Sunday, June 12, 2011

The case of Samantha Ardente, school secretary/porn actress

With Weinergate continuing to unfold (or, one might say, perhaps more appropriately, "extend itself") the question of the sexual habits of public figures is in the zeitgeist at the moment. I'm not particularly interested in what happens to Congressman Weiner after he is finished with "rehab" (maybe he will eventually earn big cash on the motivational speaker circuit: "How I recovered from my sex/sexting addiction."), but the storm of public condemnation around Weiner's actions indirectly highlights an important educational issue: the ways in which school personnel are judged for their sexual practices outside of schools. 

Specifically, I'm thinking about the recent case of Samantha Ardente. Up until March of this year, Ms. Ardente (not her real name) had been a low-profile office assistant at a Qu├ębec City secondary (grades 7-11) school.  She continued in this role without incident until a student discovered that Ms. Ardente had a sideline job: she had performed in several porn scenes.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

War on Teachers?

From my inbox almost two months ago:

"So, where did this war on teachers, and other public employees come from? I certainly didn't see that coming."

A former colleague (a faculty member in a humanities department) was responding directly to word that Pennsylvania was cutting P-12 funding and slashing state support for public higher education. But her consciousness was framed by events in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

So I have been paying attention to the news in a new way. Is my colleague right? Is there a “war on teachers”? I think she may right that there is a “war” going on but I’m having a little more difficulty determining just what it is we are fighting about and fighting for. Are teachers the target? Or are teachers collateral damage in a larger struggle –because teachers (and their students) don’t fight back and because everybody feels entitled to an “expert” opinion about educational matters generally?

I hope to think more about this over the summer and invite any readers to join in with news items, anecdotes and analyses that help us all figure out where we want to stand in what is clearly a struggle for the social, economic, political and educational terrain within our own communities and our nation.

Here are a couple for starters: