Signature Assessment Final Exam by Angela moore

1. Identify Critical Concepts:

a. Student rights and responsibilities

Tinker v. Des Moines (1969) Holding: "Students do not leave their rights at the schoolhouse door."

To protest the Vietnam War, Mary Beth Tinker and her brother wore black armbands to school. Fearing a disruption, the administration prohibited wearing such armbands. The Tinkers were removed from school when they failed to comply, but the Supreme Court ruled that their actions were protected by the First Amendment.

At a public school, Tinker and other students organized a silent protest against the Vietnam War. Students planned to wear black armbands to school to protest the fighting but the principal found out and told the students they would be suspended if they wore the armbands. Despite the warning, students wore the armbands and were suspended. During their suspension the students' parents sued the school for violating their children's right to free speech. A U.S. district court sided with the school, ruling that wearing armbands could disrupt learning. The students appealed the ruling to a U.S. Court of Appeals but lost and took their case to the United States Supreme Court.

In 1969 the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision in favor of the students. The high court agreed that students' free rights should be protected and said, "Students don't shed their constitutional rights at the school house gates."

In wearing armbands, the petitioners were quiet and passive. They were not disruptive, and did not impinge upon the rights of others. In these circumstances, their conduct was within the protection of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth.

First Amendment rights are available to teachers and students, subject to application in light of the special characteristics of the school environment.

A prohibition against expression of opinion, without any evidence that the rule is necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others, is not permissible under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Fourteenth Amendment protects the citizen against the State itself and all of its creatures -- Boards of Education not excepted. These have important, delicate, and highly discretionary functions, but none that they may not perform within the limits of the Bill of Rights.

The school officials banned and sought to punish petitioners for a silent, passive expression of opinion, unaccompanied by any disorder or disturbance on the part of petitioners. There is no evidence whatsoever of petitioners interference with the schools work or of collision with the rights of other students to be secure and to be let alone. Accordingly, this case does not concern speech or action that intrudes upon the work of the schools or the rights of other students.

This case does not demonstrate any facts which might reasonably have led school authorities to forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities, and no disturbances or disorders on the school premises in fact occurred. These petitioners merely went about their ordained rounds in school. Their deviation consisted only in wearing on their sleeve a band of black cloth, not more than two inches wide. They wore it to exhibit their disapproval of the Vietnam hostilities and their advocacy of a truce, to make their views known, and, by their example, to influence others to adopt them. They neither interrupted school activities nor sought to intrude in the school affairs or the lives of others. They caused discussion outside of the classrooms, but no interference with work and no disorder. In the circumstances, our Constitution does not permit officials of the State to deny their form of expression.


b. Teacher professional rights and responsibilities

Teachers Rights include; New teachers have the right to one year of induction with a mentor. Teachers have the right to a proper assignment. Teachers have the right, within policies of a school districts, to assign grades to students. Teachers have the right to a 30-minute duty-free lunch break. As a member of a bargaining unit, teachers have rights contained in local contracts

.Teacher Responsibilities include; Observe child abuse laws, Uphold requirements of the Professional Standards and Practices Act, Keep teaching certificate valid and active, Behave in a manner consistent with PSEA's Code of Ethics

A New Jersey public high school teacher has filed a lawsuit against her former school and some of its administrators claiming that she was let go from her job for being a Muslim American of Palestinian descent. Sireen Hashem said in the suit that she repeatedly felt targeted by the administration at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, N.J., for her religion and ethnicity.

Hashem said that while training for her teaching position in 2013, she sat in on the class of a non-Muslim colleague who showed her students a video about Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. That day, Hashem screened the same film for her class, according to the lawsuit. Eleven days later, Hashem said, she was called into a meeting with her department supervisor, Robert Zywicki, who informed her that school Principal Susan Cooley had received complaints from parents about the video.

