Foreign Teachers Try To Censor U.S. Website

A group of angry teachers in New South Wales, Australia are trying to have a U.S.-based website shut down due to “defamatory comments”. The sight in question, RateMyTeachers.com, is a ratings sight where students can come and post online ratings of their professors and teachers. The understood purpose of the sight is to guide students (who have a choice in such things) away from bad professors and teachers.

As one can imagine, the language on the site is often defamatory to most teachers, and most, if not all teachers, have at least a few unflattering remarks posted about them. Roslynne Moxham, a principal at Sydney’s Fort Street High School had the following posted about her on the sight:

“Who could allow someone like her to run a school? I love Fort Street High School; it is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but Ms. Moxham is a terrible principal. She is a bully who does not care about the students or the school’s well-being, but rather how [the students] appear to the outside world.”

The NSW Department of Education is legally unable to pursue shutting the sight down due to the sight being run from America, but it has blocked all access to the sight from all computers within the school district. While officials in New South Wales weigh options as to how to proceed against the sight, many teachers are outraged about having negative comments posted about them on the popular website.

Maree O’Halloran, the NSW Teacher’s Federation president calls the comments “atrocious”. “It is clearly an absolute disgrace that people are anonymously able to make comments about teachers…” she says.

My Two Cents:
The funny thing about this story is the fact that these teachers are all in an uproar over something that has been going on since the dawn of public education. Students rebel against teachers, it’s what they do. They test the limits, talk behind their backs, and in today’s tech-savvy world, post nasty little comments on websites like RateMyTeacher.com. Teachers, for the most part, shrug it off and go on, but for some reason, the teachers in the New South Wales public school system are outraged at the thought of their students having “negative” and “atrocious” thoughts towards them. Seriously, it’s not like they’re planning a school attack or anything, yet the administration from the top down has not only blocked the sights from the entire district, they’re seeking to censure an American run sight to assuage the bruised egos of underachieving teachers. There are multiple sister sights operating here in the U.S. Many have been online for years without so much as a peep from any school district about their existence. So what’s the major difference here? Perhaps its the fact that Australian teachers and school administrators are finally seeing what us Americans have known for a long time: crappy teachers abound in droves.

a:\>ice9.exe

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~ by Deuce on May 3, 2007.

2 Responses to “Foreign Teachers Try To Censor U.S. Website”

  1. The funny thing is that crappy reviewers are also around in droves.

    One sees daily the low respect with which US teachers are held, through their depiction on sitcoms, their low pay, poor resources and poor conditions, and now people like you think it is OK for them to be attacked and denigrated in front of the world by students who can say anything that takes their fancy on a web site. I do wonder about a culture that finds it OK to denigrate those who teach the next generation.

    Now this might be OK in the States, but the major employer of teachers here in Australia obviously cares enough about its staff to block this site. They also have rigorous systems to monitor teacher performance and act on complaints; where student and teachers are dealt-with privately and respectfully. If a student ain’t happy with their teacher, then have the guts to make a formal complaint and get it sorted.

    BTW I am a Cheltenham GIrls High – Old GIrl, and Ms Moxham (so horridly denigrated by the site being reviewed) was regarded generally by us as one of the most dedicated, talented and inspirational teachers at the school (fortunately there were many great teachers there). She was tough, but the results that she achieved by mentoring and developing musical talent within the girls of our school was outstanding. It is easy to see that her Leadership skills have lead her to be the principal at one of Sydney’s top Highschools. Ms M has fairly thick skin, it is the teachers that don’t that I am concerned about, I think teachers have enough bagging to deal with already. I fail to see the humour in a teacher leaving the practice due to the website to even the tiniest degree.

  2. As an Australian, I have the exact opposite perspective on this… Aussie teachers trying to “shut down” a foreign website. And you know, from here these teachers’ actions are just as ridiculous.

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