Opine I will

I am a retired elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

This one’s for Campbell Brown

Today I received this tweet from Campbell Brown

She doesn’t quite get it. First let’s understand I really didn’t care to engage on Twitter. She was responding to a Twitter storm over her outrageously offensive Wall Street Journal editorial.

First let me do something she failed to do, disclose.

I’m a fifth grade teacher in a small suburban district a stone throw from the NYC border. This is a second career for me and I’ll be entering my 15th year of teaching. I was a self employed architectural/interior designer for 20+ years. I have 3 children, all graduated from college. I’ve dabbled in local politics, and have spent a good part of my life working as a volunteer in my community. Most of that work was working with children.

I also have also have engaged in community activism and was instrumental winning a huge refund and rate decreases from one of the state’s largest private water supply company. I was also a driving force that instigated the public takeover of this private utility. In this case we went from privately owned to being owned by the community.

I voted for Obama and will vote for him again.

Being a male teacher in an elementary classroom presents very unique challenges. When accusations such as Brown’s surface it paints an ugly picture and we are all smeared with her wide brush.

She claims I’m ignorant, so let’s take a look at her editorial .

Let’s start with the headline she claims

“Teachers Unions Go to Bat for Sexual Predators” and

“The system to review misconduct is rigged so even abusive teachers can stay on the job”

She presents no evidence that teachers ever went to bat for sexual predators. No evidence at all. She cites 97 cases over 5 years , keep in mind there is over 80,000 teachers in NYC. Out of those 97 cases she cites 2 examples where she disagreed with the arbitrators decision. That’s just about 2% out of all those accused and .oo25% of all the teachers in NYC.

Yet her broad brush paints the union as rigging in favor of predators?

Brown fails to present any evidence at all that supports her claim that unions went to bat for any of these individuals.

Brown opines that a mutually agreed upon arbitrator is somehow skewed by the union. She feels the need to explain that the arbitrator would actually get paid. One wonders if she has a problem with anyone in education getting paid.

Brown advocates that the head of the school district should be the one to make a final decision not an independent arbitrator.

Brown also failed to contact the union for their side of the issue. Ms. Brown that’s Yellow Journalism !

There is not one teachers’ union in the country that would rig an arbitration of a sexual predator.

Do arbitrators make bad calls? Sure! The Supreme Court makes bad calls too! To allow the head of a district to make a final call on an accusation is wrong. District superintendents and chancellors are too easily influenced by public pressure. Mutually agreed upon arbitrators is the legal norm across the nation in our democratic society.

Her tweets over the last 2 days accuse teachers unions of not caring about predators. She claims the high ground and we all should follow. She provides no evidence to support her accusations and she demonstrates complete ignorance on the work unions have done on this issue.

Now Brown cries foul when we question her motives. We question her connection to the Romney campaign, and we question her connection to Rhee’s Students First campaign to destroy unions. When she fails to justify her motives she calls our concerns idiocy.

In case you are unaware Ms. Brown, NYS just passed anti-bullying legislation. We won’t let you bully us. We’ll call you out, expose the connections and demand the truth be told.

Ms.Brown made every male teacher’s job just a little bit harder for us. That we’ll never forget.

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13 thoughts on “This one’s for Campbell Brown

  1. Chris Cerrone on said:

    I can only guess that Ms. Brown either is trying out for Fox News by spouting this nonsense. If not, she must have climbed the news ladder by the ability to read the tele-prompter and her good looks as opposed to intelligence.

  2. Michael Paul Goldenberg on said:

    The sickest part is that this is low-hanging fruit for anyone who chooses this topic. It’s even better (which is to say worse) than McCarthyism. Who would oppose it publicly? (Answer: actually, some of us will, but it takes a lot of courage to do so).

    It’s so disgusting not only because of what it does to teachers (after all, female teachers get into trouble for sexual issues, too: the stereotypical lesbian gym teacher is hardly the only vulnerable target these days: any sort of accusation of sexual impropriety at ANY grade level is awfully hard to fend off, no matter how untrue or outlandish), but also because of what it does to the entire system of justice in this country, an already staggering institution.

    I have an acquaintance who taught middle school English for decades in a nearby town. Very close to retirement, a student who was angry with him accused him falsely of “touching her butt” when they were alone. He was suspended, and after a couple of years of nonsense, he was exonerated when the girl’s best friend offered damning testimony that undermined the accusation. However, the man’s reputation was ruined and he took retirement. It was untenable for him to return to his job and he was too old in a very weak economy to seek work in another district given his lengthy service, etc.

    Of course there are teachers who abuse their positions to take sexual advantage of students. But that doesn’t change the need for presumption of innocence and due process. Idiots like Ms. Brown are simply stirring the mud to make big political and career points, and WSJ will stoop as low as it can to attack unions of any flavor and public service unions in particular. Contracts are contracts, laws are laws, until the power elite decide they’re not and change the rules. Anyone who dares point out the injustice and unfairness will be branded with the charge of defending the pedophile, communist, homosexual, terrorist, or whatever the enemy de jour happens to be. Truly this is a symptom of how sick the ed deform movement and reactionary politics have become in this country.

