Friday, July 20, 2018

Apparently Going Through Life Drunk And Stupid Makes A Suitable Educator In This Seattle School District

It’s just not fair. School should be out for the heat, beaches and barbecues of Summer, but unfortunately the damaging insanity of failed policy in the Seattle school district, has put the kibosh on seasonal travel plans.

Dean Wormer of the prestigious Faber College has graciously agreed to eloquently describe the pathway that a decrepit individual chose to carve for himself in navigating through the public school infrastructure in a drunken stupor of volatile rants, unjustified absences, despicable behavior, and sexually violating a minor.

While this real life horrific nightmare for students and parents, bears no resemblance to the hijinks of the National Lampoon’s franchise of cinematic and merits a serious discussion, the blatantly egregious and disgusting actions of an ex-teaching assistant surrounded by equally reckless circumstances, calls at least for the balancing presence of content from the lighter side to buoy the outrage and disbelief.

While Albert C. Virachismith is certainly drunk and stupid, the bureaucratic incompetence of the school district and the teacher’s union ultimately failed the students, as the Seattle Times reports that Virachismith was given multiple chances to rectify his horrendously checkered employment record, which included appearing on school property drunk and belligerent, and several instances of documented misconduct with students, which was culminated by the alleged rape of a student.

In fact, Virachismith, was actually backed by the Seattle Education Association in keeping his job even after failing to satisfy the stipulations of “A Last Chance Settlement Agreement”, an inexplicable offer forwarded by the Seattle School District and an obvious consequence of pressure facilitated by the powerful and lucrative union and an ace legal team.

The unbelievable caveat to this entire sordid narrative is that Virachismith was technically not fired for his apparent indiscretions with the student, and the incident is still under investigation, but for his pitiful attempt to fulfill his alcohol treatment protocol.

To the horror of students and parents, his employment record riddled with unsatisfactory ratings goes all the way back to 2014, and displays the ineptitude of system completely lacking protocols for accountability and a dreadfully low priority towards the safety of pupils. The asinine policy of rendering a public employee virtually exempt from termination, is the gift that keeps on giving in extorting the tax payer, and punishes the good men and women of the education world, as crucial funding is diverted towards defending the scumbags of the world, rather than rewarding and supporting the efforts of exceptional teachers.

Even after Virachismith was first cited for violations with alcohol at the end of the 2017 school year, he was allowed to interact with students from seven different campuses as a teaching assistant until his termination in February of this year.

Of course Seattle is widely known for extremist liberal politics emanating from governing bodies, in creating a socialist dystopia of a billion dollar homeless cottage industry and publicly funded heroin injection sites. With the inability of the school district to properly identify a pedophile and take appropriate action, the city is on full scale alert in the search for competent leaders, who get things done the right way and embrace decency and morality.

Currently, the Seattle City Council is drafting a letter to the school district that includes the tired phrase, “Can’t we give him just one more chance?”


Educators reject censorship, encourage student exploration of 'problematic' literature of the past

From Confederate memorials to “problematic” literature in schools, communities across the country are wrestling with how to acknowledge the past and its imperfections without offending the sensibilities of modern schoolchildren and their teachers, with most solutions employing one of the three R’s: remove, rename, revise.

But some educators are encouraging another way. They are engaging with children in an exploration of values and culture to better understand the mores of the past and the present.

“Why is Ma so scared of Native Americans? Where does prejudice come from in pioneers? What prejudices do we still have today?” Melissa Scholes Young, a professorial lecturer at American University, offers as questions to explore the cultural landscape and significance of the “Little House on the Prairie” series of children’s books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The Association for Library Service to Children last month voted unanimously to remove Wilder’s name from its children’s book award because the “Little House” series “includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values.”

The association said specifically that her writing displays “anti-Native and anti-Black sentiments,” and it renamed the award as the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.

Wilder, who won the group’s first award in 1954, is still read widely, but her complex legacy is “not universally embraced,” the association said. Wilder was born in 1867 and died in 1957 at age 90.

Ms. Scholes Young said she often pairs classic literature with work from more modern authors as a way to compare and contrast how cultural issues are reflected in the stories. Not every parent has the wisdom and training professors possess, she said, but that shouldn’t stop parents from pursuing this angle.

“It’s perfectly fine as a parent to say, ‘Sometimes I don’t know. … Let’s look for it together,’” she said. “It’s not hard to pair a historical text with almost anything happening in our world today.”

