Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wacked out teachers?

As I was leaving for work this morning there was a story on MSNBC about Debra Lafave, a Florida teacher accused of having sex with a 14 year old student. There was an interview with her attorney who said that if the judge rejected the proposed plea agreement, he would use an insanity defense in court. This was not a made-up defense he argued, because she had been evaluated by six shrinks all of whom had found her mentally ill and three declared she was legally insane and had been for years.

If this was the case, the question that everyone should be asking is, "WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY WAS SHE TEACHING IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL?"

I know the standards for teachers are a big issue. There seems to be a big emphasis in Education schools on commitments to social justice and understanding for minority populations. But shouldn't they first weed out the whack jobs.

Crazy people should not be teachers. Let them be lawyers, no one will ever notice.


Blogger your said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:23 AM  
Blogger exMI said...

Um, wow. that is some spam there.....

7:58 AM  
Blogger exMI said...

Some of my favorite teachers have seems a bit less than stable though.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Mental Meanderings said...

There is a difference between less than stable and utter whack job.

9:34 PM  
Blogger mark said...

Because tenure provides unusual job security, most states allow school administrators to dismiss untenured teachers without cause or explanation, particular in the first year but in some states up to the first four years. This option is, in my experience, very seldom exercised. About 80 % of tenured teacher dismissal cases are legally groundless (i.e. ongoing personal vendettas at play) but 20 % are long, long overdue.

While for legal reasons, the school disrict cannot require tests of mental health as a condition of employment I have seen teachers with obvious and aggressive personality problems tolerated by administrators for *years* despite these people being mediocre instructors and disruptive staff members.

In fact, quite regularly, the administration usualy goes on to award these individuals tenure ( which they are not actually required to do). and subsequently complain " that their hands are tied" when they themselves did the tying. A shame because it is very easy to get rid of malcontents before tenure is awarded.

Why is this ? I'm not entirely certain if there is one explanation but I think an aversion to conflict, laziness, being out of touch, fear of being considered a poor principal by superiors and having a generally low opinion of classroom teachers all play a role.

At least until a CBS camera crew shows up at the district office - then they huff about " what a shock" the situation at hand is.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Mental Meanderings said...

I understand the pressures of tenure, having earned it once and being in the process of doing it again, on a system. My concern is before hire. Schools of education have begun grading students on what they call "dispositions" or commitment to certain social agendas. While this kind of indocrination is being opposed , and rightfully so in my opinion, the schools of education could do a better job of weeding out the folks who are unstable. That might be a more legitimate role for them to take.

8:02 AM  
Blogger mark said...

Can't say I disagree on either point. Dispositions on politics was just dealt a setback by one of the main national accreditation organizations, fortunately.

Culling out the emotionally unstable from the ranks of prospective teachers though has yet to be considered. I think the theory is they will just crack during student-teaching so nothing needs to be done.

6:28 PM  

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