The Decline in State Support for Education and Its Effects on the Human Relations Function of Educational Institutions
To be able to show how the decline of state support for education affects human relations function of educational institutions, it will be prudent to first look at what human relations mean. Human relations deal with the problems faced by human beings due to interpersonal and organizational relations within an industry. It is meant to enhance efficiency in adjustments, among both persons and groups within an organization.
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In most countries, the state is responsible for supporting education. This is despite the presence of privatized education in the form of private schools and colleges. However, the law from the state will often affect these private institutions. Regarding public education, the state is charged with the responsibility of providing support, mainly, in the form of funding. This is done in the form of providing fees and bursary for students at the primary, high school and college level. Teaching staff in educational institutions is also funded by the state.
However, there are cases where the state has been unable to provide this support due to several reasons. This could be due to misappropriation of the funds, lack of commitment in honouring pledges to provide teachers’ pay rise or simply, due to misplaced priorities within the budget (UNESCO, 2007, p. 209). The effects of failure to provide teachers with an adequate pay-rise would lower their motivation and may, therefore, result in underperformance. This, in turn, may result in disagreements with senior officials within the educational sector, who may be on the side of the state and are also out to demand better performance.
There are cases where teachers have had to go on strike because of this. In cases where there has been embezzlement of funds and leaders in the ministry of education do not want to take responsibility, donors for such programs may withdraw their support causing both the learners and the entire system to suffer. In some nations, the politicians, having failed to take responsibility, end up blaming other stakeholders within the institutions. Moreover, in nations, where there’s no political will by the state to support education by hiring more teachers, the quality of education has been eroded due to the higher student: teacher ratio.
Human Resource Information
Human Resource Information: Duke University
This is a for-profit university. The types of information available on the Website of Duke University’s human resources site include a link to jobs at the university where one can apply, diversity at the university, new staff orientation, temporary employment, training, compensation, benefits, information regarding the university managers and more details regarding Duke and Durham. The site has very conspicuous links to the information that one may require. The information is located on the left and above and is easy to navigate.
The information provided is very comprehensive. The job application site has various categories to suit both internal and external applicants. It has also had a link for frequently asked questions. On the temporary employment site, there is sufficient review information for potential applicants. The new job orientation also equips the new employees with the information and resources needed to work at Duke. The managers’ site outlines the roles of managers.
Very detailed information is also provided regarding the training. The site contains detailed forms of compensation, policies regarding different areas, different types of forms and, news and events. This information is important to prospective employees since it guides them with everything that it takes work for the institution. Current employees can benefit from sections such as news and events, different forms of benefits and ways of compensation (Duke, 2011).
Human Resource Information: Strayer University
This is a public university whose human resource site is limited only to the careers offered by the university. The site has only two links that lead to the academic and operational careers offered. Navigating to the site that these two links lead to is easy since they are just on the page. Although brief, the provided information is comprehensive and clearly outlines the requirements for the available jobs. This is useful to the employees as it makes them aware of the key needs to the job and the benefits. Current employees may also benefit from the information since they may want to reapply to one of the new jobs (Strayer Education Inc, 2011).
Human Resource Information for John F. Kennedy High School (K-12)
The website for this k-12 school does not contain information on human resources. Instead, it contains general information about the school such as administration, departments and staff directory, among others. Each of these other sites can easily be navigated. The information on the human resource can be accessed through the search window, but even so, the results are unclear and too general hence not comprehensive. Therefore, it is difficult for both current and prospective employees to benefit from the site apart from just getting information concerning the general aspects of the school.
Affirmative action aims at addressing the issue related to colour and racism. The approach employed by the policies under affirmative action may be appropriate to elicit their support. The same policies may be inappropriate to invoke criticism. Whatever the outlook, appropriateness or the lack of it may validate its use in colleges and k-12 schools. Besides, legal departments in organizations address human-related issues in an organization. Some identify these issues and take the appropriate response.
Affirmative action takes into being access to equal opportunities for all diversity in colleges. The argument for the need for affirmative action in colleges is pegged on access to all learning opportunities by all students. Learning opportunity covers the aspects of admissions of students to colleges without a racial edge or implication that some students are outright to admissions than others. Affirmative action in policy terms does not only stop at looking at admissions.
There is the realization that talented children, through affirmative action, can be helped to financial aid to help students from humble backgrounds attend and access to good education, especially at the college level. Borrowing from the early 1920s to 1960s, enrollment and admission to recognize colleges were based on the social background of the student involved (Plank & Plank, 2009). Such historical concerns made the validity of affirmative action positive in its adoption and implementation.
There was also a need to have students’ preparedness to facing the transition from high school to colleges by the implementation of the affirmative action. Through affirmative action, there was a discovery that dropout rates were high for students at all levels of learning; the trend was more visible with students from low and middle-income families.
