Thursday, May 24, 2007

No Child Left Behind vs. Student Stupidity

From the Seattle PI, here's a link to a story about a Kentridge High student that posted a derogatory video on I want to swear--alot--after reading the article and watching the video.
The lawyer, Jeannette Cohen, believes that the student has a right to "free speech." She claims the student, Gregory Requa, did not produce the video but that even if he had, his punishment violates his free speech; she claims, "What is at stake here is the school district message that if you post things we don't like, you will be punished."
A few thoughts:
1. Ms. Cohen, the lawyer, can claim a violation of free speech all she wants, but when that free speech disrupts the school day, the student can be held accountable--the same a way a teacher can be held accountable for his free speech if it disrupts the school day.
2. What is at issue is not the production of the video but the content of the video. At one point, a student can be seen "freak" dancing behind the teacher. Does Ms. Cohen believe that a student has the right to "freak" dance on a teacher? If so, Ms. Cohen is a moron.
3. The fact that anyone would defend this video goes to show what little respect society gives to its teaching force. My guess is that in an institution like the military, if a cadet ever disrespected his leader in the manner that these students do, there would be some type of punishment--my guess is that it would be of the physical nature. Not so in public schools.
4. Seriously, though, the teacher really should be more aware of what's going on behind her; but I'm not going to judge her as a teacher based on this video.

But more importantly, I'd like to know how exactly our esteemed leader, Ms. Spellings would deal with such an issue. If while she presented a speech on the importance of NCLB, a student got up behind her and mocked her, would she be okay with that?
Lastly, this video has given me one more reason to give up on teaching as a career. I'm already experiencing the three year burn out emotions and the rejection by the first district I interviewed with in Connecticut. Now, I see a video produced by a "model student" as the lawyer claims mocking a fellow teacher. Really? This is what I want to spend my time teaching?


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