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05/11/2014 - Brendan
One practical way to enhance this process is to enable and support human resources to modernize and become part of the teacher recruitment/evaluation process. Currently for many schools 'true' HR has been externalized and schools can become too rushed to make recruitment decisions at a fair. Professional HR services will make the process accountable to a different set of policy and possibly agreed upon international standards as mentioned by Duncan below.
As for " all references to be confidential in nature and to be authored by former employers and supervisors—not friends and colleagues." I do not believe hindering transparency encourages any long term growth. If schools are doing a good job of teacher evaluation then references should clearly reflect this contribution and be based on merit rather than hearsay. Transparency is often hard to face but the cost is worse. I wouldn't hide a report card from a student, rather I'd use it in the spirit of self growth.
05/04/2014 - Travis
I have known of a few cases where an administrator or teacher appeared to have been blacklisted in their home state, so they came overseas.
It is difficult to expect schools to completely vet teachers and administrators coming from all corners of the world, or even just 50 different states. In NZ and Canada, the teachers' unions play a large part in keeping bad teachers and administrators out of the system.
To me it makes sense to have a professional association police our profession overseas. However, a union couldn't do the job for us, because that would run afoul of laws in many countries.
05/02/2014 - Bonnie Lindgren
Thank you for this reflective article, Paul and for the links to resources. It is past time to halt the practice of passing along poor educators to become someone else's problem. Whether from a desire for a short-term fix to an immediate problem, or an optimistic hope that a different school would be a better fit, the practice hurts us all. Some sort of full disclosure is needed for the well-being of our schools and of the children we serve.
05/01/2014 - Coach Irvin
Thank you for the both informational/educational and reflective nature of your article. Yesterday I was on a special committee to review all of our schools practices, policies, and preventative measures as they relate to child protection (meeting 1 of many more to come). While there is always room for improvement in these areas it is not to say that despite the recent findings in the international school scene being VERY close to home that the issue of child protection should consume or dominate the character of a school.
All schools should be taking a reflective look at their practices with this issue and continue on at making their school better overall, keeping educating their children in the forefront.
04/30/2014 - Tom Hall
As a retired international teacher/administrator, I am most sadden that a very small number of our colleagues have taken advantage of those children for whom they have been entrusted with and responsible for. Such actions of a few have imprinted a stain on all of us.
Much like our international school community, child molestations around the world have unknowingly been occurring years before these crimes surfaced so unexpectedly. The scope and depth of these crimes and the ages of the victims has made this situation so shocking and unbelievable.
Local athletic teams, churches and schools have harbored those I once called friends, respected and admired the contributions they made to their students, schools and communities. This has what made the revelations of their crimes against innocent and unsuspecting children stun and shock me so. I am sure my professional colleagues and friends around the world share these same feelings as well as sorrow for the victims and their families.
The task that we now have before us is to take the necessary steps and strongly enforce them so that our children can be made as safe as is humanly possible.
To be successful, this must be a community endeavor that involves all stakeholders.
04/29/2014 - sister2om
An excellent article and contribution. Thank you Paul.
04/29/2014 - Duncan Partridge
I believe there is a need to develop an International Schools Child Protection Charter or Code of Practice. This would draw on best practices from around the world and encompass aspects such as: background checks, child protection training for staff, procedures for reporting suspected abuse etc.
Accreditation could be given to schools which demonstrate evidence of complying with the standards outlined in such a charter, thereby giving parents peace of mind that the school is doing everything in its power to provide a safe environment for its students.
International Education Consultant
04/29/2014 - Paddy
Thank you for a very good article. I don't know what hebophilia but shall look it up. I think we are seduced by people who are wealthy & influential and often ignore our own intuitive feelings that nature has provided us with when we feel that something is not "quiet right" , is this something that is being erased from us humans that we do not trust our own judgement?
I believe too that laziness & greed can account for much our problems. As well as having to be right & cover up when things aren't , getting away with cheating & lying doesn't do one a favor.
Lastly, the seems to be no place where educators who fear that they are loosing it (sexually, morally, or whatever addiction ) can go for help before things get really out of control.
I was involved in an International school for years and do believe that many , many children received an excellent education across the board, from many dedicated & interested educators, I think that students even learned something from the oddball and flawed character.
04/28/2014 - juanasf
Words of wisdom!