“Zywicki told[Hashem that she could not teach current events in the same manner as her non-Arab, non-Palestinian and non-Muslim colleagues,” the complaint said. According to the lawsuit, a parent also complained several months later after Hashem assigned students a common standardized essay question that referenced Osama bin Laden. Hashem says that Cooley told her that “she should not mention Islam or the Middle East in her class” and that she “should not bring her culture, life experience or background into the classroom.” She also said in the lawsuit that she was later accused of anti-Semitism and was told that she “caused trouble since she was Palestinian.” Hashem was told that the school wouldn’t be renewing her contract, the lawsuit says. She is asking the school to reinstate her and is seeking damages.


c. Teacher personal rights and responsibilities

The lawsuit, which was filed by the ACLU in Ohio, involves a former teacher, Keith Allison, who alleges he was fired by Green Local School District (GLSD) because of a message he posted on Facebook on his own time and off of school grounds. The post was made in the Summer of 2014, and urged readers to choose plant-based milk over cow’s milk. The post showed a picture of a young calf in a small crate and said: "The cruelty of separation, loneliness, and infant slaughter lingers inside each glass of cow’s milk. Your voice can help change the system. You don’t have to support this. Plant-based milks are everywhere and are delicious."

Turns out that the community GLSD serves is heavily populated with dairy farmers. Allison’s post even said “This place is five miles from my house.” Allison’s supervisor allegedly called him in after the school year began and said that teachers like himself needed to take care not to offend the agricultural community. His pay was cut, and then at the end of the year his contract was not renewed. Although he was later hired for a different position, Allison says the new position was not as good as the old, and that he feels now he must censor his speech to avoid further retaliation by GLSD.

Those who read the blog know that a public school district that disciplines or terminates an employee for off-campus, online speech has to contend with the First Amendment. Teachers and other school employees do not shed their free speech rights simply by being hired by a public school. To survive a First Amendment challenge, a school district will need to show one of the following three things: 1. That the employee was speaking as a public employee, not a private citizen; 2. That the employee was speaking on a matter of purely private concern, not public concern; or 3. That the employer’s interest in an efficient, disruption-free workplace environment outweighs the employee’s right to speak freely on the issue.

Here, there is really no question that Allison, who was speaking on his own time and not in any manner that was compelled by his position, was speaking as a private citizen. Similarly, animal rights and the other fundamentals of veganism are matters of concern to the public, not just petty gripes or other concerns relevant only to the speaker. So this case will likely hinge on whether GLSD is able to show that its interest in an efficient, disruption-free workplace outweighs the Allison’s right to speak freely about veganism.

The unique nature of the locality, which contains a large number of dairy farmers, might weigh in the school district’s favor on that issue. Typically a “heckler’s veto”—mere disagreement by the community with a speaker’s viewpoint—is not enough. If the school district can show that community members responded to Allison’s speech in a manner that disrupted the school district, though, that might help tip the scales in favor of their decision. Maybe there was some concern by community members who lived near Allison’s home that they were being singled out or threatened by that comment about the crate being “five miles” from Allison’s home? But this case is an important reminder of how local issues can come into play when dealing with online speech by teachers.

Most courts now hold that teachers cannot be dismissed for private conduct simply because it is contrary to the mores of a community. Thus the fact that a teacher had done something some people regard as immoral is not by itself sufficient grounds for dismissal in most states. For such a teacher to be dismissed, there must be substantial evidence that the alleged immorality is likely to have a negative effect on his or her teaching. As long as a teacher's competence is unaffected, most courts hold that private behavior is a teacher's own business. In addition, some judges are applying the new constitutional "right to privacy" to protect some aspects of a teacher's personal behavior. His comments were not made as a teacher and constitute protected speech. Nevertheless, most courts recognize that teachers should not be penalized for their private behavior unless there is a nexus or direct connection between their behavior and their effectiveness as educators. According to Connick, a teacher's statement that matters public concern can be dismissed when they relate to any matter of political, social, or other concerns to the community. Whether a statement is a matter of public concern also depends on its content, form, and context.

SOURCES: Teachers and the Law by David Schimmel, Leslie R. Stellman, Cynthia K Conlon, and Louis Fischer

2. Teacher Actions

Teachers have a responsibility to meet the high standards of professional and ethical behavior required by the department, the public, parents and the profession itself. Teachers undertake this responsibility within the framework of the law and lawful instructions from the employer.

Tenure is a status granted to teachers that protects them from dismissal except for reason of incompetence, gross misconduct, or financial necessity. Tenure is intended to protect educators' freedom to pursue their interests without being hindered by public perceptions or opinions about their activities. A tenured teacher can't be dismissed without a lengthy administrative process involving evaluations, hearings, and appeals. The system is intentionally slow-moving and complicated in order to prevent school boards and parents from firing a teacher for personal or political reasons.

