New Jersey public school teacher continues fine tradition of excellence

posted at 8:51 am on December 9, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

There was a time when stories like this would probably have been shocking to the nation at large. Sadly, while it is still worth pointing out to keep up the pressure, this is no longer that far off the peak of the bell curve in the worst parts of our educational system. This report comes to us from New Jersey, where a teacher has been suspended – suspended, albeit without pay, but not fired – from his job for his rather unusual method of relating to his female students and fellow teachers. Unfortunately, none of the following will likely surprise you.

Officials suspended James Lang without pay from his tenured job as an English teacher at Fords Middle School in Woodbridge — a short distance from Staten Island — 20 months ago.

The principal testified some students were afraid to go to Lang’s class. The judge found Lang violated all standards of decency with his “grotesque and sexual” behavior.

Among the district’s allegations against Lang were incidents including calling a student a “dirty ho,” telling a student who bent over that he would “tap that” and asking students if they would be afraid if his “snake were in their bed,” according to the Home News Tribune.

While a judge has determined that the teacher should be fired, a couple of other items from the news report stand out. The first was in the initial paragraph of the article linked above… “An administrative law judge has found a New Jersey school district should fire a popular teacher who routinely called female students prostitutes

How does the phrase “popular teacher” work its way into that sentence and make it past any editor’s desk? The second comes at the end of the article.

Lang’s performance evaluations had been consistently satisfactory.

Lang denied the charges.

This is not in any way meant to excuse the teacher, assuming the allegations are all accurate. But if they are, how does this person get consistently satisfactory evaluations? Perhaps the problem here runs a bit deeper than one bad teacher. It seems unlikely that such an individual could not only survive, but thrive, in such a position unless the system was either passively or actively abetting his actions. There’s plenty of talk in Washington about fixing our broken educational system, but none of it seems to focus on things like this. A change is in order, but in some of these schools it probably needs to begin with a purge.


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How does the phrase “popular teacher” work its way into that sentence and make it past any editor’s desk?

I don’t have any personal experience with public schools these days, but it’s easy to imagine a teacher who is only 4 years out of high school, and maintains an adolescent attitude, being popular. An editor would do well to not only report that, but to expand on the subject.

Fenris on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

You know, why not focus on all the good that teachers do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

a short distance from Staten Island — 20 months ago.

Twenty months ago? I smell a Teachers Union issue here.

Johnnyreb on December 9, 2013 at 9:01 AM

This is one reason why my kids go to private school – the private school they attend does not hire unionized teachers, performs yearly student/teacher quality evaluation and rates teacher performance for each grade based on student success and parent evaluations (yes, we parents get to grade the teachers). Their merit pay can be as high as 25% of their annual salary.

Funny, when metrics and rewards are used, teachers suddenly become very responsive to their bosses, aka, the parents that pay the tuition….

powerpickle on December 9, 2013 at 9:02 AM

OT:

Ed, I just wanted to say I was very sorry to read
your message over the weekend. That was a tough one to get thru.

My prayers go out to your entire Family at this time.

ToddPA on December 9, 2013 at 9:04 AM

The idea of tenure for a middle-school teacher is one of the problems.

ConservativeinCO now in ME on December 9, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Among the district’s allegations against Lang were incidents including calling a student a “dirty ho,” telling a student who bent over that he would “tap that” and asking students if they would be afraid if his “snake were in their bed,” according to the Home News Tribune.

Sounds like Phil Dunphy got a job teaching English. A guy who wants to be friends with Seventh-graders instead of their teacher. Seriously, I don’t remember one of my English teachers talking about what he or she would tap.

In the meantime, a kid in PA has been suspended for firing an imaginary arrow with his imaginary bow.

Home schooling! It’s not just for Jesus freaks anymore!!!

Happy Nomad on December 9, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Give the teacher a break. He’s just a kid. After all, he is probably still on his parent’s insurance.

Write Wing on December 9, 2013 at 9:09 AM

You know, why not focus on all the good that teachers do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Cleaning up and throwing out the trash IS our agenda. What’s yours, covering it up?

And by the way, 90% of my relatives have been teachers and many decided take early retirement (including my mom who was a 3rd grade teacher) due to crap like this going on in the system (and hers was rural, not inner city). The system is driving out all the good teachers because they won’t stand up for them or the kids, and instead seek to protect degenerates like this person in the article. The “good” you promote in teachers is being destroyed by a system you protect, and yet you cannot see the irony in your own words. Pathetic…

dominigan on December 9, 2013 at 9:10 AM

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

If unions, school districts and peers would police themselves, there would be no story.

What say you about that?

