Great teacher + inappropriate web site?
By anyone's measure, Mike Pearce appears
to be a phenomenal history teacher. His Ellison High
students in Killeen, Texas had a 99% passing rate on the state
history assessment this year. Part of his success is due to the incredible
wealth of self-created electronic resources that he employs in his classes. You
can see many of them on his web site, www.ushistorynut.com, including
multimedia PowerPoint presentations that have been featured in his local newspaper
and the ASCD Smartbrief e-mail newsletter:
As an educator and technology advocate, I wish there were more teachers like
As a school law guy, however, I'm also troubled by his web site because it
has a hyperlink to one pro-life web site, LifeNews.com, and has banner ads that link
to another, lovematters.com (click on
screenshot thumbnails for larger images):
This probably would be fine if his web
sitehad no connection to his school. But the site has notes to
students, links to his school and district, a hyperlink for parents to sign up
for his e-mail list, information for parents like his late homework policy and
school supply requests, the district calendar, his district e-mail address, etc.
He's very clearly using his site for pedagogical purposes, not just for
marketing of his PowerPoint presentations. And therein lies the problem because
his school and his district have a legal obligation to be politically and
Mr. Pearce does have a disclaimer way down at the bottom of his very lengthy
Disclaimer: This page was designed solely by Mr. Pearce at his own
expense and was neither approved nor sanctioned by the Killeen Independent
School District. The content of Mr. Pearce's site or webpages linked from his
site does not necessarily reflect the views of the Killeen Independent School
He also appears to be trying to be politically neutral. For example, his home
page links to many different political parties, news sources, and news
columnists. But nowhere does he seem to have any pro-choice links or ads, nor
does he have any explanation of why he has chosen to feature one side of this
political / religious / personal issue.
I have never met Mr. Pearce. All evidence points to him being an amazing
teacher. But I'm not sure his
disclaimer and the fact that it's his
personal web siteare enough to survive deep legal scrutiny, particularly as the publicity for what's he's doing increases. People are going to logically associate his web site with his school and school
district, neither of which could ever get away with links and banner ads for
pro-life web sites [as an aside, I'm not sure they could get away with links to
the various commercial entities featured on his site either].
I've blogged before about the
difficult issues related to school districts allowing and monitoring teachers'
use of off-campus web sites for pedagogical purposes. I think Mr. Pearce's
site illustrates the challenging questions that I raised in that post. In this
case, I think that he either needs to take his site down, remove all connections
to his school system, or remove the pro-life aspects. I don't think he can have
it all and still pass constitutional muster.
I'm willing to admit that maybe I'm going overboard here, so I'm asking a few
school law folks to lend their opinion on this, including Pamela Parker at Texas Teacher Law and Mike Tully at
I also have invited Mr. Pearce to tell us more about his site and whether he has received any complaints about the pro-life aspects of the site. Hopefully they
(and you) will have some time to lend some insights into this complex
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.