Academic Integrity…From the Scholar

“We don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom”. An audacious line from Roger Waters, Pink Floyd’s lesser-collected front man next to David Gilmour, “Another Brick in the Wall” was a formidable anthem against a menacing archetype; the mean, suppressive grade school teacher, a character formed from the eyes of a British schoolboy surrounded by the calamity of the Blitzkrieg. Fast forward, as it stands today, the words “read” “success”, “pride” and exceptionally, “challenge” hang over the upper walls of school libraries and classrooms like Pinocchio figurines in an Italian deli. They were installed there by people once like their academic dependents; curious and actively seeking academic excellence, in a place where poor character and lacking initiative will cost you. Nevertheless, in an ethics-based standoff between the young and the old, neither teacher or student holds the high ground without an eventual exchange; a romantic scandal here, a violent scuffle at recess there, and a shooting in the worst of outcomes. The school is an ideological playground for first attempts at life, and the student-teacher relationship can be on course to success or disaster.

Where the idea of “academic integrity” reigns supreme, this consecrated belief in excellence has a potpourri of shady, untrustworthy, and imperfect preachers of the good word.

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One of the many remarks made in Project Veritas’s Teachers Unions Gone Wild.

y a cunning choice of words, the “integrity” part derives from “compliance”, with a bit of polishing. This principle maintains a just system of reward as if it were out in the workforce, where order is maintained, and maintaining order in the classroom setting doesn’t just require discipline, but it is itself a discipline and an art form, as different teachers approach it in unique and creative ways. The discipline commodity, physically manifested at least, has molded itself to keep relevant with the times; it’s fear-inducing elements are still intact when you push the teachers’ buttons, endurance, and sanity.

Take kindergarten class; a setting where a generational disparity between students and teachers is clear cut, as the children would be about five, and the teacher no younger than 23. Students are starting out, whereas the latter has graduated college, gone through the pleasures and anguishes of middle and high school, and had to burst out of the gates with a clear career path in mind. It’s their consistent swinging of the nightstick that keeps their subjects’ temper tantrums, hyperactivity and other behaviors at bay. This is commonplace in the age bracket preceding middle school.

However, as these behaviors are grown out of as the students mature, personal political beliefs will be challenged. “Grow up, snowflake” comes as a quick, handy rejoinder to the generational anguish voiced by young adults not even 30, facing a world infinitely described as “unfair”, and this anguish is accompanied by existential depression or identity crisis.

You can glance at friends’ Instagram stories to reveal this cynical and self-deprecating mindset that seemingly commands their worldview, producing these feelings. As they smoke and drink to the point of brain rot, they may take issue with perfectly sound criticisms towards their films, songs, artworks, what have you. Pass their intimate, welcoming local scenes, Bandcamps, and Discord servers, however, the real world will release its harshest critics. By then, the henpecked, socially-withdrawn outliers will only be able to take so much before breaking. Because of this, the educators bear a great cause-and-effect armament.

Professors are there for their job, and humanistic initiatives that forge relationships are always secondary, no matter how this is phrased. A 2001 study by two psychologists at the Society for Research in Child Development Hamre & Piata, suggest that early teacher-child relationships, as experienced and described in kindergarten by teachers, are unique predictors of academic and behavioral outcomes in early elementary school, with mediated effects through eighth grade. It suggests the risk of young people’s mental illness can be diminished with the help of a support framework, since educators have the means of encouragement when parental responsibility at home fails, and the service of daycare, which grew by 250% by the end of the 20th century, did not help. Maternal deprivation, as two years of intimate attention to enable them to form the caregiver-child bond essential for secure ego formation. Disturbance of this predisposes the children to respond in an anti-social way to later stresses, and this is precisely what led to the post-modernist outbursts on college campuses throughout the nation in the wake of Donald Trump’s jump into the 2016 presidential race.

Bit of an overlooked warning in today’s world, no? It is the right of everyone to listen and hear, and every time you silence someone, you actually make yourself a prisoner of your own action because you deny yourself the right to hear something, your own right to hear and be exposed is as much involved as is the other to voice their view.

the midst of “responsibility” and “integrity” having such flexible meanings, the discourse on education and education reform has enveloped the issue of public-sector unions, which have brought to the local and national spotlight the corruption that lays within state politics.

At the beginning of the decade in my home state of New Jersey, then-Governor Christie and the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) sparred over employee pensions as healthcare costs rose, garnering thousands and thousands of views online. Christie’s baseline legislation required public employees to contribute 1.5 percent of their salaries toward their health care. The union proclaimed that this wage contribution to healthcare was a gross assault on public education, in the state with the 5th highest paying salary, and its hegemony has instilled in people this covert, inherent sympathy for teachers with a broad brush through activists’ hearts and minds. It’s a tremendous performance of coupling raw emotional materials with propagandic muscle power.

