Success!! But We’re Not Done Yet

July 13, 2017


..On July 12th, the world-wide web came together to defend Net Neutrality, a law that protects the internet from big corporate greed & censorship.

..By the end of the day the US Congress had received more than 3 million emails & 100,000 phone calls in support of keeping current Net Neutrality laws as they are. More than 1.7 million comments are also on their way to the FCC  – Federal Communications Commission. This is a new record for a single day so comments are being sent in batches so as not to crash the slow FCC servers.

..Google, Facebook, YouTube, Expedia, Yelp, Netflix, GitHub, Bit Torrent, Spotify & many more mega-sites rallied their users to participate in action to save the internet. See how they participated

..But the internet is not saved yet! There’s more to be done. If you haven’t signed a petition to keep the internet open & free from corporate greed & censorship, please do so now.  We can’t allow big business to turn the internet into a “pay-to-play” scenario such as cable TV. Sign Petition

..Imagine a world in which AT&T, Comcast & Version tell Google & Facebook what they can/cannot put on the web & tell YOU what you can/cannot see and/or do on the web. Sign Petition

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Join Google, Facebook and Millions More in the Fight to Save the Internet

July 12, 2017


..The new American FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai is planning to destroy the internet by giving big cable companies immense control over what we see and do online. He will accomplish this by removing current Net Neutrality laws which keep the internet open and free.

If this ex-Verizon lawyer gets his way, companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T will have the power to slow down, censor or block websites they don’t like and charge apps and web sites extra fees to reach their audience. We can stop this from happening!

Sign the Petition to Save the Internet from Corporate Greed

Today, July 12, millions of web sites, Internet users and online communities around the world are coming together to protest the FCC’s attack on Net Neutrality. You can participate!

Google, Facebook, Spotify, Dropbox and many, many more mega-sites announced they will rally their millions of users to ..make this day the largest protest in history.

Sign the Petition to Save the Internet from Corporate Greed

If we lose Net Neutrality, we could soon face a censored Internet where some of your favorite websites are forced into a slow-lane online or removed altogether, while deep-pocketed companies who can afford expensive new “prioritization” will get fast-lane priority.

Sign the Petition to Save the Internet from Corporate Greed


Human Rights Vs. The Rights of International Teachers

May 11, 2017


An Open Letter to ISR

Dear ISR, I’m writing in regards to the International Educators’ Bill of Rights mentioned in your article, Don’t Bring Me Down. I fail to see how the Bill of Rights can be applied to all schools, worldwide, especially when some schools are located in countries with very different ideas about “rights” than we in the West.

Human rights, including employment rights, are determined by the laws of the country in which you reside and teach, and they are not all the same. For example, there is an Arab charter on human rights, which has its own interpretations on racism, and an Asian version on human rights, where, for example, ‘individuals must put the state’s rights before their own’. How would it be possible for an International Educators’ Bill of Rights to supersede such documents?

For me as a westerner living in the middle east, I find Arabic values incomprehensible and totally incompatible with my education and upbringing; there is a gulf between myself and management which cannot be bridged. As a fourteen-year-old studying history I learned how ‘nepotism’ was a terrible evil. I still think that way. Yet, in my present adopted country, this is the only way to get promoted; experience appears to count for very little.

I feel what might be more useful than the International Educators’ Bill of Rights is if recruiting agencies would require schools to provide realistic information on the culture surrounding each school. This could include such info as the country’s basic laws and regulations, and the area’s overall approach to human rights. How is their treatment of children, of foreigners, the disabled, females, the extremely poor and the uber rich? The info should also include the make-up of each schools’ ownership and management, thereby getting a much clearer picture of the mindset of who you’ll be working for on a day-to-day basis.

For example:  A school organized and managed by the American Embassy school would be noted as such and considered to be run by an American administration. A school owned by a host-national and administered by a host-national director/principal would be designated as such. In this way teachers could understand in advance what sort of experience they were signing on for, not to stereotype schools or countries, but as a good start to knowing if a school is the right choice for you.

I find the International Educators’ Bill of Rights a wonderful document. I am, however, not convinced it’s applicable to all schools in all locations around the world.

ISR Response. We agree that individual countries have their own specific code for Human Rights, including employment rights. We do feel, however, that no educator goes overseas with the intent to be taken advantage of under provisions set forth by law, or through loopholes in a country’s laws.

ISR considers an International School that hires staff from Western countries to be an island unto itself,
and as such, will treat their educators as would a school in the West. ISR feels strongly that a school which cannot, or will not, stick to the basic principles of the International Educators’ Bill of Rights is a school to be avoided.

