Inflammatory Fashion: Outraged officials fired a public school teacher in the Salcedo province in October after he wore a T-shirt with Osama bin Laden’s picture on it to class, but the Dominican Teachers Association is defending his choice of attire. Jose Cruz argued that his dismissal for wearing the shirt, which proclaims, “I support bin Laden,” made him a “victim of political persecution,” and the union agreed, according to the Spanish EFE News Service. To protest the firing, the union called a strike at schools in the province.
Racy Essay: Government officials gave a teacher’s recent attempt to spice up her students’ storytelling skills an “E”—for embarrassing. Seeking an essay topic that would inspire the uninterested writers in her classes at the all- boys Chien Kuo High School, Chen Yeh decided to ask students to write about a sexual experience. When the students protested, claiming they didn’t know what to write, the veteran teacher said they were either lying or strangely lacking in experience. While the education minister, Tseng Chih-lang, did not immediately discipline Yeh, he openly rebuked her. “I found it disgusting,” he tells the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. “It is good to think up new ideas, but her ingenuity should be within the limits of social acceptance. Sex is one’s privacy.”
Cheat Sheet: It’s official—the Gujarat Secondary Education Board has determined that there are 30 ways for teachers to help their students cheat on state exams. And, after dispatching a five-member committee to study the matter, the board recommends different punishments for each of them, reports the Times of India. Ways teachers aid cheaters include tampering with answer books, providing advance copies of the exam, marking unfairly, and accepting bribes from students, according to the education board. Suggested punishments range from suspensions and withholding raises to humiliating the teachers by circulating their names to schools across the state.
Choosy Children: Fourteen elementary school students in Blacktown, near Sydney, went on strike in late September in an attempt to get their substitute teacher a permanent contract, and more than a month later, they were still out of school. The children and their parents were distressed when Malcolm McCrae, a sub filling in for a teacher on maternity leave, was told he couldn’t stay when his term ended. Then the position he left became vacant, and McCrae applied but didn’t get the job. Instead, the Blacktown Advocate charges, the education department “targeted” a woman applicant. Officials offered McCrae a position outside the classroom, but he turned it down. Students gathered more than 500 signatures on a petition to no avail. In the meantime, parents of the striking kids have resorted to homeschooling.
Vol. 13, Issue 4, Page 11Published in Print: January 1, 2002, as Dispatches