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Governor Christie at a a town hall meeting in Brick. Photography: Jennifer Brown.

Are grammar school students even this unknowing enough to believe spiking the wages will result in an incentive to become a better teacher?

Instead of performance-based salaries, public school teachers get automatic raises by upholding the same post for a long time, shielding them from termination, no matter their performance and in whose lives they’ve done of the opposite of enrich. Having endorsed Hillary Clinton 16 months prior to the 2016 elections, spearheaded a smear campaign against pro-labor Democratic candidate Stephen Sweeney for his past involvement in an overhaul of the pension system, and politicked in schools, the NJEA holds a formidable and controversial reputation. Their union contracts, spurred by the unions’ keen hunger for dues, were written like celebrity contracts, and teachers who refute representation fees are ostracized as non-teaching personnel grow and grow around them. It costs if you join, and it costs if you don’t join.

To all this, “no” was the response from Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of the Success Academy charter schools, striving to challenge the formalities of educational special interest groups, a place where pep rallies are not just for sports. Started in 2006, Success Academy with its trademark policies of excellence was a rather polarizing, deviant venture amidst the educational status quo. Notwithstanding the dissent of pro-union lobbyists, the charter-geared campaign defied the status quo serving as an alternative for inner-city families. While the organization’s high school was recently targeted for holding back 28 of 300 students, plans to expand the chain by a count of 9 new campuses remain on queue. These charges against the school for weeding out students is hypocritical. Racking up 3.5 million dollars to dismiss seven teachers in the 2000s, the Lost Angeles school system bears the case of Mark Berndt, who was given $40,000 on his way out, standing testament to the crooked, litigious mechanics of these leaders. His actions against the well-being of children are too horrific to specify, but Berndt was smart enough to decline contesting the charges, dodging a life sentence, and cases like these would ideally allow districts to terminate people more effectively. Instantly terminating the teachers who are sexual deviants, inappropriate or ineffective, is contested by boilerplate labor rights advocation.

If “teachers do it out of love” remains the prevailing argument, it will eventually transform into a sweet-bitter double entendre.

Teaching may not be one’s primary job; it may be an avocation for industry professionals coming for literature, the arts and so on, but to so such as promulgate union hegemony is a sign of desperate instability. The percentage of U.S. public school teachers participating in unions has been declining steadily over the last two decades. Only 70% percent of teachers are signed with unions (National Teacher and Principal Survey, 2015–16), when it was 10% to 15% higher in the preceding two decades.

In the grander scheme of things, the talent reward cycle for people of all ages has been taken off the gears of skill and fed instead through suffering and sleep deprivation quota experienced outside of the space, a social change to which I’ve grown very indignant.

ttend an open mic or house show, and you may notice the performance quality requires nobody’s endorsement. Nothing that you choose to do, in a perfect, ideologically safe world, requires anyone’s endorsement. I have my own gripes with this because I embrace the challenge and constructive criticism, but to young people, critique has been approached with fragility, and thanks to that suppressive teacher archetype earlier, the averseness to tough love and strictness is in full swing.

The archetype, embodied physically, is one we’re somewhat well-familiar with, piling rageful comment after insult and repeated, the dedication and well-intended concern is muddled by a morbid midlife crisis pushing a Trojan horse labeled “discipline”, but their conduct and attitudes are tethered to their track records as life pawns; friends, siblings, fathers (or mothers). As they pounce on Trump’s notorious reputation as a womanizer, they themselves may not have held down a single spouse for more than 5 years, and their remorse-driven misogyny toward female students (or passable non-binaries) makes itself evident over a semester-long course.

If the readers notice a bias towards men, you’re correct. Women aren’t the only ones prone to provocation and misdemeanors.

Veer away from the community level to an acclaimed trade school, and tensions are even higher. This is an education environment rife with post-modernist landscapes, where social justice is an uppermost principle. As Jane Elliott instills in her notorious Brown Eye-Blue eyes experiment, which illustrates de facto racial tensions in American fabric. While exposing collective ignorance for five decades, she brings out of the participants the sense of power struggle. Teachers are in power at face value and by the policy. They have privilege, but do they have emotional stability? Do they have a spouse and children? Perhaps, and the hardships in their personal lives let out in the most disingenuous forms.

When the “tough love” complex we’re familiar with from our mothers and fathers derives from an educator, there are two simple objections to why and how this goes.

  1. The student has demonstrated great potential and the educator is altruistic and intending to send them off equipped into their prospective industries with beneficial skills.
  2. The student find ways of doing things counter or of slight deviation to the lesson, and this triggers the educator to instill in them the impressions, rage, and emotional gaslighting so they live on as a metaphorical brain tumor.