  3. Thank you for standing up for teachers and public education as a whole. Campbell Brown makes the willful mistake of thinking all teachers are like the rotten ones and all unions are like the ones she wants to destroy. She is nothing but a mouthpiece for corporate miscreants.

  4. Pingback: A Teacher Explains It All to Campbell Brown « Diane Ravitch's blog

  5. Evidence of Teacher’s Union aiding and abetting sexual predators.
    Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Dirty Secrets
    Passing the Trash John Doe vs Porter Gaud: A sad commentary about Charleston S.C. area schools
    Randi W. vs Muroc Joint Unified School District
    Associate Press: 2007 Sexual Misconduct Plagues U.S. Schools
    Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature, U.S. DOE 2003
    Education World Magazine: Is the Teacher in the Classroom A Convicted Felon?, 1999
    Education Week Magazine: A Trust Betrayed, 1998 and 2003
    Principal Edgar Friedrichs Sexually Assaulted and Murdered Jeremy Bell
    Seattle Times: Coaches who Prey
    The Oregonian: Disciplined Teachers
    Miramonte Elementary School: Mark Berndt, given a $40K retirement package and full pension to retire in lieu of discipline 6 months before he was arrested.

    Read it and just try not to weep. Cover up and concealment of sexual predators in our nation’s schools is an epidemic that has not received the due attention our children deserve. And because it has gone unchecked, the good teachers, like yourself, must watch your backs so that you can’t console a child when they get hurt on the playground, or give them a pat on the back for doing a great job or standing or sitting too close while helping them with their work.
    The first line of defense when this subject comes up in any debate is due process and false allegation. Based on a couple of these studies, false allegations represent less than .o1 percent of educator sexual abuse reports. And what about due process for the victimized children whose lives are irrevocably changed or lost forever?
    Campbell Brown speaks as a concerned parent first and foremost. Rather than jump on the defensive team, get on the offense against predators in school and clean up your workplace so you are not having to teach under a cloud of suspicion.

  6. If you read my post carefully, I stated that all teachers would never stand in the way of getting rid of those who commit sexual misconduct.

    Her headline and her tone were purposely skewed. She claimed the union worked to rig the system, which is not true. You sir bring out a case, where it appears a huge mistake was made. The retirement package in that case was most likely not awarded by a union. It seems the administration was at fault not a teachers union.

    If due process is followed, and those in charge do there job, predators will be identified and prosecuted. To deny due process is to deny a Constitutional right we all have. Is that what you really want?

    • Here is the rub, Passing the Trash entails the collusion between school administrators and teacher’s unions to negotiate the resignation, sanitizing personnel file, placing gag order on administrator from giving a negative referral, and sending an accused child sex offender off to another unsuspecting school with a letter of recommendation in hand. All this without ever making a mandated report of child sexual abuse. These actions deliberately put children in danger and circumvent mandatory reporting laws. Due process does not supercede mandatory reporting. When the proper reporting procedures are followed no one need fear liability. The trained law enforcement sexual abuse investigators conduct the investigation and the school is cleansed of a child predator and the child victims are saved.
      Due process has it’s place when a teacher is being treated unfairly. In instances of alleged sexual crimes against children, due process of firing an offender once convicted is due diligence. As parents we are mandated to send our children to school. All we want is to know our schools are going to follow the law in favor of our children’s protection above all else. You want our trust, earn it.

      • Ms. Miller
        You make the following accusations, ” Passing the Trash entails the collusion between school administrators and teacher’s unions to negotiate the resignation, sanitizing personnel file, placing gag order on administrator from giving a negative referral, and sending an accused child sex offender off to another unsuspecting school with a letter of recommendation in hand.”

        If you have any proof of these outrageous accusations this please present it. Otherwise your intentions will be questioned.

        let’s see the details, publish them, present them to the media, the legal authorities, show us.

        Collusion with predators??

  7. Thank you for speaking out for teachers. Of course nobody wants to protect criminals, but all humans have a right to due process.

  8. Read Dirty Secrets from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. http://old.post-gazette.com/newslinks/19991031dirtysecretsindex.asp

    Randi W. vs Muroc Joint Unified School District http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/torts3y/readings/CB-R-05.htm

    Passing the Trash: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/1998/12/09/15mobile.h18.html

    Education World Magazine: Is the Teacher in the Classroom a Convicted Felon?

    “Lying is legally fatal,” said Pickett. “The California Supreme Court’s decision in Randi W. v. Muroc Joint Unified School held a series of five school districts and their administrators liable when, time after time, they gave glowing references to a former administrator. The administrator was accused of serious improper behavior with students at each former work site and then was sued for such behavior with a student in his new place of employment.

    “Saying nothing when the administrator has knowledge of prior bad acts and knowledge that the former employee is seeking employment with children is more and more likely to result in litigation,” added Pickett. “When an employee suspected of improper behavior resigns, there should be no negotiation of settlement agreements that place a gag order on telling the truth.”

  9. Linda Johnson on said:

    It is shocking and frightening that a celebrated journalist would tell such an outrageous lie about teachers. Brown knows perfectly well that sexual offenders in the schools come under the jurisdiction of law enforcement and the courts. She also knows that every American citizen has a constitutional right to self-defense. It is this right that the unions are defending.

  10. Pingback: If we really want to #protectourkids, let’s have an honest conversation. :: Sabrina Joy Stevens

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