HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Modern School » Journal
Page: 1

Modern School

Profile Information

Member since: Sun Dec 12, 2010, 01:09 PM
Number of posts: 794

Journal Archives

Teacher Fired for Past Life as Porn Actress

In another stunning defeat for free speech and privacy, the California Commission on Professional Competence (CPC) has upheld the dismissal of Stacie Halas, finding her “unfit” to teach 8th-grade science because she had acted in pornographic films in the past, the Los Angeles Times recently reported. (An East Coast appellate court just ruled that a school could fire a teacher for a Facebook posting)

The CPC argued that her pornographic past prevented her from being a good role model in the present. Even though she made the films from 2005-2006, before she was employed as a teacher, “the continued availability of the films will hamper her ability to be an effective teacher,” according to Judge Julie Cabos-Owen. The commission also took offense at her “dishonesty” and her failure to convince them of her “redemption.”

This ruling (along with the recent ruling against Jennifer O’Brian, for her Facebook posting) is chilling to all teachers and anyone who hopes to enter the teaching profession. While there is a broad public consensus that teachers should be good role models for their students, there is no consensus about what this actually means. A teacher can be accused of being a poor role model for any number of protected actions, including having tattoos, being an atheist, belonging to the wrong political organization, or for questioning the authority of her principal, superintendent or Arne Duncan. Any of these could become a distraction in the classroom (if the teacher lacks the skill or experience to prevent it), but none of them (including a past experience in pornography) necessarily prevents a teacher from doing a good job.

Another disturbing aspect to her firing is that it was in response to a past behavior that occurred well before she entered the teaching profession, that had no direct relevance to her ability to teach, and that she shows no sign of doing again. Considering how easy it now is to dredge up a person’s history on the internet, one can imagine all sorts of other “distracting” past behaviors that could ruin a teacher’s career (e.g., high school or college photos of drunkenness or nudity, arrests for civil disobedience, addiction).

The ruling is indicative of the Madonna/whore schizophrenia society has around teaching. Despite the fact that teachers can now stay on the job when pregnant and usually even when gay or living in sin, they are still expected to live lives of moral perfection, even when outside of school and in the privacy of their own homes. They should not drink or do drugs, perform in or watch pornography, fight, swear, scream or get angry. In short, teachers are not permitted the luxury of being human.


The ruling is moralistic—a product of adults’ discomfort with sexuality, not Halas’ competence in the classroom. It should be remembered that her students are not old enough to legally access her videos and are unlikely to actually see their teacher nude (though their parent might be scouring the internet this very moment). It is precisely people’s moralism that has made it a distraction by turning an insignificant part of her past into a maelstrom and portraying her behavior as something terribly shameful.

Even her lawyer has been complicit in this moralism, portraying her as a person who made a mistake (i.e., choosing a lucrative but despicable job) out of financial desperation, but who then went on to do something glorious (i.e., become a teacher). According to her attorney, had her district allowed her back on the job, the message to children would have been that one can make a mistake and redeem herself; whereas the ruling against her sends the message that you better not make any mistakes.

However, it is inaccurate to call her past behavior a mistake. She made a rational choice to act in pornographic films. It happened to be one of the quickest ways to help her family out of their financial mess. It is perfectly legal, pays really well, and theoretically harms nobody. Calling it a mistake implies that porn acting is deplorable or unacceptable and that it is preferable to accept low paid, tedious and backbreaking work instead. The message to children (and to teachers) is that one’s material security and wellbeing are subordinate to the need to shelter children from all turpitude, both real and imaginary.

The dishonesty charges stem primarily from her failure to come clean before being hired. Yet had she included her acting career on the job application it is virtually guaranteed that she would never have been hired in the first place, even with a valiant public appeal for redemption. Thus, she was faced with a choice of never becoming a teacher (something she apparently felt was more desirable than porn acting) or being deceitful. Ironically, had she been a prostitute, which is illegal, they likely never would have found out and she would still be teaching today.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2013/01/teacher-fired-for-being-poor-role-model.html
Posted by Modern School | Sat Jan 19, 2013, 10:49 AM (11 replies)

California Flunks Rhee’s Reform Ratings—Badge of Honor?

