Post below lifted from Taranto. See the original for links
A few weeks ago, a colleague passed along a Nov. 15 blog entry by Tom Smith sounding the alarm about a possible case of censorship:
Apparently some major state university has threatened a lawsuit against the movie "Indoctrinate U," and the websites about the movie have been temporarily (one hopes) frozen. What is going on here? Which university has threatened them? And what with? This should be exactly the sort of thing one should be able to find out about in the blogosphere, but I see nothing on Instapundit, Volokh or the usual suspects (I may have missed it though; if so, sorry. Maybe I am the only one who doesn't know. It wouldn't be the first time.)
This is news, oh fellow bloggers. [Evan Maloney, director of "Indoctrinate U"] is understandably reluctant to comment. I suspect he has gotten a cease and desist letter, and he and his lawyers are deciding whether to push on and risk suit or perhaps seek a declaratory judgment in some court or other. I am not First Amendment scholar, but I use the First Amendment nearly every day. Surely the sort of political commentary that the movie is, would have a wide latitude under the Constitution, reviled post-colonial document enforced by hegemonic white males though it may be. So what gives? Minorities in the academy want to know.
Smith linked to a post on Maloney's blog:
Due to a threatened lawsuit from a major taxpayer-funded university, the Indoctrinate U homepage has been taken down temporarily. On The Fence Films LLC is deciding how best to proceed, and we will not be commenting on anything until after our final response has been executed. Don't worry, though, this will not derail the film. Indoctrinate U will be back.
Soon enough, it was. "Darren," a blogger who describes himself as "a conservative teacher," wrote on Dec. 4 that "in what I can only assume is a victory for free speech and yet another loss for fascist lefties, the Indoctrinate U web site is back up."
We contacted Maloney as soon as we got word of the shutdown of his Web site. He told us he wasn't yet able to discuss the matter, but promised to fill us in when he was. Having had our own brush with political censorship as a college student lo those many years ago, we too assumed this was a case of "fascist lefties" trying to protect themselves from exposure.
The reality is more ambiguous. Maloney sent us a statement explaining the situation, which we've posted here. This is, at least ostensibly, an intellectual-property dispute that has nothing to do with the content of the movie. In brief, a lawyer representing Indiana University wrote to Maloney's company early last month claiming that the "Indoctrinate U" logo was similar to IU's. Maloney does not concede the claim of infringement, arguing that differences between the two logos are "readily apparent" and that in any case his movie does not compete with IU's educational offerings. But he decided to stop using the logo anyway, figuring it was cheaper than fighting.
"In an act of good faith, we voluntarily took the Indoctrinate-U.com site offline while we reviewed our options," he writes. He didn't publicly name the university because that "would have caused needless controversy and made it harder to reach a mutually agreeable resolution to the dispute." The Web site returned once the logo had been stripped from it, from the promotional videos and from the movie itself. That's that, right? Well, not quite. According to Maloney:
The university is now demanding we hand over a sum of money that would essentially bankrupt On The Fence Films. I have to say, I'm a bit stunned. I understand that some academics might have a problem with our film; it covers academia's dirty little secrets. Nobody likes to be criticized. But Indiana University is not mentioned in the film at all! So their heavy-handedness seems a bit extreme.
Rather than ascribe negative motives to Indiana University, I'd rather assume it's just a matter of ignorance about our film: "Indoctrinate U" hasn't been screened within a six-hour drive of Indiana University, so perhaps their legal team is just unaware of its content. Maybe they're worried that we snuck our cameras onto campus once or twice. If that's the case, then I hope everything can be resolved by my personal assurance to the Trustees of Indiana University: You can breathe easy. Your school isn't in the film. So please--call off the dogs.
We've seen "Indoctrinate U," and the university officials who are featured in it come across looking both thuggish and incompetent, to very entertaining effect. If we were running a university, we would be at pains to stay off Evan Maloney's radar screen. But then maybe the guys at IU have decided the best defense is a good offense.
Britain: National test scores are annulled after cheating by teachers is exposed
Five schools caught cheating in national tests were stripped of their results yesterday. Investigators found evidence of malpractice in the Key Stage 2 Sats tests taken by 11-year-olds. Four of the schools lost all their marks in English, maths and science, and a fifth had its results removed for English. Two of them were among the best primaries in England in previous years, but will now be at the bottom of the league tables.
Teachers' unions said that the excessive pressure of targets and league tables was driving some teachers to cheat. Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "It is deeply sad to see some schools fall into the trap of malpractice. This demonstrates the extreme pressure that some schools and some teachers feel to perform to targets which may not reflect the ability of the children in their midst. "We need an assessment system that promotes professional integrity and this one does not."
Mr Brookes criticised ministers for failing to listen to schools' concerns over the tests. Figures show that the number of schools accused of amending their pupils' results rose from 101 in 2005 to 115 last year. A report into maladministration said that examples of this included teachers who had previous knowledge of the questions coaching children for the test. They were also alleged to have given pupils too much help during the test or to have made changes to their papers after the exam.
About 500 schools are investigated by the National Assessment Agency each year, after parents, teachers or test-markers raise concerns. The five found guilty of malpractice included St Charles's Catholic Primary School, in Liverpool. The teacher at the centre of that incident is thought to have buckled under pressure and subsequently left the school.
Examiners contacted the NAA after noticing that tests at Brockswood Primary School, in Hemel Hempstead, and St Bernadette's Roman Catholic School, in St Albans. The schools are in Hertfordshire and a county council spokeswoman said: "The NAA found that test papers had been altered. Investigators were called in but it was not possible to identify how alterations had been made in either case. However, it was felt that lax administrative procedures had contributed." The test results were also annulled for Springfield Community Primary School in Hackney, East London. William Cowper Primary School, in Birmingham, was stripped of its English results.
Teachers who falsify results run the risk of ruining their careers. In the past six years the General Teaching Council has heard 30 such cases.