ISR asks: What is YOUR opinion on this topic?

*************************************

ISR Note:
This blog was high jacked by a person with a personal agenda. We have removed all comments from this blog.  We apologize to those contributors whose comments were in earnest and on topic.  Posting is open and we invite you to contribute to the topic.


Admin w/ Fake Credentials

April 13, 2017

..If you’ve ever suspected your School Director or Principal hadn’t actually earned the degrees and credentials prominently displayed on their office wall, you’re not alone. When journalism students at Pittsburgh High School (Kansas, USA) decided to look into the background of their new Head of School, Amy Robertson, their suspicions proved legitimate. Miss Robertson, who had spent the past 19 years involved in International Education in the UAE, joined Pittsburgh High School in early 2017.

.. The journalism class began investigation into Miss Robertson by looking at her advanced degrees and credentials. Her Master’s degree and PhD were both from Corllins University. The students soon learned, however, that Corllins is a school characterized by many critics as strictly a diploma mill — a place where you buy advanced degrees. The school board thereafter asked Miss Robinson to produce transcripts to substantiate her undergraduate degree from a well-known American university. She was unable to do so. She did state that Corllins University lost its accreditation after she had graduated. Miss Robertson resigned the $93,000-a-year position, stating it was “in the best interest of the district.”

..Fortunately for International Educators, as far back as 2012, teachers working under Amy Robertson at Dubai American Scientific School had their own concerns and shared them with International Schools Review Members. Fourteen ISR Reviews of Dubai American Scientific School make references to Amy Robertson and include links to news articles covering Miss Robertson’s problems with the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which said she was not authorized to head the school. All educational permits associated with Dubai American Scientific School were later suspended. The school had failed inspection every year from 2008 to 2012 and was closed in September of 2013.

See the following links for articles related to the incident

The Kansas City Star:
http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article142682464.html

ABC News:
 http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/principal-resigns-student-reporters-raise-concerns-46594320

CNBC:
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/06/these-high-school-journalists-uncovered-a-principals-resume-lie.html

..Amy Robertson’s case is not unique. International Schools Review hosts more than just a few Reviews in which teachers, based on their personal experience with administrators, question the authenticity of an individual’s degrees and credentials. Of course, school administrators are human and surely not everyone will agree with their decisions; but when an admin has a full alphabet of acronyms following their name but does not, nor cannot, display insight into curriculum, best practices, current trends in education and/or basic organizational/management skills, one can only wonder about the authenticity of their degrees. Trust your intuition!

..When in doubt, follow the lead of the journalism students at Pittsburgh High School and research, research, research! Then Share your findings with colleagues here on International Schools Review. International Educators Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools Review is ALL about!

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Professional Boundaries: Should teachers befriend students on Facebook?

March 30, 2017

A Letter to ISR:

Dear ISR,  I’ve noticed that some teachers think it’s “cool” to befriend students on Facebook and post social pics and personal messages online. I think there should be boundaries between a teacher’s personal life and how much private information they allow students to access. I’ve seen some teachers posting pics of themselves with students at parties and in restaurants, and of course, students post social pics with their teachers.

Apart from being unprofessional, I feel it creates jealousy and a perception of ‘favored treatment’ among other students. Some teachers use this to manipulate their students and gain popularity through being overly friendly. Many professionals regard communicating with students on personal social media websites as inappropriate.

It would be interesting to know teachers’ opinion on this topic: How many schools have a policy on social media posting? Does your school monitor such activities?

Regards,
(name withheld)

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Sexism in International Schools

December 15, 2016


..
An ISR member recently made a request. She had been suffering under a Director who regularly made sexist remarks and wanted to know if her situation was an isolated one.

..In response, we discovered 61 School Reviews/Admin Reports that contain the term “sexist.” Of the 10,000+ Reviews hosted on International Schools Review, this figure represents less than 1% of all Reviews. Although the percentage is thankfully low, it does sound an alarm that something is terribly wrong at some International Schools, as exemplified by the following excerpt from an ISR Director Report:

The Director continuously shouted, threatened, belittled and publicly humiliated me and other female teachers throughout the period I was under contract. After I left the school in June, 2016, I received this abusive email from the Director when I requested money due me…

“Your advice is meaningless. You are beneath me in every possible way so your opinion matters as much to me as mine does to Mr. Obama. You are old and you probably don’t have many years left before you return to hell and we have gotten enough laughs out of you already. (Leather mini skirt for someone as old as you, really?!? LOL) Please just die or quit emailing…or both.”  Members can sign in to read entire Review

..ISR asks: In what universe is harassment such as this not a prosecutable offense? Unfortunately, in some lawless voids, individuals who would otherwise find themselves on the losing end of a lawsuit, consider themselves free to abuse defenseless teachers.

