Monday, April 7, 2008

Hearing Tonight on Tricking Teachers

Between the travesty of Bush's No Child Left Behind hoax and the other tedious and trying tasks faced by our dedicated public school teachers, now comes another administrative effort to make the profession less inviting by an overbroad attempt to enact personal control in the guise of a Code of Ethics that is in reality much more than that.

A clear Code of Ethics is a good idea for any profession, but the document proposed by the state educational bureaucrats in Little Rock isn't what we need.
Kentucky has a clear and concise code of ethics, but the Arkansas proposal looks like something designed by Alberto Gonzales for incarceration of enemy combatants. It is a witch hunter's dream. It covers obvious things like submitting fraudulent requests for reimbursement of expenses, but it also has a number of jokers like any "other cause that renders an educator unfit for employment as an educator because of acts or omissions that constitutes unprofessional conduct," vague standards at best.

The state legislature identified 28 specific crimes which can cause the loss of a teaching license, but this document expands that list to include any state or local law or school board regulation as cause for discharge. And if a teacher fails to rat out a colleague within 30 days for such a violations as being behind on their student loan payments that is also cause. There are also serious questions as to whether the procedural and due process.protections afforded by the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act apply to teachers.

If you care about any of this, there is a public hearing tonight at the Bates Annex on the Fayetteville High School Campus. The local newspaper says it starts at 6:30 p.m., but the state Department of Education website says it is from 5:00-7:00 p.m.. That's about as clear and concise as the proposed regulations, so don't be late, whenever they might decide to start.

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