"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Will Duncan Take His Own Departmental Statement on Bullying Seriously?

Back in February, Arne Duncan applauded the decision to fire every teacher at the only high school in the poorest city in Rhode Island.  Despite the fact that saner heads have since determined that the firing was unethical and unfair, Duncan said that officials were "showing courage and doing the right thing for kids."

When the corporate reformers hatched a plan to release flawed evaluation data in Los Angeles on thousands of teachers, Arne Duncan applauded, despite warnings from the National Academy of Sciences on the use of such data to make any kind of high stakes decisions.  Instead of condemning the immoral and irresponsible action that led to a teacher's suicide, Duncan crowed, "What is there to hide?"

These are just two examples of Arne Duncan's dismissive attitude and public disparagement of teachers (who are terrified), the profession of teaching, and public schools.  Now read from Duncan's own department part of an official letter issued for use by schools nationwide on the subject of bullying.  Will Russalyn Ali call Arne Duncan out as the biggest bully in American schools today? 
“Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name-calling; graphic and written statements, which may include use of cellphones or the Internet; or other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating,” the letter says. “Harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. Harassment creates a hostile environment when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit a student’s [or teacher's?] ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school.”

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