Excerpts from other Reviews increase our cause for alarm:

  This director needs to be investigated for his sexist remarks that are completely inappropriate

  Unsupportive, judgmental, unapproachable, dishonest, lacks integrity, poor leadership skills, intimidating towards staff and students, sexist (hates women)

  His lack of knowledge results in a complex environment that prevents him from acknowledging good work completed by competent teachers, but instead valuing those that serve as his yes-men (men being the operative word, as his sexism is blatant)

  His sexist (sometimes racist) remarks were a constant. No racial minorities are represented amongst staff

  Once again, good ole boys’ drinking culture, racism, sexism, reserved and restricted privileges and practices which often define “international schools”

  He is a pathological liar and extremely unprofessional. He is sexist and racist. He dresses in very inappropriate clothing and is embarrassing to work for

  Mid-management is very sexist and your status is dependent on how much time you spend in the office complimenting each other on how great you are…and I am a man saying this

  Did his best to make this even more of a hardship post than it already was. He’s a sexist who grunts and acts like a caveman and chooses favorite teachers to be in his “inner circle.” Absolutely no focus on creative, progressive ideas. VERY sexist! Huge double standard and outrageous amount of males in senior staff positions

..It goes without saying that sexism goes hand-in-hand with other undesirable qualities. And although it may be difficult, if not impossible, to stop school sexism in countries that lack anti-harassment laws, it IS possible to avoid signing on to work in such schools, thus motivating school boards and school owners to re-evaluate their choice of administrative individuals. The teacher who requested ISR query our database for occurrences of the term “sexist” is most certainly not alone.

Teachers Keeping Each Other Informed is what International Schools is All About.  

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Helping Students Cheat Their Way Into U.S. Universities

October 27, 2016

shh-forblog78359930If you’ve spent time working in International Schools, you know that not all graduating seniors will legitimately earn their way into the U.S. universities at which they’re accepted — a little grade ‘fixing,’ a helpful assist from the school counselor on an entrance application, a co-author’s rewrite of the personal essay, and, voila! The kid’s a Freshman at a prestigious university halfway around the world. You might ask, “What’s the harm of that?”

ISR says there’s plenty wrong! Inherent to our mission as educators is the desire to foster students capable of performing at a university level. Portraying students, on paper, as academically more than they are sets them up for failure both at school and in life. We’re all too familiar with the overly inflated senior who swaggers off to college, only to return after one semester, deflated and a prime candidate to attend a local/lesser university, if there is one, where Dad’s money can again influence the grading scale.

I’m reminded of a School Review hosted on International Schools Review. The Review tells of a math teacher whose student earned a “D” grade on each of 4 major exams. Soon after assigning a “D” to the final report card the director called the teacher into his office and pointed out an error had been made. The director demonstrated that by adding up the 4 “D” grades, each worth 1 point, one arrived at a total of 4 points, which “equated to a B grade.”  The teacher was instructed to correct the “error” and left the school thereafter.

DiPont Education, China, recently made the news for “helping” students gain acceptance to top-rated U.S. universities, although helping students to cheat would be a better description. Reuters News reports that Dipont Education “buttered up” admissions officers at top universities with free trips to China and $4,500 cash “honorariums.”  Reuters also reports that counselors confessed to writing admission essays and filling out university enrollment applications for students. There’s also the question of a $750,000 donation to the University of Southern California through DiPont’s U.S.-based non-profit corporation, currently under investigation by the IRS.

We encourage you to read the Reuters article in full. If the allegations are true, DiPont has set a precedent for going beyond anything we at ISR could even have imagined. Go to Reuters Article

There’s big money to be made in the International School business as host-national parents are ready and willing to plunk down big tuition bucks for a school with a track record of graduates attending top U.S. universities. Considering the hefty fees parents pay for such promises, they expect results. Of course, some students are qualified for top universities while other students clearly are not. The problem comes in when schools make those that are not, look like they are.

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…If you’ve spent time working in International Schools, you know that not all graduating seniors will earn their way into the U.S. universities at which they’re accepted. You might ask, “What’s the harm of that?” A little grade ‘fixing,’ a helpful assist from the school counselor on an entrance application, a co-author’s rewrite of the personal essay, and, hey! The kid’s a Freshman at a prestigious university halfway around the world…