Where Have the Good People Gone?

Earlier today, my daughter–who has two educator parents, one grandparent–left this comment on the video above via Facebook:

But that’s the point. Her job would have been gone. She never would have had the opportunity to get her job back. With a good point – she’s a teacher, and needs to hold herself to a higher standard. But he gets to run for mayor. Just as many children and adults even would look up to him. Yet, we don’t hold our politicians to the same standards as our teachers? Come on.

She then pointed out the following:

At the absolute least, the internet is not a “private” playground, yet many people treat it as such. While I don’t think that we should be dictating the moral behavior of teachers (since it is an arbitrary issue) I do think that it is the responsibility of teachers to represent the concept of a good digital citizen, to help students learn how to act online in a way that will hopefully not negatively affect their future. 

If they choose to act differently, that’s up to them, but at least they were introduced to the right example first. To be clear, the “right” example in my opinion is that nothing of the more private nature or language that many people would agree kids shouldn’t hear is not revealed to them by teachers. This does not mean teachers being saints online but being educated enough to relegate their settings and act in a way relative to those settings. For example: no privacy settings means anybody can read your profile and you should probably tread carefully. Strong privacy settings give you exactly that, and thus more freedom. 

Image Source: http://www.ccriley.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/NotUsed-GoodPeople.jpg

My point is that behavior online does matter as much as offline behavior and it’s going to continue to in the future. I don’t care that this guy was sexting because that is his business. When I heard what happened, I was disappointed that he wasn’t able to properly navigate online. Especially as a public figure. 

There is a major disparity here: a teacher could get fired for inappropriate behavior online (inappropriate being defined as we go along it seems) but this man acted in a way that is definitely considered inappropriate by many but is here, running. And I don’t think that’s fair to the many teachers who monitor their online behavior because they wish to be excellent example for their students, yet are and have been slammed as soon as they step out of line.

I’m not in favor of people sexting, but I’m not going to say they can’t, or condemn them for it. My issue is that he got caught, because of his own mistake (and really, the use of the internet for this sorry that’s just not what I consider to be a smart choice) and it’s less about the fact that he can still run for public office but that teachers do not have as loose of a punishing term. They don’t get to campaign for their job back, but instead are often told no by a small group of people who get to choose what was so bad about their behavior. 

Shared in the conversation are these resources:

To these, I can add this resource, Forbidden Fruit: Social Media in K-12:

Source: http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/forbidden-fruit_5736.jpg

What do I think about it? I doubt I can be as eloquent as my 19-year old daughter. Simply, I see debates about politicians a waste of time. Most will say or do whatever it takes to get your vote then turn around and do something else. That kind of behavior is unimaginable for a teacher to do to a child…not living up to a promise would be devastating.

In this particular case, the question is, should this politician get a job that involves supervising others, keeping them on the straight and narrow when he has been unable to do so himself? While his life experiences are certainly relevant, my response is that I wouldn’t vote for him. Worse than the sexting with consenting adults is the lies he told his constituency when they asked him about it. A honest crook remains a crook with integrity. A lying one is something altogether worse.

But those are judgments I am loathe to make of anyone. Instead let us ask why this candidate didn’t have politicians of sterling character to run against him, who could marshal the support from the honest moderates in both parties?

Where have the good people gone?

Where have all the good people gone? Time’s up and we’re running long Where have all the good people gone?


Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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