Fenris on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

If he was even close to that young with tenure, there is a bigger problem.

cozmo on December 9, 2013 at 9:12 AM

You know, why not focus on all the good that teachers do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Well, I think in part these stories are necessary because the teachers’ union is inherently dishonest and doesn’t really want enforcement of any standards. I am quite sure that one of James Lang’s colleagues could have took him aside and told him that calling his female students “HOs” was inappropriate. In the absence of self-policing these stories are necessary.

The NEA and AFT would have you believe that there is no such thing as a bad teacher. They are all earnest hard-working under-paid saints living among us. The poor performance on standardized tests is the result of stupid children, inadequate school budgets, socio-economic challenges, or (new for 2013) angry white soccer moms.

Happy Nomad on December 9, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Lang 2016!

/MSNBC

mankai on December 9, 2013 at 9:13 AM

You know, why not focus on all the good that teachers do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

I know, huh? Like communist indoctrination and brainwashing of America’s children.

dogsoldier on December 9, 2013 at 9:14 AM

his tenured job as an English teacher at Fords Middle School

What kind of a stupid system awards tenure to middle school teachers?

mankai on December 9, 2013 at 9:14 AM

in some of these schools it probably needs to begin with a purge.

Outlawing all public sector unions would be a good place to start.

AZCoyote on December 9, 2013 at 9:14 AM

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

In general, American public schools suck.

We need to start there.

mankai on December 9, 2013 at 9:15 AM

(H)ow does this person get consistently satisfactory evaluations?

Easy. He exchanged sexual flirtation for good grades. The young ladies in question were probably bad students who were desperate for even bad attention, so they kept their mouths shut.

Maddie on December 9, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Twenty months ago? I smell a Teachers Union issue here.

Johnnyreb on December 9, 2013 at 9:01 AM

My guess it is the process and the fact he is tenured. It probably went through a series of administrative hearings within the school system before ending up with an administrative law judge.

Unions intentionally make it hard to fire tenured teachers. They are constantly claiming that without tenure, school districts would fire all the more experienced (and expensive) teachers and just hire people straight out of college. A lengthy process for the district to show cause is part of how they gum up the works. Conversely, Lang must really have been out of control for the district to have taken it this far.

Happy Nomad on December 9, 2013 at 9:18 AM

u know, why not focus on all the good that teachers Catholic Priests do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

u know, why not focus on all the good that teachers Catholic hospitals do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

u know, why not focus on all the good that teachers U.S. Soldiers do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Are you starting to get the point?

Maddie on December 9, 2013 at 9:19 AM

powerpickle on December 9, 2013 at 9:02 AM

I hope I can afford to send my children to private school if I have any. I think there should be more incentive for public schools just because the tax payers are footing the bill, but unfortunately because there is no incentive and our current system will just stay on it’s current course. Sad to say the least.

RDE2010 on December 9, 2013 at 9:20 AM

You know, why not focus on all the good that teachers do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

You don’t grasp the concept of “news” do you? This is news because it stands out. HA isn’t here to validate your feelings. Get over it.

As to the story, what if she *was* a “dirty ho”? Though it’s easy to believe Jazz’ take on this, part of me wonders, too, if the kids reporting the behavior aren’t pulling something. I haven’t read anything but the above post, but my cynicism kicks in so readily nowadays when an ‘outrage’ happens in the media.

GWB on December 9, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Fenris on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

If he was even close to that young with tenure, there is a bigger problem.

cozmo on December 9, 2013 at 9:12 AM

I missed that. So we have, what? A 30-40 year old acting like a teenager. Just makes it even worse, I guess.

Fenris on December 9, 2013 at 9:21 AM

These auto play video ads make Hotair very obnoxious to browse with an iphone. I have it set to prevent popups but it doesn’t stop these ads. Every click to a story or back to the Hotair homepage requires clicking off an ad. And more annoying if you don’t turn the volume off or keep the phone on mute.

MechanicalBill on December 9, 2013 at 9:23 AM

You know, why not focus on all the good that teachers do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

I’m gonna guess you’re not a parent.

DaveDief on December 9, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Its racist to suggest a black teacher shouldn’t call teenage girls whores or express his desire to unleash his snake in their bed.

BobMbx on December 9, 2013 at 9:29 AM

OT- Apparently Billy Graham’s condition has deteriorated the last few days. Franklin Graham asking for prayers for his father.

Happy Nomad on December 9, 2013 at 9:29 AM

You know, why not focus on all the good that teachers do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

So, is it your assertion that good teachers WANT this guy teaching in the next classroom? Because I’m friends with many Jersey teachers, and not only do they want these bums thrown out, they want ‘em thrown out DEAD!

