Content Spammers

A spammer going by the handle “hemp” sent me this comment that is a broken-mirror reflection of a post I recently made. Not sure what the deal is, but I’d bet money that my post was fed to a content generator and got spit back as this nonesense:

At the start of the school year when I talk to my students about the classroom and the school and hopefully by extension everywhere they go being a respect zone I tell them that I cannot manage and maintain the learning environment all by myself but that I need their help too. Mutual respect is the only rule I deal with outside the handbook and its corollary The Golden Rule. Asking them for help opens the door for some judiciously applied peer pressure if the learning environment is disturbed in any way.

Needless to say, I tagged it as spam and sent it away.

Anyone else seeing this type of internet junk mail?

Irony with Your Leadership?

Originally published July 11, 2007

A number of upbeat posts in the edusphere have lately featured endorsements of enlightened educational leadership at all levels. My model of choice is the “servant leader” who sets a great example and puts the needs of his or her constituency well ahead of personal considerations. That’s an oversimplification, but it will do for now.

The Vernonia School District, which serves approximately 725 students K-12, has, as of today, a leadership crisis. I’m not sure they realize it, though.

According to the city’s web site, Vernonia, Oregon, population around 2,400, “is nestled in the beautiful Nehalem Valley deep in the coast range, just 45 minutes west of Portland.” The quiet school district nevertheless made national news when in 1995, the US Supreme Court upheld, 6-3, the district’s mandated drug testing program for scholastic athletes. A student who didn’t want to be tested in 1989 objected, and ultimately lost his case.

You would think it’s pretty clear in Vernonia that if the kids are expected to be drug-free that the administration would be also. But that may not be the case.

The Washington Grade School principal was recently cited at a coastal state park for a marijuana violation. His court date is August 6. However, his superintendent, and supposedly a number of board members support him remaining as principal. They feel that they can’t lose a “really good administrator.”

I don’t get it. Or maybe the supe doesn’t get “leadership.”

Decide for yourself after reading this article in today’s Oregonian.

I’m not a zero tolerance guy, buy I don’t see how Vernonia can endorse a double standard (remember that Supreme Court decision). I don’t see how the principal can maintain the respect of his students and their parents. And, finally, how can he be a leader?

It’s not my district, but I feel like I’ve been gut-punched.

UPDATE: Friday, July 13, 2007

Last Thursday night, after meeting with the Vernonia Schools Board, Superintendent Ken Cox issued a statement on the district’s web site that explains his decision to keep grade school principal Aaron Miller on the job. There will, he says, be consequences for Mr. Miller and accusations of maintaining a double standard directed at him, but he feels that he is doing the right thing for the community and the students.

Maybe I’m missing something here. In any case, good luck Aaron and Ken. I have a feeling you’re going to need it.

Posted by Repairman
Labels: leadership, road apples

Anonymous said…
I’ve known Aaron Miller since he taught my daughter 14 years ago. Not only would I trust him to be a fine example in the classroom and school, I would not and do not condemn him for his actions outside of school. Yes, pot’s illegal and alcohol isn’t. Which is worse- standing on a deserted beach and smoking a joint or sitting in a local bar downing beer after beer? Hmmmm, what a choice.
I wrote an e mail to Aaron recently telling him something I was told many years ago- if you learn something from this, it is a life lesson. And, knowing Aaron, he has learned a lot!
July 24, 2007 12:51 AM Repairman said…
Anon., I do not doubt, based on testimony I’ve read from various community members, that Mr. Miller is a fine man. As an administrator, he made a big mistake.

It is a fact that he was cited for a marijuana violation. He has yet to plead, so guilt or innocence is not part of the discussion.

The superintendent would have been far better off to take a wait and see position with regard to the disposition of the case, rather than saying, prematurely in my opinion, that he and the board are behind Mr. Miller, regardless of the outcome of the allegation.

What kind of message does the Vernonia School District send, especially if the superintendent wishes to cultivate respect and confidence in district leadership?

It’s not the marijuana issue, it’s the leadership issue that has us concerned. We have questions like, “Will Mr. Miller be able to lead his school effectively. Has he set an example for his students to follow?” I imagine folks in Vernonia care about those questions.

Mr. Miller put the board and the superintendent, and all the other people who serve your district in a most awkward and possibly damaging situation.

As a board member, I could not condone that behavior, but I would wait until the disposition of the case before uttering a word.

In fact, a lot of this discussion would never have occurred had your supe and the board waited for final information on the case.
July 24, 2007 4:58 PM

Strange Bedfellows

Picked up on this interesting tidbit, via The Science Goddess, from Pharyngula, a science edublog:

Via Pharyngula

This year’s annual meeting for the National Education Association includes a booth by “Answers in Genesis,” a creationist group. As Dr. Myers points out in his post:

It’s rather like finding the Mafia has a booth at the police convention, but there they are, with lots of pictures, proudly peddling creationist dogma that is not legal to teach in public schools, and which can get school districts embroiled in expensive lawsuits, to teachers I’m mystified why the NEA would allow this — any teacher in a public school who followed the advice of these clowns could land their school in very hot water, not to mention that they would be misleading and miseducating their students.

Hey, it’s just another reason for the NEA (WEA, Uniserv, and Local) to suck away that $700 from my paycheck right? If a few out there teachers don’t do stupid things, then what would be the point of the mob enforcement “protection” mentality that they have? Why not stoke their own fires by providing materials for teachers to get in trouble for using? I have no doubt that it would make perfect sense to the union “leadership” here.

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We’ll talk about unions down the road in RepairKit. For now, my comment is, “Pretty strange company we’re keeping there, NEA.” (For a real treat, visit a web site that is intent on undermining science in public education: Answers In Genesis.)