Tuesday, April 05, 2011

College Professor Arrested for Closing Student’s Laptop in Class

Professor Frank J. Rybicki teaches Mass Media at Valdosta State University. The other day, he was arrested for assaulting a student in his class and is now facing battery charges.

Did he punch the student? No. Did he throw his chair across the room at the student? Definitely not. Did he inappropriately get a bit too intimate with a student? Not even close.

He was arrested for shutting a student’s laptop in class. The student, the professor claims, was web-browsing on sites not related to the course, instead of taking notes. After he closed her laptop, an argument ensued between the professor and the 22-year-old girl. Then, soon after the argument, the professor dismissed class early because he was so upset.

That was Friday. The following Monday, when the students came to class, instead of being greeted by their professor, they were greeted by officers. Inside Higher Ed has the story:

Frank J. Rybicki, assistant professor of mass media at Valdosta State University, did the equivalent last week when he shut the laptop of a student who was allegedly web surfing as opposed to taking notes. She filed a complaint (reportedly about a finger or fingers that were hurt when he shut the laptop) and the university’s police arrested him on a charge of battery. The Georgia institution suspended his teaching duties there, although not his pay.

The professor–and the students in the class–were asked by the University to not answer any questions relating to the incident. Still, Professor Rybicki did have a few words to say about this fiasco:

While he declined to discuss the incident specifically, Rybicki did answer a few questions. Asked if students shouldn’t look at non-class websites while in class, he said that was “pretty obvious.” Asked if he had ever caused physical harm to any student, he said “absolutely not, never.”

Many students have come to the defense of the professor. One said that his arrest was not justified “because he is a great teacher and she [the student with the laptop] was on Facebook, when we know not to be on other sites while the teacher is teaching.”


We Don’t Need Know Education

By the satirical Mike Adams

I’m getting to be a crabby old man and I’m not even fifty. But working at a liberal university for eighteen years has taught me never to accept responsibility for my actions or my disposition. Instead I blame my most recent bad mood (the one I’m in right now) on a student who just asked me a question about the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case United States v. Leon, (1984). Wanting to know the holding, he asked if it meant “that the police can rely upon a search warrant they don’t reasonably no is invalid.” I almost told the student there was know way he was going to pass my course if he didn’t no the difference between “know” and “no.” But I just new I would get in trouble if I did.

Of course, when criticizing the low quality of students in higher education it’s important that we not pick on males only (that would be sexist). No discussion of the declining quality of student communication skills would be complete without talking about the role (or was that roll?) of female students. After all, they make up more than 50% of the student body on the average college campus. You are (like totally) aware of their presence when you hear a conversation like the following, which occurred last Tuesday right outside my opened office door:

“I’m just like not real sure what I want to do when I graduate? I like thought I would like major in business but there’s a lot of like math and stuff? Plus, the classes in sociology are like easier and like way more interesting? I just seriously like need to focus on like what I want to do when I get out and stuff?”

None of the young woman’s sentences were actually questions. But the inflections at the end of each sentence (along with the general lack of confidence in anything she said) made them sound like questions. I mean, it made them like sound like questions? I’m sure that that woman has a Facebook account with a “like like” button. So she can like seriously like. And stuff.

Of course, it is racist of me to have just given two examples of declining student quality using white students. Let’s (like totally) fix that by recounting a conversation I heard just this morning as I was walking up the stairwell in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Building, which is sure to be re-named Mike Adams Hall after I retire.

“You did dat. I did not do dat. Yo. Dats right. It’s yo fault. My situation? What about yo situation? I do dat. I do dat. But dats because you done did dat. Dats what I’m sayin’. Dat’s what I be sayin’.”

I have no idea what that young Hyphenated-American student was saying to his cell phone. All I know is that I have the song “Zip-a-dee-do-dat” stuck in my head. Thanks to the Diversity Office it’s the new “Song of the South”!

As much as I enjoy broaching these topics with humor the results aren’t funny when these students get out into the real world to compete in a full-time job applicant pool. So there has to be a serious discussion of how this problem became so pronounced and what can be done about it.

It would be tempting to blame these kinds of problems on the university English departments. After all, they rarely teach students English these days – opting instead to indoctrinate them into post-modern philosophy and radical feminist politics.

It would also be tempting to blame the Schools of Education that pay wacky professors like Maurice Martinez to teach “black English” to white students. Instead of asking the minority to conform to the majority they do the exact opposite – probably because it is more difficult and, hence, would require greater government intervention (read: greater federal grant opportunities).

