Education

[UPDATED!] Do We Really Need More Teachers Who Have Kids Draw on Slow Readers' Faces With Permanent Markers?

Reason 24/7 News flagged this story a few days ago and I think it deserves a second post at the site. It's about a teacher who instructed some students to draw on the faces of others - in permanent marker! - as punishment for poor reading-test results.

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Update (11/20): A formal complaint has been filed against the teacher allegedly involved but any sort of resolution won't be happening soon. "It's a long process," explains an Idaho Dept. of Education spokesperson. Go here for the latest.

Reason 24/7 News flagged this story a few days ago and I think it deserves a second post at the site. It's about a teacher who instructed some students to draw on the faces of others - in permanent marker! - as punishment for poor reading-test results.

From an AP account:

A teacher in the southern Idaho town of Declo is being criticized after she had her fourth-grade students use permanent markers to draw on the faces of children who failed to meet reading goals….

Cindy Hurst told The Times-News that her 10-year-old son came home from school Nov. 5 with his entire face — including his eyelids — scribbled on with green, red and purple markers.

"He was humiliated, he hung his head and wanted to go wash his face," Hurst said. "He knows he's a slow reader. Now he thinks he should be punished for it."

Larsen, who has taught at the school for six years, didn't respond to requests for comment. But District Superintendent Gaylen Smyer confirmed what took place in her classroom, though he didn't name Larsen.

And get this: Here's Smyer's take on the issues raised by this incident:

Although teachers are allowed some latitude in class, he said, this incident comes down to an issue of safety in the classroom and school environment.

"There are things there that we questioned," Smyer said.

Yeah, bub, it's a safety issue. Because those markers might be toxic? I'd say it's more of a sanity issue - and on that score, the teacher, the school, and the superintendent all deserve to get tattooed over this.

More here.

Bonus fear for the future: President Obama has called for the hiring of more teachers (even as the story above suggests we're already scraping the bottom of the barrel). Here's why we don't need more teachers.

This is precisely the sort of story that helps explain the explosive growth (documented here) in the school-choice movement.

We recently interviewed Salman Kahn, founder of the educational enterprise Kahn Academy and author of the excellent new book, The One-World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined. We discussed lots of stuff but somehow drawing on slow-reading kids' faces with permanent markers never came up as a pedagogy of the future.