Tenure is increasingly the subject of criticism as concerns about under-performing teachers have risen to the forefront of the country's discussion about the quality of education in American schools. This same period has been one of increasing economic difficulty for school districts and costly firing procedures have also been disfavored for purely economic reasons. Assuming all proper procedures are followed, a teacher may be dismissed for incompetence, dereliction of duty, immoral conduct, conviction of a crime, insubordination, fraud, and other such reasons.

Teachers have the same basic rights as others -- such as the right to be free from discrimination based on race, sex, and national origin -- as well as the right to academic freedom to teach without undue restrictions on content or subject matter. Educators, like other employees, also have the right to collectively bargain through teachers’ unions.Teachers have several rights and protections that are both common to all employees (such as protections from age and pregnancy discrimination) and specific to the teaching profession (academic freedom).

Public school teachers are protected from discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and national origin by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Teachers also are protected from discrimination by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, adding color and religion to the list of protected classes, amended in 1972 to include educational institutions. In addition, the Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace (which includes educational institutions).

Teachers must stick to the curriculum, but are guaranteed certain freedoms from undue restrictions on content or discussions. But while these freedoms are rooted in the First Amendment, teachers may not promote any particular personal or political agenda.

The U.S. Supreme Court determined in 1968 that teachers have a constitutionally guaranteed right to speak on issues of public importance in a case involving a teacher who was fired for criticizing his employer in a newspaper editorial. However, this speech may not material disrupt the educational environment or adversely affect working relationships.

Also, teachers may freely associate and form professional organizations and labor unions. However, the rights of teacher unions to collectively bargain has been undermined by some state governments.

Assuming all proper procedures are followed, a teacher may be dismissed for incompetence, dereliction of duty, immoral conduct, conviction of a crime, insubordination, fraud, and other such reasons.

No matter why you’ve been fired, odds are you played some role. Once you take responsibility, it’s easier to get past the anger and onto the next thing. Getting fired helps someone see beyond what they wanted to see, and accept the situation as it truly was. When you accept fact over fiction, you can begin healing from the experience. It’s that saying of “you’re not a human doing, you’re a human being.” Learning to value the being part of yourself not only puts you in deeper relationship with yourself, it also helps you appreciate the other “beings” in your life. Getting a fresh start may sound cliche, but it’s true. Having to leave the familiar stretches you to reevaluate what you really want and gives you the freedom to go for it. Do-overs can re-energize you and give a much-needed shake up to other areas of your life. Getting fired hurts, regardless of the circumstances. But as with most everything in life, it can be an opportunity. You can’t un-fire yourself, but you can choose your experience of being fired. You can find the blessings in the beast.

If you were fired or dismissed for a reason, give yourself time to ponder over it. If you think it was your fault or mistake in the first place, allow yourself to change for the better. It would be hard on your end to carry the same attitude to another working environment and end up being fired again. Thus, it is important to contemplate and figure out areas where you can improve, and discover how you can change it.



Teachers can show they value students’ lives and identities in a variety of ways. Some are small, like taking the time to learn the proper pronunciation of every student’s name or getting to know young people’s families. Others require more time and investment, like building curriculum around personal narratives or incorporating identity-based responses into the study of texts. At the community level, it is important to understand neighborhood demographics, strengths, concerns, conflicts and challenges. Like students themselves, these dynamics may change frequently.

Honoring student experience supports three of the four anti-bias domains: Identity, Diversity and Action. Students who feel their experiences are unwelcome, judged, stereotyped, disrespected or invisible find it extremely difficult to engage in meaningful discussion of identity and justice issues. Those whose stories and voices are heard and reflected in the classroom are more likely to engage with anti-bias curriculum and translate their learning into action

A strategy such as classroom-reflective texts coupled with nonjudgmental dialogue helps consider individual differences. Choosing texts that reflect classroom demographics and following the readings with discussions or reflective writing assignments can provide teachers with powerful information about their students’ hopes, concerns, strengths and life circumstances. These practices also open channels of understanding among students. Successful conversations about issues of identity frequently lead to deeper dialogue about students’ own backgrounds and the experiences of others.

Shared inquiry and dialogue support two of the four anti-bias domains: Diversity and Action. Building the skills necessary to explore multiple perspectives fosters critical thinking, complex textual understanding and appreciation for diversity. Dialogue also supports active listening, respectful sharing and conflict resolution. A culture of shared inquiry offers a lived example of meaningful collaborative work and a model for community building.

