… that about half the population will vote for about anything: the Miami-Dade County School Board voted 5-4 to fire six teachers and accept the resignations of 26 others. The teachers in question had all paid to obtain continuing education credits, rather than taking actual courses, and then lied about the credits by representing them as legitimate. Why this kind of vote comes down to a 5-4 split, I do not know. One of the dissenters is quoted, saying it “baffles” her why this should interfere with classroom education (presumably in the classrooms of the teachers who lost their jobs). I don’t see how it can’t. If the state department of education or local school board deems to impose continuing education requirements, allowing teachers who have committed fraud to meet those requirements to keep their jobs undermines the entire teacher accreditation system and sends a very bad message to students: “Lie, pad your resume, disobey your supervisors, and get ahead.” As it is, the message is pretty mixed. Granted, the real worth of these credits is highly debatable, and I for one doubt that worth is very high, but it’s a question of principles.
The moral: throw out almost any idea, whether it’s a proposal to fire teachers, a method of interpreting the Constitution, or a plan for war, and 40-50% of any relevant group of people (school board members, voters, etc.) will back it, at least initially. Throw in a slick presentation and good campaigning or lobbying, and you just might have a winner.