facebook page, which I have, I don't care.

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Also, I am far far FAR from a conservative, so don't even go there. I'm also a parent, and if I saw "I hate my students" on a teacher's facebook page, I would absolutely report him/her and hope to have them punished. If I see a teacher drinking on a facebook page, which I have, I don't care.

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"Facebook is blocked at CMS, so by definition, anything on Facebook is a private matter".

That means that the material was posted on private time and not with school equipment and students cannot view this material during school hours on school equipment. Obviously the internet is a public place, but likewise, if someone said something to their friends at the mall, that is also not a matter for their employer. The only exception I can see to this is if it is something illegal or a confession of doing something illegal or against policy AT WORK/SCHOOL.

In fact, free speech DOES mean free speech without consequences FROM THE GOVERNMENT. The constitution deals with freedom from action by the state. They are obviously not free from dealing with social consequences of their speech, but that would be fine. Let them get nasty letters or get yelled at by the parents and laughed at by the students, I'm sure they are used to that anyway! That would be the only level of consequences that should result from such benign actions.

Furthermore, if the teacher wrote libelous details of specific students, let it be handled as a tort. However, this was not done.

Again, my most significant point is the hypocrisy of the system. It is absolutely horrifying to me knowing how little they do regarding abusive speech and actions by students, teachers, and admins on school premises, how little they do in reaction to felonies, and how little they do regarding incompetence at the actual job. Yet here they are acting all moralistic because some local news does a tabloid news story on some controversial internet postings. So I say, if their new policy is to puritanically wipe out all controversial speech and vices, then I am very curious to see what level of bureaucracy they will be setting up to enforce such a high standard.

And perhaps I should turn in my wife for days that she sobbed and confessed she hated CMS or days she said she couldn't stand her students. Like days when a student lit a deaf girls hair on fire in her classroom. Or like in her first few months of teaching, when she told admins that she felt unsafe because her students threatened to harm her and the admins laughed at her face and said 'I don't care how you feel' (Most of that class is now in prison for violent felonies, by the way). Or days when it was obvious that an assistant principal was letting members of a specific gang get away with anything they wanted, (as he was either being bribed, threatened, or part of the gang himself). Or the day when a student threw a desk at her. Or days when her principal said he was busy and couldn't deal with any of the above, but then seeing that he was watching tv in his office. Or days when she found out her previous year's classroom was riddled with exposed asbestos. Or days when her mobile classroom was without heat for weeks during winter but no alternate arrangements were made for her classes. Or days when she was covered in mud because the school wouldn't pave sidewalk to her mobile classroom. Or days when a student grabbed her friend's arm, bruising it, and admins didn't even suspend the student. Or days when they found out by gossip that one of her friend's students was convicted of gang rape and allowed to be in school because he wasn't yet sentenced. The admins knew, but did not tell her friend, a 23 year old female, who tutored that student 1:1 after school multiple times not knowing the danger (her friend quit the profession in part because of this). Or days when downtown admins would come to the school and tell an entire faculty that they were stupid and incompetent while they put up with all of the above.

CMS is an incompetent school system, that declared a couple of years ago that 'there are no thugs in CMS', that now takes great offense at the accusation that some of their schools are 'ghetto', and is prepared to fire a teacher for expressing hatred of students which no doubt have done horrifying things in the classroom. Their problem is that they are always more focused on the appearances, when negative stuff hits the news, but do very little to proactively resolve the underlying issues that cause extremely high turnover, low employee morale, high employee stress, and extremely poor performance.

Most classes and schools in CMS are undoubtedly fine. But when you look at the very poorly performing schools, there is almost total societal breakdown. They are usually dominated by students with serious problems at home, and act out in very damaging ways at school. Furthermore, because so much is based on test scores now, good administrators are loath to take positions at these schools. Then consider that the peter principle is in full effect for central admin employees, who then take counter productive measures.

Can you imagine then getting in trouble for posting that you DRINK on a personal page online!?

(I should note that my wife has almost quit teaching multiple times, but has managed to find a niche recently that is least objectionable. I should also note that she rarely has problems with students anymore, mostly due to how bad it was in her early years, so she has figured out amazingly how to make it so even 'bad' kids are good in her classes. She still has horror stories about facilities and 'downtown' though.)

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I'm married to an teacher as well. I agree they should be held to a high code of conduct, but this is an outright witchhunt.

Also, keep in mind the avg CMS teacher salary is comparable to a CATS bus driver.

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I'm married to an teacher as well. I agree they should be held to a high code of conduct, but this is an outright witchhunt.

Also, keep in mind the avg CMS teacher salary is comparable to a CATS bus driver.

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This situation is now actually affecting the academic climate, not surprisingly. I won't get into specifics, but as a result of the fear that this 'scandal' has created has caused the administration to disallow a project where students would discuss the recent election. The sense is that now there will be extreme scrutiny into anything controversial, and it now must be avoided at all costs (including the loss of educational opportunity).

What CMS fails to understand is that they are acting in the very OPPOSITE interest of the education of the youth by seeking to squelch freedom of speech. That this is a democracy founded on the principles of openness to ideas is the very reason this right is listed FIRST in our Bill of Rights as citizens. Exposing young minds to new ideas and controversy and help them build their own understandings is the essence of education.

I am horrified that my taxes pay for such backwardness. I sure hope they get sued and put back in their place.

If this carries through, Gorman is the one who should be fired as he has now done more damage to education than teachers drinking in their free time and disliking their kids.

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Have skimmed the posts, but am wondering ... do CMS teachers sign employment contracts with CMS, or do they agree to a code of conduct or anything like that? If so, do any of the agreements contian anti-disparagement clauses (or anything similar)?

If so, the First Amendment argument is a red herring.

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Red herring from a legal point of view, perhaps, as it turns out they did require signing of a code of conduct that includes being forbidden to be drunk. But saying you drink on Facebook is not being drunk. But there is still the question of whether all of this reasonable as a policy.

They are simply creating an appearance that they are holding teachers to a higher standard. You would be horrified what they let teachers get away with in their actual job performance.

Not to piss half the people off on this forum, but is this a southern culture thing? Propriety in public but no holds barred in private?

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Not to piss half the people off on this forum, but is this a southern culture thing? Propriety in public but no holds barred in private?

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