Taking a values-based approach to behavior management and discipline supports one of the four anti-bias domains: Justice. This practice exposes students to community-building goals and to a system of justice that values all people and builds connections rather than creates divisions. Restorative justice is an approach to school discipline (and criminal justice) that emphasizes repairing harm and restoring relationships rather than simply punishing those who have engaged in misconduct. Restorative justice spans a wide variety of practices and strategies, including peacemaking circles, peer jury processes, mediation, conferencing and classroom discussions focused on building empathy.



A number of lawsuits have risen from education institutions. Teachers and students are suing their schools actions against social media use, claiming that their first amendment rights were violated. The first amendment, as defined by the US Constitution, states the following protections under Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

FERPA: This law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. It is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records (Rodriguez, 2011). Considering privacy and security on the Internet and through technology, there are many methods that a students’ personal identifiable content may be reveled. While most of the act provides clarity with parental and guardian communication with the institution, it also calls attention to faculty who have certain information on students.

Faculty should not post confidential information about students through social media platforms, nor should curriculum using social media tools require students revile such content. If in question, written permission may need to be obtained. Adding to complication, is understanding and adherence to copyright requirements.

Examples of situations affected by FERPA include school employees divulging information to anyone other than the student about the student's grades or behavior, and graded school work being posted on a physical bulletin board. In the digital world, this implies that we are not to post grades or comment about a student's grades on Facebook, Twitter, a blog, a discussion forum, or any other social media property where others could see that grade

The U.S. Copyright Act: Another reason that higher education institutions may waver at utilizing social media communication tools is to protect intellectual property. This is being challenged from digital technologies, both from the originator and those that are interested in using an original works in the classroom (Rodriguez, 2011). Best practices for educators is to always give credit to original sources, as well as having an understand of both copyright and digital millennium copyright acts.

Copyright protects original works in a variety of mediums, from literary, movies, music, and architecture. As found in the 17 US code, section 104, copyright also covers unpublished and published works. This would fall under faculty use of social media tools, to place original works. Section 107 of the code also provides limits on exclusive rights for educational works. Since faculty and possibly even higher education administrators fall under this educational works, they usually will be protected for usage. Digital ‘copies’ however are making it more challenging considering perfect copies are more shareable (Rodriguez, 2011).

SOURCES: Rodriguez, J. (2011). Social media use in higher education: key areas to consider for educators. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(4), 1-12.

5. Student Benefits

The growth of a student, both academically and personally, reflects not only the educational programs and goals of the district, but also the atmosphere in which the student attends school. To the extent possible, the district is committed to providing an educational setting where the students feel safe, are challenged to grow academically and personally, are treated with respect by the district personnel and other students, and are disciplined fairly by district personnel.

Ensuring student success in schools means holding teachers and other staff accountable for quality work directly impacting student achievement. Identification of root causes for lack of student success and aggressive interventions to address areas of weakness must be implemented. Use of research-based practices in all key areas of instruction, leadership and school operation should be evident in schools aiming for high levels of student success. Innovation and creativity are not only encouraged but celebrated.

FALL 2012

Accountability Needed Today for Success Tomorrow


Seven Levels of Accountability for Student Success

By Sharon Riley Ordu, Ed.D. and P. Augustine Ordu, Ph.D.

With No Child Left Behind (NCLB) off the table for at least 32 states in the U.S., accountability measures will be left to states and local school systems. NCLB has been clear about closing achievement gaps between groups of students considered at risk. To ensure that there is an ongoing focus on school improvement, accountability should continue to be rigorous and focused on achievement gaps along with whole school improvement.

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With No Child Left Behind (NCLB) off the table for at least 32 states in the U.S., accountability measures will be left to states and local school systems. NCLB has been clear about closing achievement gaps between groups of students considered at risk. To ensure that there is an ongoing focus on school improvement, accountability should continue to be rigorous and focused on achievement gaps along with whole school improvement.

Clear accountability systems have to be in place at seven different levels to ensure student success now and in the future. Goals, beliefs, values, visions and actions must be aligned similar to what one may find in a balanced scorecard. If these things are not operating in tandem, then the system may be doomed to fail.

The seven levels of accountability for student success are: 1) state; 2) school system; 3) school; 4) principal; 5) teachers; 6) parents; and 7) students.


All states should have a strong plan in place to measure accountability. Out of the 32 states approved for No Child Left Behind waivers, eight states have a conditional waiver, meaning they have not yet satisfied the Obama administration’s requirements for a new principal/teacher evaluation system, incorporation of College and Career Readiness Standards and other stipulations. If these states are granted waivers, it is imperative that they have a plan in place so that all educators, parents, students and other stakeholders understand how schools will be monitored and what criteria will be used to determine school improvement.

