Overhype

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
censorship, cyberbully, teachers

Companies:
ratemyteacher, youtube



UK Teachers Union Demands YouTube And RateMyTeacher Be Shut Down

from the censorship-to-beat-cyberbullying? dept

Back in May, we wrote about teachers in the UK demanding that "something must be done" about cyberbullying of teachers. It appears that teachers have had enough of the various online pranks and tricks that kids pull on teachers. However, as we pointed out at the time, the "something must be done" cry seems pretty pointless. Kids are always going to find ways to bully each other and teachers, and there's no magic bullet solution. Apparently, the teachers missed that lesson, because they're back with actual suggestions on what can be done. Dave writes in to let us know that a teacher's union in the UK (apparently one of many) has adopted a resolution asking for a ban on sites used for cyberbullying. Reading the details of the resolution shows the only two sites they name are YouTube and RateMyTeacher.com -- both of which have many perfectly legitimate uses and where cyberbullying takes up a tiny fraction of their usage. More importantly, however, shutting down these sites will have absolutely no impact on bullying -- except perhaps encouraging the kids to turn it up a notch, knowing that their tactics have had the desired impact. There are nearly infinite outlets for the cyberbullying to take place, and shutting down one will simply encourage kids to use a different method of cyberbullying. It seems highly unlikely that the teachers will get their way, but it's nice (ok, more like troublesome) to know that a bunch of teachers seem to think that the best way to deal with problems between people is censorship and blaming the tool involved.

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  1. identicon
    Michael Hussey, 5 Aug 2007 @ 6:39am

    RateMyTeachers, Teacher Unions, and the UK

    I've commented on this at my blog...thanks for picking up the story.

    Do not believe the excuses being put forward by the teacher unions — demanding internet censors protect teachers from cyber-bullying? RateMyTeachers is at the forefront of protecting teachers online and it promotes the best and most effective among them. Since our inception, RateMyTeachers has instituted rating rules that protect teachers from any such thing. Any rating that crosses these rules is removed without question. A moderating force of over 5000 individuals is constantly on the look-out for any ratings which do not meet standards. Every rating is reviewed before it is posted live on the website.

    See for yourself: http://www.ratemyteachers.com/info.php?type=RateRules

    A tyrant demands absolute control and is the first to censor that which threatens its power. Teacher unions recognize the threat websites like RateMyTeachers pose to their monopoly and use “cyber-bullying” as an excuse to enact censorship. The fact is, not all teachers are created equal and RateMyTeachers is making this plainly obvious to anyone with an interest in the system (parents, students, administrators, taxpayers). Despite any rhetoric to the contrary, teacher unions by their very nature view every teacher as a cog in a great big education machine. Teacher contracts are negotiated so that every teacher, good or bad, is treated the same. Teachers who opt out of paying union dues are punished even though they are required by law to accept the union negotiated contracts. Tenure tracks ensure that horrible teachers will waste students’ time and taxpayers’ money; and in some cases, a bad teacher can seriously harm the education and mental development of a child. Pointing out to the public which teachers are creating an environment for learning (as most teachers are successfully doing) and which teachers are failing in that mission (a small minority), leads people to question a system that restricts choices.

    The point issue, which the press always ignores, is that any pressure to allow school or teacher choice threatens the teacher union’s power. For a tyrant, choice is something that must be avoided at all costs - and censorship is always on the table when losing power is at stake.

    The United Kingdom stands at a cross-road. By allowing their citizens to access to websites and servers outside of their borders, they have unwittingly granted incredible new freedoms to their citizenry, the implications of which were not foreseen. This freedom threatens many of the institutions which prop up the State apparatus and rumblings like this are not at all surprising. The choice at hand is between protecting citizen’s rights to access information freely – or to look to China for inspiration in controlling its people and the information they may consume. Sadly, considering the recent rhetoric ringing through the highest levels of the UK government, I would not be shocked to see the UK look east for inspiration.

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