Maddie on December 9, 2013 at 9:30 AM

But if they are, how does this person get consistently satisfactory evaluations?

Do you have any idea what kind of hailstorm from the union a negative evaluation would bring to the school?

Middle School students are generally compliant. They are not going to take the initiative to organize any kind of movement against a teacher… unless the complaint is that he/she requires they dress like human beings and act accordingly. But in that case, the “horror” will come from parents (who dress like middle-schoolers) and the school administration.

mankai on December 9, 2013 at 9:30 AM

I hope I can afford to send my children to private school if I have any. I think there should be more incentive for public schools just because the tax payers are footing the bill, but unfortunately because there is no incentive and our current system will just stay on it’s current course. Sad to say the least.

RDE2010 on December 9, 2013 at 9:20 AM

What we need are school vouchers. Why should students be stuck in a school where they are called dirty prostitutes just because it is the nearest indoctrination center for the local collective.

Happy Nomad on December 9, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Its racist to suggest a black teacher shouldn’t call teenage girls whores or express his desire to unleash his snake in their bed.

BobMbx on December 9, 2013 at 9:29 AM

I don’t think a teacher of any race, gender, or sexual orientation should call teenage girls whores (even though many dress as if they are). It’s about creating the proper teacher-student relationship of mutual respect and understanding of who has the authority.

Happy Nomad on December 9, 2013 at 9:33 AM

powerpickle on December 9, 2013 at 9:02 AM

I hope I can afford to send my children to private school if I have any. I think there should be more incentive for public schools just because the tax payers are footing the bill, but unfortunately because there is no incentive and our current system will just stay on it’s current course. Sad to say the least.

RDE2010 on December 9, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Yeah, fortunately I can afford the option. Unfortunately, I have to consider my twice annual property tax payments (at least the portion that goes to funding the public schools) as “rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s…”

But I also make a point to go to local school board meetings to understand the local school budgets, vote “NO” on most of the budget increases and support friends who’s kids are trapped in the crappy local schools…I’m considered a pariah by the local school admins because I’m vocal and my kids aren’t in their grasps to be used as hostages and bargaining chips. They get pissed when I show up to make a fuss but I don’t care! They’re hypocrites because they say I should keep my mouth shut but it’s totally ok for them to go on strike and protest whenever they don’t get what they want….

Anyway, fight for school choice, fight against local school budget increases and show up and be loud and proud…it’s the only way.

powerpickle on December 9, 2013 at 9:34 AM

But if they are, how does this person get consistently satisfactory evaluations?

Because evaluations are based on in-classroom visits by district staff and the principal. A teacher always knows when they are being evaluated. If there’s another adult in the room, that’s the possibility.

And kids tend to think that they can handle problems — even those created by the adult in the room — themselves. The culture of “don’t snitch” applies to the teacher as well.

That said, some brave person(s) finally “snitched”.

It could have been far worse. There’s this and this, in whichacts rather than words.

There really is no way to stop this kind of stuff. It requires diligence by other staff and the administration. My sister in law, a retired teacher, says that normal operations at her school was that she teach with at least one door open, and never ever touch a student.

unclesmrgol on December 9, 2013 at 9:41 AM

slow news day?

bernzright777 on December 9, 2013 at 9:41 AM

These auto play video ads make Hotair very obnoxious to browse

MechanicalBill on December 9, 2013 at 9:23 AM

+1000

aunursa on December 9, 2013 at 9:43 AM

If Obama had a son who was a teacher…

ghostwalker1 on December 9, 2013 at 10:08 AM

It’s quite telling, isn’t it? The sort of people the trolls go to bat for.

CurtZHP on December 9, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Couldn’t help but chuckle at the name of the perverted teacher’s lawyer: Edward Cringe. I guess there really *are* some things even a lawyer would blush at.

Zumkopf on December 9, 2013 at 10:35 AM

You know, why not focus on all the good that teachers do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

How is this not important news? So you would suggest we cover this sort of behaviour up? We let it go until he is caught in bed with one or several students, gets them pregnant or runs off with them?

We need to be informed about whats going on in our public schools and all schools for that matter… if we don’t get involved or report such things they go unanswered and become a bigger problem…

I hope you wake up out of this utopia you have created for yourself and see the world for what it really is and do what we must do as responsible parents and citizens to make it safe for our kids and future generations…

ThinkingForMyself on December 9, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Outlawing all public sector unions would be a good place to start.

AZCoyote on December 9, 2013 at 9:14 AM

They can’t collectively bargain in Texas.

workingclass artist on December 9, 2013 at 11:08 AM

I hope I can afford to send my children to private school if I have any. I think there should be more incentive for public schools just because the tax payers are footing the bill, but unfortunately because there is no incentive and our current system will just stay on it’s current course. Sad to say the least.