Many of the states that have received No Child Left Behind waivers have developed impressive accountability plans.

According to the Kentucky Department of Education, their new accountability model is a more robust – next generation model that holds all schools and school systems accountable for improving student performance and creates four performance classifications that determine consequences and guide interventions and supports. School and system classifications are based on the following measures: 1) Achievement (Content Areas are reading, mathematics, science, social studies and writing.); 2) Gap (percentage of proficient and distinguished) for the Non-Duplicated Gap Group for all five content areas; 3) Growth in reading and mathematics (percentage of students at typical or higher levels of growth); 4) College Readiness as measured by the percentage of students meeting benchmarks in three content areas on EXPLORE at middle school; 5) College/Career-Readiness Rate as measured by ACT benchmarks, college placement tests and career measures and 6) Graduation Rate.


For school systems located in states where NCLB is still active, the accountability standards remain the same: required scores in key subject areas, test participation rates at 95 percent, attendance, graduation rates and adequate performance of special populations such as disadvantaged students and students with disabilities. What will be the accountability of school systems in states with waivers? The measures should certainly be well aligned to the state accountability plan components that we monitor and hold systems accountable for. In many cases, the new accountability measures growth over a period of time. Superintendents, boards of education and school system leaders will need to be visionary, progressive thinkers who are well versed about what is happening around the country and how to keep their school system on the cutting-edge of transformation.

A strong strategic plan that communicates the school system vision, mission, goals, beliefs, values and objectives should be transparent for all to see. The metrics embedded in it should communicate what the system is holding itself accountable for. There has to be a whole school system focus on building a culture of continuous improvement.

Curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional learning are critical success indicators for school systems. All levels of system operation have to link back to improvement of student achievement. High expectations must be in place for school system leaders, principals, teachers, students and their parents.


An important question for a school to ask: “How do we know if our students are successful and what actions will we take if they are not?” Schools with an answer to this question and an accountability plan in place will have the greatest level of success. Generally, the school improvement plan is the accountability plan for the school. It outlines the same components one would find in a school system strategic plan; it is clear about the actions that will take place to address the question posed earlier. There should be an action plan for improving each content area based on current school realities or baseline data from the most recent school assessments; a professional development plan aligned to the action plans; a technology plan; a plan for improving student attendance and parent involvement; and a plan that outlines how data will be utilized, analyzed and interpreted.

Ensuring student success in schools means holding teachers and other staff accountable for quality work directly impacting student achievement. Identification of root causes for lack of student success and aggressive interventions to address areas of weakness must be implemented. Use of research-based practices in all key areas of instruction, leadership and school operation should be evident in schools aiming for high levels of student success. Innovation and creativity are not only encouraged but celebrated.


It is often said that principals must be strong instructional leaders. That is only part of what principals should know and be able to do. They also must be change agents, capable of dealing with vast ambiguities; human relations gurus; school culture shapers; savvy budget administrators; and outstanding performance managers. If principals are knowledgeable, courageous and willing to hold everyone accountable for keeping their students at the center of everything they do, success is bound to follow.

An effective principal is needed in every school building of a school system striving for excellence in education. These principals understand the complexity of their position, perform duties and responsibilities at a high level, and are able to multi-task, fitting all of the interconnected pieces of school life together for the good of their students. They are results-driven and accept no excuses from anyone. Success is the only option and mediocrity is simply not acceptable in a school run by a strong leader.

Many states have new leader accountability instruments that will be used to evaluate system and building level leaders. Principals operating at the proficient to exemplary level of these accountability systems will have the most positive impact on student achievement.


Research is clear about the damage an ineffective teacher can do. It can take years of instruction with an effective teacher to turn that damage around. Schools and school systems will need a laser-like focus on building the capacity of teachers through strong induction programs, job-embedded professional learning, support for implementation of the new Common Core Performance Standards with accompanying assessments and teacher evaluation programs linked to student achievement outcomes. Teaching children at a high level of proficiency should be the core work of every teacher.

All teachers should continue to be highly qualified to teach the subjects and grade levels they are assigned. Use of varied instructional strategies, effective assessment techniques, data utilization and integration of technology are a given for teachers who want their students to be successful. Teachers should be held accountable; however, their success begins with holding students accountable for learning what is taught.



Created By
Angela Moore

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