Hold That Line

DAYS WITHOUT A CONTRACT: 401
DAYS UNTIL THE START OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR: 14

I fully admit it; I’m terrible with titles. This is for everything, from research papers to emails to blog posts. So this week I gave myself a break from doing it and decided to use titles from labor songs. Kudos to the people who noticed and emailed me! Moving onto the news, then, I think today I’ll work outward in.

There’s a few things going on in Missouri we might want to be aware of:

Missouri Outlaws Teacher-Student Facebook Friendships [ABA Journal]
Missouri ‘Facebook Law’ Limits Teacher-Student Interactions Online, Draws Criticism And Praise [Huffington Post]
Missouri teachers: No talking to students on Facebook [Digital Life]

To boil it down, Missouri has a new law that forbids “direct contact” on social networking sites between teachers and students:

By January 1, 2012, every school district must develop a written policy concerning teacher-student communication and employee-student communications. Each policy must include appropriate oral and nonverbal personal communication, which may be combined with sexual harassment policies, and appropriate use of electronic media as described in the act, including social networking sites. Teachers cannot establish, maintain, or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child’s legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian. Teachers also cannot have a nonwork-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student. Former student is defined as any person who was at one time a student at the school at which the teacher is employed and who is eighteen years of age or less and who has not graduated.

The intent of the law was to try and protect children from sexual abuse and, apparently, online predators. Unfortunately, there’s probably a bit of overreach in that particular section. I know I use a couple of different social networking sites in my teaching (which is, of course, with adults and wouldn’t apply to this law) and I know several K-12 teachers who do the same with valuable results. I’m a little puzzled by the “nonwork-related website” as well. So teachers aren’t allowed to have their own webpages now? I also imagine enforcing something like this will be a nightmare.

Complaints to be filed in athletics probe [The Southern]
Yesterday Rita Cheng announced there would be no suspensions or dismissals in the probe into the SIUC Athletics department. So the complaints are being moved to two outside federal agencies. There’s a particular paragraph in the article about the first review that made it seem a little shady to me:

Rhode said the university’s investigation was led by an external agency at a cost of nearly $12,000. She said letters with the findings were sent to all parties, but she was not given access to a copy of the investigation report.

The attorney said parties were given 30 days to appeal the findings, but with no details on what the agency based its opinion, an appeal is practically impossible to draft.

First of all, the full report wasn’t released? Secondly, it really costs $12,000 to investigate this? If someone has a better idea what these sort of investigations usually entail than I do, I’d like to hear it!

Finally, the Southern has an interesting editorial today; it’s from Sheila Simon: Peformance funding to ‘help shape our state’

She’s basically setting the stage for the performance-based funding initiatives that are coming down the pipe. The editorial doesn’t give the specific measures but she does say they are supposed to be designed around each institution’s “mission.” Expect a lot more information (and debate) about this to come.

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One thought on “Hold That Line

  1. Pingback: SIUC Unions United

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