Not The Onion: “How I Joined Teach for America–and Got Sued for $20 Million”

A true story, in the same vein as Steve Sailer`s, below:

Numerous new friends and acquaintances who have taught in D.C.’s inner-city schools—some from Teach for America, some not—report the same outrageous discipline problems that turned them from educators into U.N. peacekeepers.

I’ve learned that an epidemic of violence is raging in elementary schools nationwide, not just in D.C. A recent Philadelphia Inquirer article details a familiar pattern—kindergartners punching pregnant teachers, third-graders hitting their instructors with rulers.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey have reported nearly 30 percent increases in elementary school violence since 1999, and many school districts have established special disciplinary K-6 schools. In New York City, according to the New York Post, some 60 teachers recently demonstrated against out-of-control pupil mayhem, chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho; violent students must go.” Kids who stab each other, use teachers as shields in fights, bang on doors to disrupt classes, and threaten to “kick out that baby” from a pregnant teacher have created a “climate of terror,” the Post reports…[How I Joined Teach for America—and Got Sued for $20 Million,City Journal, By Joshua Kaplowitz, Winter 2003]

City Journal published   a number of vitriolic letters attacking Mr. Kaplowitz–essentially blaming him for the problems he encountered. He replied

I could have written a 5,000-word essay on my mistakes as a first-year teacher (and I might yet). I accept responsibility for all of them. But my piece focused on my school and its students, who are immersed in a culture where education is not valued, where violence and lawlessness are the rule, and where the school administration refuses to draw the line. What Nick Ehrmann chooses to call “stereotypes” are the reality at Emery. If I’m to be branded a heretic by the TFA corps for pointing out these problems, the “one day” when “all children will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education” promises to be a long way off.

His personal story has a happy ending–he went to law school and is now a lawyer with a Philadelphia firm.