The tack is supported by Deborah Gilboa, a Pittsburgh-based family physician who, using the pseudonym “Dr. G,” has written a number of books about teaching children social and cultural standards such as respect and responsibility.

Dr. Gilboa said it’s wrong to censor authors for “accurately reflecting their time and history” even when their prose clashes with the ideals of the modern enlightened age. A far better response, she said, is to talk directly to children about the issues in question with the proper values and context.

“Our own pivot is to say, ‘Oh, that author held a really warm place in my heart. … I associate them with positive memories.’ Now, I have to go back and make sure they don’t shape my ideas toward something I don’t think is ethical,” said Dr. Gilboa, a blogger and author of “Get the Behavior You Want … Without Being the Parent You Hate.”

Of course, Laura Ingalls Wilder is only the latest target for cultural or historical scrubbing for modern audiences. Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” sporadically comes under fire and scrutiny for its liberal use of a racial slur, even though Twain portrays the escaped adult slave Jim as the story’s most noble and sensible figure.

Meanwhile, Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, now is considered a peddler of racist imagery in some circles. Early in his career, Geisel worked as an illustrator of corporate ad campaigns, drawing caricatures of blacks and Asians that have been deemed offensive and stereotypical by those who uphold today’s standards.

Across the country, officials are moving with deliberate speed to remove Confederate memorials from public places and rename schools bearing the monikers of famed Confederates, in the wake of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August.

Dr. Gilboa, noting the debate over Dr. Seuss’ body of work, pointed out that schools routinely honor the author’s birthday with readings, illustrations and homework assignments. That shouldn’t end based on select elements of his artistic career, she said, because younger minds can handle the complexity of the issue in play.

“First-graders can hear that things aren’t entirely ‘good’ or ‘bad,’” said Dr. Gilboa, likening the situation to complicated feelings about their own siblings. “I want you to love your brother, appreciate and value him, and I recognize sometimes he’s not your favorite person to play with.”

Rachel Keane, a blogger and political consultant, said that challenging art opens the door for critical conversations about the past and present.

Take the debate tied to “Huckleberry Finn.” A child may be confused about the racial slur or wonder why the author used it. A wise response would be to share the cultural significance of the word, connecting it to slavery and the nation’s unsteady growth beyond its hateful roots, she said.

Removing “Huckleberry Finn” from classrooms does a disservice to students and the culture at large, Ms. Keane said.

“We’re erasing our history. If you erase history, you’re bound to repeat it,” she said. “We’ve come from somewhere, and the past is gritty and it’s hard to look at, but you have to look at it.”

Ms. Scholes Young said her experience as a professor has taught her how students are “more open, more curious and more informed than their parents think they are.” It’s why adults should engage children with literature with open minds and a hunger for discussion.

“The biggest question I get [from students] is, ‘How could people have ever thought this way?’ Many people still do. They seem like outdated concepts, but are they?” she said.

The discussions can allow parents to bond with their children and pass along their values. It’s what art is supposed to do, Ms. Scholes Young said.

“Mark Twain would be pleased as punch that we’re still talking about [his work],” she said.


Australia: Queensland conservatives slams school union education program

A new program to educate high school students about their rights as workers is union indoctrination, the Queensland Opposition says.

The Queensland Council of Unions has put together a program called the Young Workers Hub, which will educate Year 11 and 12 students who have part-time jobs about their rights at work.

It will also offer contact channels for young people to seek support if they have questions or issues at work, as well as a "campaigning arm" to allow young workers to "make their workplaces better".

The Opposition says the program is an attempt to get young people to sign up as union members.

"This is nothing more than a political union membership drive and they're starting young because they're not getting the members that they want," the Liberal National Party's education spokesman Jarrod Bleijie told reporters on Thursday.

He drew a distinction between the QCU's program and similar classes run by the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, saying the business advocacy group was not an "external body of a political party".

He also accused Education Minister Grace Grace of being "too close" to the issue because she was a QCU official before entering politics.

But Ms Grace defended the program, which requires schools to opt in.

She said teenagers who were already working deserved to know about their rights at work to avoid exploitation.

"I'm sure no parent wants to see their child exploited or working in an unsafe environment," the minister said in a statement.

Children in Queensland can legally work once they turn 13, with exemptions down to the age of 11 for some jobs such as delivering pamphlets door-to-door.


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