Monday, September 24, 2012

College suspends professor for allegedly attempting to force students to vote for Obama

A college professor has been placed on leave after she allegedly forced her class to sign a pledge to vote for President Obama in the upcoming elections.

Early last week Professor Sharon Sweet at Brevard Community College (BCC) allegedly told students to sign a pledge that reads: “I pledge to vote for President Obama and Democrats up and down the ticket.”

The pledge was printed off of, a website funded by the Obama campaign.

University administrators said they learned about the incident late Thursday afternoon and launched an investigation, after they received a phone call from a concerned parent.

“Based on the allegations, Associate Professor Sweet has requested, and been granted, a leave of absence without pay effective immediately,” reads a statement put out by John Glisch, Associate Vice President for Communications at BCC.

“The college will continue its investigation into the matter, which will include interviews with all students in her class,” continues the statement.

Sweet’s actions may have also violated Florida’s election laws.

Section 104.31, of Title IX in chapter 104, states that “no officer or employee of the state... shall... use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with an election or nomination of officer or influencing another person’s vote or affecting the result thereof.”


Teachers must go the extra mile if they want a payrise, British regulator says

Teachers should "go the extra mile" and work longer hours if they want to be granted a pay rise, the head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw has said.

Sir Michael said inspectors will now mark down schools that increase the pay of teachers who persist in being “out the gate at 3 o’clock”.

The chief inspector of schools for England said he expected teachers to “go the extra mile” for children, including staying on beyond the end of the school day.

They should be particularly willing to help pupils in poor areas, he suggested, with head teachers and governors now obliged to justify staff pay rises.

Sir Michael, head of Ofsted, told the Times newspaper “something is wrong” with pay rises being awarded to more experienced teachers regardless of their performance.

He said: “"In last year's (annual) report, we said that 40% of lessons overall were not good enough. And yet everyone is getting a pay rise. Hey! Something is wrong with the system.

“As a head I would make it clear that if you teach well or try to teach well, if you work hard and go the extra mile, you are going to get paid well.

“You are going to be promoted. Somebody who is out the gate at 3 o’clock in the afternoon is not. Isn’t that fair? Am I being unfair?”

He also said teachers who are unwilling to act as surrogate parents to pupils in poor areas who lacked support at home did not deserve a salary increase.

“It's about recognising those people who do go the extra mile,” he said.

His comments have already been met by criticism by teachers’ leaders, who have accused him of appearing to be “at war with teachers in this country”.

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, told the newspaper: “This adds to the impression that Sir Michael Wilshaw wants to be at war with teachers in this country.  “We don’t want a system where head teachers pick and choose favourites for pay rises.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of the Nasuwt, said: “Teachers are in the second year of a public sector pay freeze and evidence shows that teachers who have earned pay progression are being denied it. It ill behoves the chief inspector to allow his role to be reduced to being the mouthpiece for the myths and misinformation peddled by the Secretary of State.”


Decline in male teachers a 'real cause for concern' says West Australian education minister

WA's best young male teachers would be sent into high schools to convince students the profession is as worthy as law or mining under a plan by the state's principals.

The proposal is among a suite of strategies that will be put to Education Minister Peter Collier, who is seeking advice from the Equal Opportunity Commission to determine how to entice more men into teaching without contravening discrimination laws.

The latest data from the WA College of Teaching reveals 313 fewer male teachers - including one-quarter who were under the age of 29 - are working in the state's classrooms this year.

Across the state, there are 12,049 men and 36,544 women registered as teachers for 2012, men representing 24.7 per cent. That compared with 12,362 men, representing 25.4 per cent, last year - and 26.4 per cent five years ago.

WA Primary Principals' Association president Steve Breen, along with the bodies that represent Catholic and independent primary principals, will meet Mr Collier, a former teacher, to discuss their proposal to target school students.

Mr Breen said principals were determined to present teaching as a worthy career by sending their best young male teachers into schools to speak to Year 10-12 pupils.

"There is a perception out there that being a lawyer or an engineer is the be all and end all - we need to be proactive in this area, you just can't let it keep getting worse each year," he said.

"The Minister has got great concerns about it, school principals have got great concerns about it, and I would imagine parents have got great concerns about it.

"Schools need both male and female role models as teachers. Both are extremely important and if you only get one point of view, that, to me, is a detrimental factor in a child's education."

Mr Collier said teaching had not been immune to the strength of the state's mining and construction sector, which has lured thousands of young men to ``set themselves up financially in a relatively short period of time". He labelled the decline of male teachers - particularly in primary schools - a ``real cause for concern".

"Only about 14 per cent of teachers in our primary schools are male, which means that a significant number of our students can progress through their primary years of schooling without having had a male teacher," Mr Collier said.

"In some instances, particularly in single-mother families, this lack of male role models is not ideal.

"Ultimately, our ability to entice more males into the teaching profession will rest on our success in changing any misconceptions that exist amongst that group (those being lured into mining or other careers) about the validity of teaching as a career pathway."

Mr Collier said the Education Department would meet with the EOC to determine how to "promote male employment in the primary school sector without contravening discrimination and equal opportunity law".

He said WA teachers were now among the highest paid in Australia, in a bid to ensure "we can attract and retain teachers".

Independent Primary School Heads of Australia WA branch president Andrew Manley said until primary teaching was presented as an appealing career ``from both a status and remuneration perspective", he feared the number of men entering the classroom would ``remain disproportionately low".

"As such, we encourage males to look at primary teaching as a positive and rewarding career," he said. "Nonetheless, when recruiting staff, while finding an appropriate gender balance in schools is an ideal goal, at the end of the day we are always looking for the best person for the job regardless of gender."

WA's largest provider of teacher education, Edith Cowan University, has only 12 men among the 694 students enrolled in early childhood studies this year.

ECU's Centre for Research in Early Childhood director Caroline Barratt-Pugh said more research was needed to understand the impact of less men taking up the profession, but it was commonly believed that men were role models for boys, ``especially for those where men are absent or marginalised".

"I think the bottom line is changing the perception of early childhood education and care as critical to the future of Australia, in which both women and men have an important role to play," she said.

Opposition education spokesman Paul Papalia said the State Government had failed to address attrition rates, particularly among male teachers.

"It may be an indication that teachers are leaving out of frustration due to inability to return to the metropolitan area or the inability to get permanency as a result of the independent public schools program," he said.

"We know that in 2015, there will be a shortage of 2500 high school teachers preceded in the next two years by surpluses of teachers."


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