As said, a life lived in shambles then put in a teaching positioning makes for a bad trip ahead. In an emotionally sterile and disciplinarily neutral learning environment, the weight over students for task completion is all an average teacher has to hold up. By contrast, a visual arts professor absent of a strong IMDb or Ads of the World page will make for a wicked channeling of a drill instructor to unsuspecting freshmen, psychological gaslighting and all. Due to the 90s and 2000s passing and having made little of a scratch in the fabric of the industry and culture, they believe the only recourse they can muster is eliciting a few encouraging comments here and some fear-inducing tirades there. Again, this is how they would live on in the students as a metaphorical tumor.

Though this example is rather specific, there’s a larger takeaway.

When the educator has gradually done things to authentically live through their alumni’s strides, so as long they’re still tenured at their school and work is being produced, the perception is strong enough that a void in their life’s career/calling is filled again. It is, simply, vicarious success.

It is done without monitoring, and there’s virtually no clearly-drawn order for the faculty to prevent this. The typical mishandlings and infractions that parents hear from their children, verbal assaults on students’ fledgling political ideas, or undue scolding for trivial nonsense such as gum-chewing, were in any given industry, relationships, there would be discipline. Parents don’t want to hear this happened. I wouldn’t be in the least surprised given a teacher explicitly telling her students that guns kill people and a student responding with “well, my pencil caused my horrible grades.”

Isn’t it nice how ignorant students are thought to be initially? More and more there’s a prevalent strong grasp on ethical, logical but also sensible legislative reform, and yet administrators cast serious doubt on this in IEP meetings. pursue the boogiemen as they did with the peanut butter crusade of the 90s and 2000s, and cracking down on chewing gum, take time to be exposed for what they are; crusades, zealous, on-a-whim crusades, that flourished and gained a foothold under institutions striving to educate. Taking the side of the victim, calling aggression by its right name, calling people to their responsibility. All ample opportunities for new teachers to shine, ethically.

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The classroom is where people’s true character comes out.

Conclusory Thoughts:

ased on experience of my own and that of established psychological studies, harmonious classrooms can assist with the development of creativity as well as reduce anxiety levels amongst students. The impact of student-teacher relationships upon a student’s mental health should not be ignored.

To us, the overall ideal of “teacher” raises traits of wisdom, engagement, and last but not least discipline. Their role, if not their incentive, is to collectively help the student body produce academically excellent progress resulting in the school’s reputational pursuit on the national rankings. Student are exercise objects that shape schools’ workplace culture. Teachers can be our biggest fans or most despised adversaries, but it’s all about perception, in hopes that the superficial actions maneuver and influence the student to make progress. The sources from which it derives strive to correct their past failures by rectifying the childhoods and young adulthoods of the present and future. mental health issues for This is a higher rate than for people working in defense and emergency services, which is about 22%. These systems test the knowledge, endurance, and sanities, with standardized tests, equalize and rank the student body by performance.

This mission shared by the faculty and Board of Ed requires the lesser performing students to be re-animated and re-conditioned in the art of Common Core, preventing them from enrolling in classes of the arts, and these are the same people that expect more parental faith in the system.

Parents indeed carried out their roles to shape us as independent survivors, and to have a grocery list of life priorities tailored for self-fulfillment, rather than self-indulgence. There are basic things to know about our culture, and there are things that are meaningless to most.

It is not true in our given society that all people are doing useful productive work or self-satisfying work. Lots of people are excluded from productive labor, and our revolution should be in the name of all humans, but it should be conducted by certain, qualified groups, and those are the ones involved in productive tasks of society. So before all this even starts to be part of the debate, they serve as breeding grounds for two civil facets of humanity; the willingness to critically voice their views, and active participation in a reward system.

However, this generation who believe life’s regimen of uniform requirements to be obscene and who believe their untouched emotional well-being is more vital than embracing challenges and opposing political views are stuck between these miserable professors, simultaneously serving as their antitheses (in character) and reflections of their younger selves, minus the unrewarded determination, investment, and emotional sacrifice done in the name of passion. Couple this with the manufactured feelings from special interest groups masquerading as a labor rights struggle, and you have a large mental mess tended to only by covering up rather than proper maintenance.

It’s like walking on eggshells placed along a path of smoldering charcoals. This in short, is the dynamic that takes place between adults, whose main occupation can be summed up as an academic babysitter, and students of all different strides who on one extreme are driven and well-behaved and on another are outwardly disruptive. In the end game, lessons from the chalkboard or from one-on-one conversations after class may or may not vividly reflect the teacher’s character. We’ve come a long way from the time where teachers were the authoritarians. Now, they are part and parcel of the “little guy” conglomerate anyone with a shred of humanitarian principle appeals to in fighting for their labor rights (even the predators’). Yet, they, too, have their jarring character flaws, and the collective fight for their tenure and pension “entitlements” are spurred from blind faith rather than a sense of justice.

Written by

Richard is a video editor, digital artist, and sound designer in the New York area. He writes critical and polemic essays about various topics.

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