But the problem is much broader than that. It is a problem stemming from our basic educational mission of promoting multiculturalism and diversity. In this age of diversity we are reticent to correct students for speaking in a “wrong” way or to reward them for speaking in a “right” way. To do either one of these things is to admit that there is a right or wrong way of doing things in any given cultural or social context. Professors who are unwilling to agree that English is the “right” language to speak in this country are hardly willing to assert that there is a right or wrong way to speak it.

President George W. Bush was considered an idiot by most college professors simply because he was inarticulate. One of my colleagues even circulated an email saying that Bush was responsible for the fact that most college students are inarticulate. But Bush is no longer in office and the problem keeps getting worse. Multiculturalism has come up short in our efforts to promote linguistic skill and social competency. It’s time for a new strategery. I think you gnome sayings. Gnome sayin’?


British schools have been hiding true extent of pupil bad behaviour for years, claims Education boss

Bad behaviour is rife in schools – and heads have been hiding the problem for years, the Education Secretary has warned. Michael Gove said yesterday that schools were suffering from a ‘real behaviour problem’.

And headmasters have conspired to hide the true nature of yobbish behaviour in the classroom by concealing naughty pupils and incompetent teachers from Ofsted inspectors, he added. As a result, thousands of teachers – trained at the taxpayers’ expense – have fled the profession, citing bad classroom behaviour as the reason. And with 1,000 children being suspended every school day for abuse and assault, their disruptive behaviour is interfering with the education and life chances of tens of thousands of pupils.

Mr Gove’s comments will enrage teachers’ unions, who insist behaviour in schools is good and that any attempt to paint a bad picture is ‘scaremongering’.

Mr Gove announced his ‘back to basics’ plans as he published guidance for schools on dealing with bad behaviour. Under the updated guidance, which has been reduced from 600 pages to 50, school heads will be able to press criminal charges against pupils who make false allegations about teachers in England. They will also be able to confiscate mobile phones without fear of being accused of infringing pupils’ rights.

Launching the guidance, Mr Gove said he was told by teachers that ‘weak teachers are invited to stay at home, we make sure disruptive pupils don’t come in, and the best teachers are on corridor duty. We put on our best face for inspections’.

He added: ‘We rely on Ofsted to let us know how behaviour is in many schools. It is certainly the case that in some schools the behaviour problem is critical. ‘We do know from recent evidence that the single biggest reason [for teachers leaving the profession] is because of poor behaviour.

Tens of thousands of children face being turned away from primary schools because a migrant baby boom has led to a severe shortage of places.

London alone faces a shortage of some 70,000 primary places in the next four years, according to a report, and Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Birmingham, Bristol, Sheffield and Hove, are under enormous strain.

Parents in the worst-hit areas will have to separate their siblings and send their four-year-olds on 30 minute bus rides across their borough to get them into a school. The rapid increase in numbers, which will cost £1.7billion, is being attributed to a baby boom fuelled in part by rising net migration – which more than doubled under Labour.

Many migrants were young and have since started families. It has been predicted 500,000 more primary places will be needed by 2018.

A sluggish housing market has compounded the crisis because parents are effectively trapped in areas with too few school places.

Others have found they lack the cash to send their offspring to private schools.

‘The biggest barrier to entry is the fear of not being safe in the classroom. These are both indicators of a real behaviour problem.’ Two-thirds of teachers believe bad behaviour is driving staff out of the classroom, according to the Department for Education.

Mr Gove’s behaviour tsar, Charlie Taylor, said the guidance should encompass rules on school uniform and advice on recruiting educational psychologists. He said a school uniform, with top buttons done up and a nicely tied tie, can ‘set the tone for a school’.

Mr Taylor added: ‘You need to have the high expectations; you need to have the rules in place and the boundaries. ‘But in any school, and in particular in a deprived area...you need to do a bit extra with them.’

Pimlico Academy in Central London, where Mr Gove launched his guidance, has a full-time education psychologist and four part-time psychotherapists to work with children with the most serious problems.

Concerns that schools are hiding badly behaved pupils from Ofsted were raised at a Commons select committee hearing last year. Tom Trust, a former member of the General Teaching Council for England, told the committee: ‘Getting evidence from head teachers is not always reliable because they have got a lot to lose. Ofsted’s views on behaviour are not worth the paper they are written on.’


No comments: