The Moore case (Canada, 2012) concerning a special needs student (dyslexia) is raising expectations for families frustrated by public education systems that fail to help educable students. The student was not served by the public school board and went to a private specialized school and is now a journeyman plumber. The public school board was ordered by the court to pay $100,000 compensation for the fees plus $10,000 for damages and costs.
A good number of malpractice suits in the past were denied due to the “floodgates” excuse but a current lawyer in this business says that no longer holds. He says that was a “specious” excuse (bogus, erroneous) and that now the byword is:
“Fiat justitia, ruat coelom” — Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.
With a glut of lawyers around and new law schools opening up, we can anticipate that education malpractice will be a budding field. School boards have deep pockets.
When I attended classes from Ivan Illich in 1971-72 we talked about iatrogenic disorders caused by professionals — medical diseases, educational failures. Problems caused by so-called solutions. He recommended wholesale deschooling.
In 1981 the book, Educators on Trial – the identification and prevention of classroom malpractice by James Leary, portrayed malpractice as any professional misconduct or unreasonable skill in performing professional duties. The 12 cases described serve as an overview of the evolving field — of interest to administrators, teacher unions, school boards, and others involved. Parents get to know what is not best practice.
A book review at the time (NAASP 1981) foretold that successful education malpractice lawsuits have the “potential for destroying the educational institution as a public servant.”
That hasn’t happened yet, but the Moore case certainly interrogates the purpose of public schools. If they don’t enable the essential fundamentals of learning, the “ramp”, just what are they for, anyway? The current institutional model, the top-down bureaucratic structure, the entanglements with unions and university training institutions, is not an efficient or effective model for the 21st C for the students meant to be served.
Will it take a court case to expose all this baggage that prevents proper education of the young? It might be the only thing that will reveal this pretext for what it is — a colossal consumer fraud on a massive scale!