Education Malpractice


[My posting today is an article published in Education Advisory newsletter, #10, October 1981. In those times, there was considerable interest in the topic and I will post more material later. It is very telling that in 1980 BC (Canada) school trustees received a letter referring to educational malpractice stating that with respect to special education, “parent involvement is absolutely imperative for the effective delivery of special education services”, and a legal opinion pointed out that parents then “are not as likely to consider having recourse to the Courts”. I find it unfortunate that parent involvement is valued as a means to circumvent malpractice suits. Instead, parent involvement should be valued as sound educational practice.]

We hear sometimes of an action for damages against the unqualified medical practitioner, who has deformed a broken limb in pretending to heal it. But what of the hundreds of thousands of minds that have been deformed forever by the incapable pettifoggers who have pretended to form them!” Charles Dickens, 1830 in Nicholas Nickleby

As if to make up for the years of suffering by students at the hand of his fellow teachers, we now have a master teacher, Dr. James Leary, who not only speaks out against those of his cohorts who are incompetent but also all others who may be responsible for misteaching and damage.

In his new book, Educators on Trial, the Identification and Prevention of Classroom Malpractice, Dr Leary does not spare anyone–describing fully how they can be charged for malpractice: the principals, the superintendent, the school boards. Even teacher unions are not exempt from future court actions if they insist on teacher demands superseding student needs or if they insist on retention of incompetent members of their profession.

Teacher training faculties get the most unrelenting criticism for it is at the university that they should know better. Is this not where the best knowledge should be interpreted and passed on?

Of course, the courts should be the last resort in trying to get remedy for damage. But there is an urgency to get education to fulfill its intended mandate, for Dr. Leary, involved in the education business in North America for 25 years, shares with H.G Wells the concern that “Mankind is in a race between education and catastrophe.”

That is why he wrote this book. He wants to save the future for our children, and save public education from its own self-destructive ways. For if there is no change, even if catastrophe does not first occur, the system will change into a private industrial model.

This is a humane book. It should be in the hands of all those who are concerned about our children and the education they get (or don’t get).

– taken from the book, Educators on Trial

  1. Giving a learning assignment as punishment
  2. Punishing the whole class for the actions of a few
  3. Using grades to manipulate or discipline students
  4. Grading students on a curve (so many A’s, so many B’s, etc., regardless of the achievement of the students)
  5. Tests that do not cover material taught
  6. Advancing students who have not learned prerequisites
  7. Prescribing the same material to all in a wide-ability class
  8. Assigning meaningless homework

[The book is no longer available from the original publisher and sells for $102 today from Amazon or at various prices from $10.71 used. I have some new copies left from my previous work, and can ship for $5 (Cdn$ or US$) plus mailing costs. email me HERE]

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