A Movement Defined By Disingenuity Can Not Endure

As cranky, if not outright despondent*, as I might get about the political state of U.S. education, I find some small consolation in the notion that reformers are never entirely honest (and sometimes flat-out dishonest) whether it’s fixing class composition to make charters look better or misrepresenting what test scores mean. I think, slowly, people are starting to realize just how ridiculous ‘reform’ is.

Anyway, that’s the prelude to a story about the ‘leadership’ of a Philadelphia charter school that took the Fifth Amendment 77 times in a hearing to decide if its charter should be revoked. Here’s some of the questions they refused to answer:

“Ms. Hinson, in December of 2009 were you the chief administrative officer of the Walter Palmer Charter School?”

“Ms. Hinson, from 2009 through 2014, were you considered an officer of the Walter Palmer Charter School?”

“Ms. Hinson, what are your qualifications to be an officer of the Walter Palmer Charter School?”

“Ms. Hinson, do you have a master’s degree?”

“Ms. Hinson, are you currently employed by the Walter Palmer Charter School?”…

“Are you an officer of the charter school?”

“Sir, what are your qualifications to be the controller of the Walter Palmer Charter School?”

“Sir, on July 10, 2013, did you participate in an interview with an attorney from Pepper Hamilton?”

“Sir, can you explain to the hearing officer, how, as the person responsible for complying with generally accepted audit and fiscal procedures, you’re not able to answer any of our questions here today?”

Then there’s this bit:

When the questioning turned to why the school had billed the district for students after they had withdrawn, the answers became limited.

That was to the tune of $1.5 million in a single year. Gee, I can’t seem to find…hell, where is it? …

Excellent example for the children.

*I couldn’t, in good faith, recommend anyone to enter teaching in light of all the political crap teachers have to endure. This is not a good thing.

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5 Responses to A Movement Defined By Disingenuity Can Not Endure

  1. anthrosciguy says:

    Wow. When I read that the 5th had been taken many times I assumed it was questions that dug far deeper than these. For someone to take the 5th (certainly done on the advice of lawyers) on such general questions of fact very strongly suggests the corruption was infused throughout the system as an integral part of the job the person is refusing to admit they held. Inconceiveable!

    • Min says:

      Unfortunately, when under oath you have to answer questions like, What is your name?, by taking the 5th if you are going to take it at all. (Or be in contempt.) Once you answer anything, you have to answer everything. So you can’t draw any conclusions about which questions a person takes the 5th on and which they do not.

      • anthrosciguy says:

        I’ve read of cases over the years where someone has taken the 5th amendment and they do not simply refuse to say anything at all, or take the 5th for all questions. So what you’re saying cannot be true.

        And this is what I find in a quick online search. From lawyer.com: “Typically, you would plead the Fifth when you’re called to testify in a trial or when being deposed. Generally, you can’t refuse to answer any relevant question, unless the answer incriminates you.” And nolo.com: “Additionally, a witness can begin testifying but invoke the privilege when answers to later questions would be incriminating. If the prosecutor commences by asking benign questions that the witness answers (“What were you wearing that night?”), but moves into questions that go to the heart of the matter (“How many times did you meet with the defendant?”), the witness may claim the privilege.”

        So your understanding is not correct.

  2. onkelbob says:

    It is interesting that he is allowed to claim Fifth Amendment protection on such questions. IANAL but I argued that I could have convicted Oliver North without the congressional testimony being used with these simple questions:
    Were these classified documents in your possession? No Article 31 protection is applicable as it is a discovery of fact. (Article 31 is the UCMJ equivalent.)
    Can you produce these classified documents? Again Article 31 protection is inapplicable.
    Can you produce lawful orders for the destruction of these classified documents? Again Article 31 protection is inapplicable.
    And yes a military lawyer conceded those would likely be sufficient for indictment and conviction depending on the circumstances. If the question was did “you destroy the documents without authorization” – that is protected by Art 31 as it is self-incriminating. However, establishing facts is allowed and may be used to convict

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