Michelle Rhee’s Students First advocacy group issued its ratings of state reform efforts last week. California was ranked 41st nationally, with an overall score of F, according to the Los Angeles Times. According to Students First, California has been asleep at the wheel with respect to the “reforms,” failing to limit teacher tenure and require student test scores to evaluate teachers.

Richard Zeiger, Deputy Supt. at the California Department of Education called the F grade a "badge of honor."

While it may be refreshing to hear a high ranking education official disparage Rhee’s astroturf school privatization organization, the fact that California ranked so high on her list should still be an embarrassment. Consider that there are 9 other states that ranked lower than California which, according to the backward logic of Rhee, means there are 9 that have done a better job than California at resisting free market reforms. Furthermore, the only high mark California did receive was for being the birthplace of “parent trigger” laws, which are essentially a Trojan horse for corporate education profiteers and for-profit charter school operators to grab taxpayer dollars—hardly a mark of honor.

No states received an A from Rhee’s organization. The two top states were Louisiana and Florida, which each earned a B-. Louisiana has been one the quickest to give away its public schools to non-unionized private charter school operators, particularly in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In New Orleans, over 70% of students now go to charter schools. Florida bases 50% of teacher evaluations on student test scores even though those scores are highly variable from year to year and completely unreliable for all but those at the extremes.

Even though Massachusetts has among the highest levels of student achievement, the state only received a D+ because it did not do enough to crush teachers unions and give away control of its schools to education profiteers. Montana received an F for strongly supporting local control of its schools.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2013/01/california-flunks-rhees-reform.html
Posted by Modern School | Fri Jan 18, 2013, 09:12 PM (8 replies)

Teachers' Lack of Rights at Work AND Home

In a stunning defeat for free speech and privacy rights a two-person appellate panel has upheld the firing of Jennifer O’Brien (see North Jersey.com). O’Brien, you may recall, was the Paterson elementary school teacher who was suspended for posting to her Facebook page that she felt like a warden for future criminals (see Teachers, Check Your Freedoms at the Door). The panel ruled that her behavior was not protected by the First Amendment and that her right to make those comments was “outweighed by the district’s interest in the efficient operation of its schools.”

Of course O’Brien’s behavior was stupid (or at least incredibly naïve) in this charged, litigious and anti-teacher climate. Teachers really cannot assume they have the same right to privacy as other professionals. A teacher is still expected to be a paragon of virtue, on and off campus (see Teachers, Madonna and Whore). In the past, it was not uncommon for teachers to be fired for getting pregnant, married or for having a boyfriend. Yet, as crazy as it sounds, they still are (see here for a recent example of a teacher being fired for getting pregnant out of wedlock). Teachers’ behavior at home and in the community (e.g., public intoxication, provocative attire, participation in street protests and activism) and on the internet are all open to monitoring and judgment by students, parents and administrators.

Yet regardless of how callous, careless or insensitive one feels O’Brien was, it is hard to see how firing her was in the best interests of society or children. If she was a terrible teacher and these comments were just the latest example of her cruelty toward children, then yes, build a case and go through the proper dismissal procedures. If, on the other hand, it was simply a tactless expression of frustration or exasperation with discipline problems in the classroom by an otherwise decent teacher, then get her some support or professional development. After all, teachers constantly complain privately about discipline problems to each other and to friends and family. Some no doubt even use the same pejorative comments she used, but have the sense to keep such comments off the social networking websites. This does not make them bad teachers or a threat to children.