RDE2010 on December 9, 2013 at 9:20 AM

My daughter went to Catholic school K-8th and had a scholarship for 9th grade (she chose to transfer to a Magnet School after being accepted and finished there.) When she went to the magnet school she was about 2 years ahead of her peers academically…although some are now trying to adopt the core drivel…there’s some push back on that.

Anyway it was the Best investment I ever made.

Most depending on the diocese are affordable K-8th and the rates vary for parishioners and non-parishioners…about 1/3 of her class wasn’t catholic.

Hope this site helps.

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_063.asp?referrer=list

workingclass artist on December 9, 2013 at 11:21 AM

What kind of a stupid system awards tenure to middle school teachers?

mankai on December 9, 2013 at 9:14 AM

A closed Union system.

The idea of Tenure has been appropriated by the Unions for primary and secondary level teachers which means many of these teachers cannot be fired.

Tenure for college professors was designed to protect them from being fired for political reasons.

It has since become untenable in the collegiate academic system…imho

workingclass artist on December 9, 2013 at 11:26 AM

During the 1986-’87 school year, my math teacher allowed students to sexual harass me in class. I really only remember one incident. Some jock-types took a broom and used the handle to force my legs apart. I was standing. The jocks then moved the broom back/forth like…you know. The teacher laughed. Because I was getting battered-amongst other thing-at home, and because I knew that my high school saw me as stupid…I never reported it. No one that witnessed it saw the need to report it either.
That teacher ended up as my track coach senior year-he was my junior math teacher-and along w/ a history teacher-gave me the encouragement that I need to graduate.
I’m FB friends w/ him-but but I still haven’t forgiven him for what happened in that math class.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 9, 2013 at 11:35 AM

You know, why not focus on all the good that teachers do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.
 
lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

 
Yeah, like tolerating this teacher to the point of comfort in continually doing things like this.
 
Great point.

rogerb on December 9, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Snake? I’m sure it was more like a worm.

John the Libertarian on December 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

My guess it is the process and the fact he is tenured. It probably went through a series of administrative hearings within the school system before ending up with an administrative law judge.

Unions intentionally make it hard to fire tenured teachers. They are constantly claiming that without tenure, school districts would fire all the more experienced (and expensive) teachers and just hire people straight out of college. A lengthy process for the district to show cause is part of how they gum up the works. Conversely, Lang must really have been out of control for the district to have taken it this far.

Happy Nomad on December 9, 2013 at 9:18 AM

And it will probably be all for naught anyway. Lang’s lawyer (who is probably representing Lang pro bono, as in, collecting his fees from the teachers union) is already saying he will appeal, which means it’s just a matter of time before the case lands in front of a judge who will invalidate the administrative judge’s ruling and order the district to return him to the classroom, maybe with some “sensitivity training”, as well as order the district to give him back pay for the period while he was suspended.

Gator Country on December 9, 2013 at 1:48 PM

My guess it is the process and the fact he is tenured. It probably went through a series of administrative hearings within the school system before ending up with an administrative law judge.

Unions intentionally make it hard to fire tenured teachers. They are constantly claiming that without tenure, school districts would fire all the more experienced (and expensive) teachers and just hire people straight out of college. A lengthy process for the district to show cause is part of how they gum up the works. Conversely, Lang must really have been out of control for the district to have taken it this far.

Happy Nomad on December 9, 2013 at 9:18 AM

And it will probably be all for naught anyway. Lang’s lawyer (who is probably representing Lang pro bono, as in, collecting his fees from the teachers union) is already saying he will appeal, which means it’s just a matter of time before the case lands in front of a judge who will invalidate the administrative judge’s ruling and order the district to return him to the classroom, maybe with some “sensitivity training”, as well as order the district to give him back pay for the period while he was suspended.

Gator Country on December 9, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Back in the day, “sensitivity training” occurred at the business end of a baseball bat by the parent(s) of the offended…..works faster and better….

powerpickle on December 9, 2013 at 1:57 PM

it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

You mean, like you and the rest of your politically correct, anti-American mob?

Solaratov on December 9, 2013 at 2:54 PM

You know, why not focus on all the good that teachers do, instead of stories like this? It’s so pathetic. I mean, it’s almost as if you have an agenda or something.

lostmotherland on December 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

You mean like safe places with some kind of academic standard for our children to learn rather than being sexualized and frightened?

Nah. That would be silly of us, wouldn’t it?

kim roy on December 9, 2013 at 8:34 PM

There’s some action in that pic I tells ya!

The Nerve on December 10, 2013 at 4:10 AM