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Letter: Justifiable Coaching?

The situation in the Glen Cove School District is disturbing for everyone.


When the dust clears however, there might be some fallout that is unforeseen at this moment. 

From my limited perspective, the press, the DA, and the public are presently failing to immediately recognize and/or consider what could very well be a problem not yet fully identified and one that is universal and systemic throughout public education circles in New York.

Teachers might be faced with unrealistic quantitative academic achievement goals for their students. I’m not sure whether they have the full capability of controlling or adjusting any of what is mandated for them. If not, it is not unlikely then that a few teachers anywhere, and perhaps others in similar situations, will inevitably see it necessary for career stability to compromise their individual levels of honesty, integrity, and ethical standards in order to be rated as having achieved the numbers expected of them.

Maybe some teachers are in untenable positions? There has been a phenomenon in recent years where teachers and others in both private and public sector careers are literally forced by the duress and pressures of their supervisors to perform at both quantitative and qualitative levels of pre-determined “productivity” without consideration being given to how circumstances and events at different times can influence the final outcomes. 

In the Glen Cove instance, where these few teachers might now be seen as knowingly, willfully, intentionally, and, deliberately conspiring with one another, their general-justification defense might take into consideration that they did so for the specific and sole purpose of avoiding what they might have foreseen to be an even greater evil, to wit, the ultimate destruction of teaching careers per se and/or having students somehow stigmatized or publicly identified as underachievers.


Robert N. Pemberton