In contrast, firing O’Brien for cause (thus denying her unemployment benefits) is deliberately cruel and callous, and completely unnecessary. But since she is an adult who betrayed the public trust, an erstwhile defender of children’s innocence who slandered their purity, a whore in Madonna’s clothing, it is entirely reasonable—indeed, desirable—to throw her to the wolves.
Posted by Modern School | Fri Jan 18, 2013, 09:11 PM (7 replies)

Teacher Fired For Being Poor Role Model

In another stunning defeat for free speech and privacy, the California Commission on Professional Competence (CPC) has upheld the dismissal of Stacie Halas, finding her “unfit” to teach 8th-grade science because she had acted in pornographic films in the past, the Los Angeles Times recently reported. (An East Coast appellate court just ruled that a school could fire a teacher for a Facebook posting)

The CPC argued that her pornographic past prevented her from being a good role model in the present. Even though she made the films from 2005-2006, before she was employed as a teacher, “the continued availability of the films will hamper her ability to be an effective teacher,” according to Judge Julie Cabos-Owen. The commission also took offense at her “dishonesty” and her failure to convince them of her “redemption.”

This ruling (along with the recent ruling against Jennifer O’Brian, for her Facebook posting) is chilling to all teachers and anyone who hopes to enter the teaching profession. While there is a broad public consensus that teachers should be good role models for their students, there is no consensus about what this actually means. A teacher can be accused of being a poor role model for any number of protected actions, including having tattoos, being an atheist, belonging to the wrong political organization, or for questioning the authority of her principal, superintendent or Arne Duncan. Any of these could become a distraction in the classroom (if the teacher lacks the skill or experience to prevent it), but none of them (including a past experience in pornography) necessarily prevents a teacher from doing a good job.

Another disturbing aspect to her firing is that it was in response to a past behavior that occurred well before she entered the teaching profession, that had no direct relevance to her ability to teach, and that she shows no sign of doing again. Considering how easy it now is to dredge up a person’s history on the internet, one can imagine all sorts of other “distracting” past behaviors that could ruin a teacher’s career (e.g., high school or college photos of drunkenness or nudity, arrests for civil disobedience, addiction).


Madonna?
The ruling is indicative of the Madonna/whore schizophrenia society has around teaching. Despite the fact that teachers can now stay on the job when pregnant and usually even when gay or living in sin, they are still expected to live lives of moral perfection, even when outside of school and in the privacy of their own homes. They should not drink or do drugs, perform in or watch pornography, fight, swear, scream or get angry. In short, teachers are not permitted the luxury of being human.

Or Whore?

The ruling is moralistic—a product of adults’ discomfort with sexuality, not Halas’ competence in the classroom. It should be remembered that her students are not old enough to legally access her videos and are unlikely to actually see their teacher nude (though their parent might be scouring the internet this very moment). It is precisely people’s moralism that has made it a distraction by turning an insignificant part of her past into a maelstrom and portraying her behavior as something terribly shameful.

Even her lawyer has been complicit in this moralism, portraying her as a person who made a mistake (i.e., choosing a lucrative but despicable job) out of financial desperation, but who then went on to do something glorious (i.e., become a teacher). According to her attorney, had her district allowed her back on the job, the message to children would have been that one can make a mistake and redeem herself; whereas the ruling against her sends the message that you better not make any mistakes.

However, it is inaccurate to call her past behavior a mistake. She made a rational choice to act in pornographic films. It happened to be one of the quickest ways to help her family out of their financial mess. It is perfectly legal, pays really well, and theoretically harms nobody. Calling it a mistake implies that porn acting is deplorable or unacceptable and that it is preferable to accept low paid, tedious and backbreaking work instead. The message to children (and to teachers) is that one’s material security and wellbeing are subordinate to the need to shelter children from all turpitude, both real and imaginary.

The dishonesty charges stem primarily from her failure to come clean before being hired. Yet had she included her acting career on the job application it is virtually guaranteed that she would never have been hired in the first place, even with a valiant public appeal for redemption. Thus, she was faced with a choice of never becoming a teacher (something she apparently felt was more desirable than porn acting) or being deceitful. Ironically, had she been a prostitute, which is illegal, they likely never would have found out and she would still be teaching today.

Modern School
http://modeducation.blogspot.com/2013/01/teacher-fired-for-being-poor-role-model.html
Posted by Modern School | Fri Jan 18, 2013, 09:10 PM (8 replies)
Go to Page: 1