Outright lies in the era of ubiquitous social media don’t work. As most of us know by now, there are digital armies of Twitter feeds poised to call anyone out with extreme prejudice for spreading blatant misinformation. Instead, false narratives 2016-style are crafted through the cherry-picking of anecdotes. It’s particularly effective when most people aren’t already intimately familiar with the subject.
This is what John Oliver did in his recent rant about charter school chicanery. His report wasn’t just all yin and no yang. What Oliver did was much deeper sophistry. He performed the educational equivalent of “tabling” the idea of whether more dogs bite men, or more men bite dogs — since both things do happen — and then presenting a comprehensive, worst-ever, dog biters Hall of Shame.
Here are some examples of theft and corruption from district schools that we suspect will never be worthy of a comparable exposé by Last Week Tonight. Understand that not only is this list far from exhaustive, but these happen to only be stories from 2015-16. One can only imagine the hundreds of similar stories we’d find by going a few more years back (like Oliver did for his anti-charter cherry-picking).
- Ex-N.J. Teacher Admits Stealing $249K in Disability While Working in Virginia
- Audit: Employee Stole $67K from Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind
- Northboro-Southboro School Official Accused of Stealing Up to $450K to Fuel Drug Habit
- Parents Angry after Teacher, Coach Charged with Theft
- Former Pine-Richland Teacher Surrenders on Theft Charge
- Police: Teacher Stole $10,000 from Account for Class of 2015
- N.J. Teacher Loses License Over Theft of $133K from School Association
- Teacher Arrested for Allegedly Stealing Money Raised for Cheerleading Trip
- 5 Charged in Theft of More Than $870,000 from Chicago Public Schools
- Former Buffalo Schools Official Admits Stealing from Low-Income Program
- Former Derby Principal Accused of Stealing Money
- Birmingham Teacher Charged with Stealing iPads, TV from School
- John Bapst Official Says Teacher Stole Money from Student Senate
- Substitute Teacher Charged with Stealing in Excess of $60,000
- Buffalo Teacher Stole from School’s PTO
- Former Mid Valley Superintendent Pleads Guilty to Theft
- High School Teacher Stole from Students’ Graduation Party Fund
- St. Louis Middle School Teacher Charged with Stealing Students’ Field Trip Money
- DA: Smithtown Highway Superintendent Charged with Official Misconduct, Tampering with Public Records
- S.C. Revives Funds Misuse Case Against Former BHUSD Head
- Teacher Accused of Stealing Donations Meant for American Cancer Society
And don’t forget the surfeit of pervy and druggy district school employee stories that are extremely rare in charter schools. As for why that is, we might need a psychologist. My personal theory is that since the charter schools have an inherent accountability culture — if new families don’t proactively knock on their doors every year, those schools will disappear — that materially affects the seriousness with which charter teachers take their jobs.
Armchair psychology aside, behold some example stories of this genre, in this case from 2016 alone. Want to find more? They’re there. Will John Oliver ever find these worthy of mention? Or might they be demurely ignored because he doesn’t happen to be talking about this issue, on any particular night, ever? What do you think?
- Teacher Fired for Sex with Student Got New Job at NJ School
- 4th in 10 years: LA Teacher Arrested for Sex with Student
- Cedar Rapids Schools Didn’t Initially Report Suspicions of Teacher-Student Sex
- Texas Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sexual Misconduct Charge, Sues Student’s Mother for Defamation
- Wisc. Teacher Admits to Sex with 16-Year-Old; Sent Selfies During Honeymoon: Complaint
- NC Teacher Charged with Having Sex with Student
- Teacher Charged with Molestation after Sex in Classroom
- Teacher Caught Allegedly Having Sex With Student In Cemetery
- Teacher Accused of Having Sex with Student Gave Him Gun
- Teacher Accused of Having Sex with Male Student in Classroom
- Teacher Convicted of Dealing Heroin, Faces at Least 5 Years
- Former Athens Teacher, Convicted of Sexual Exploitation of Children, Is Back Behind Bars
- Ex-Ohio Teacher Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Students
- Alabama Teacher Convicted on Federal Child Porn Charges
As for what John Oliver will talk about next, it’s anyone’s guess. But it just may be this.