On the other hand, affirmative action is criticized under the college and k-12 schools. There are four aspects of it (affirmative action) that are questioned due to policies that emanate from affirmative action. In the first place, it is criticized that meriting in k-12 schools and does not completely account the test scoring system, which was thought to solve. There is an allegation that is “colour” driven such merit does not reflect a true effort by students in colleges or k-12 schools.
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Regarding fairness, it is established that the policy dubbed as race-neutral does not stand for fairness. Thirdly, it is said that discrimination based on race and ethnicity is still a theoretical solution and has never been achieved through affirmative action. Lastly, affirmative action is thought to be miles away in the achievement of its purpose, since the white folks claim that, the recent focus on diversity programs has done little to benefit whites.
One of the cases involved a female plaintiff (Suders) who was working at a Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) as a communications operator. While here, she was subjected to numerous series of sexual harassment from her male supervisors. She reported on two occasions to her equal employment opportunity officer female officer, but the latter did not express serious willingness to assist her. The third time, she was arrested by her supervisors because she had stolen her own papers for computer skills. She had taken them because of allegations that she had failed when in actual sense they had not been forwarded for purposes of grading. After this, Suders made a resignation from her job and sued the PSP for harassing her sexually and for a constructive discharge.
However, the court first concluded that the Pennsylvania State Police was not directly liable for the supervisors’ harassment to Suders. For the employer (PSP) to have been liable for the action (harassment) of supervisors, the harassment should have resulted in a tangible action such as demotion, discharge or unwelcome reassignment. However, the absence of such tangible action might cause the employer to raise a defence to liability.
To ensure that the defence prevails, the employer must be able to verify that plausible care was provided to avert and correct timely any behaviour that is sexually harassing. The employer may also verify that the employee was not ready to take advantage of the preventive and corrective mechanisms to provide by the employer to escape any related harm (Supreme Court of the United States, 2003, p. 1-2).
“Under the constructive discharge doctrine, an employee’s reasonable decision to resign because of unendurable working conditions is assimilated to a formal discharge for remedial purposes” (Supreme Court of the United States, n.d, p. 2). The agency law makes the employer be responsible for what the agent does if the latter commits a crime based on the. When for instance, a supervisor is involved in the act of harassment to one of the subordinates and then proceeds to take a tangible action concerning employment to the sub-ordinate, it is beyond any doubt that the supervisor assisted by the agency relation.
However, when the supervisor’s harassment does not result in a tangible employment action, the main cause in such a situation cannot be the agency relation.
“Accordingly, the Court held that when no tangible employment action is taken, an employer may defeat vicarious liability for supervisor harassment by establishing the two-part affirmative defence” (Supreme Court of the United States, n.d, p. 3).
To establish that the working environment was hostile, plaintiffs, such as Sunders, in this case, must show that the behaviour was adequately pervasive to result to a change in the conditions of their working environment. The rule that governs equality at the workplace is violated by the severity and pervasiveness of the discriminatory conduct that results in an abusive working environment for workers. Beyond this, a constructive discharge must be established. This has to be done by the plaintiff who has to prove that the working environment was abusive and unbearable such that the only reasonable response in such a situation was her resignation.
This claim may be defended by the employer who may rise to show that they had already put mechanisms in place and that there was a policy to take care of reporting, complaining and dealing with issues of sexual harassment. The employer may then proceed to argue that the plaintiff did not present herself on the remedial or preventive mechanisms set up by the employer. On the other hand, the employer will not be able to access such an affirmative defence if the plaintiff decided to quit following the employer’s adverse action. Such actions could have included a reduction in payment, transfer to another working position where she could have faced intolerable working conditions, and a demotion (Supreme Court of the United States, n.d, p. 6).
The court proceeded with investigations into showing the kind of harassment to which the plaintiff was subjected. It was unbearable. Although PSP had its own internal procedures for reporting harassment, she did not make herself available to the same. Although the district court made its own ruling on the matter, the court of appeal challenged it on two fronts. First, although the PSP could assert the affirmative defence, there were genuine concerns regarding the ability of PSP to handle matters of sexual harassment. Second, the district court was failed to acknowledge the claim presented by the plaintiff with regard to constructive discharge due to a hostile working environment.
The court of appeal asserted that the constructive discharge from the plaintiff was supposed to establish that she had undergone harassment that was unbearable enough and the most plausible decision that another individual would have taken was to resign. Also, considering all the circumstances, the decision of the plaintiff to resign was the most reasonable (Supreme Court of the United States, n.d, p. 11).
Legal issues in the human relations field addressed by an organization
Commingling of company funds
The interview revealed a massive commingling of the company’s funds by the top executives.
The lending of money to unknown people
There was a discovery that the company’s finance departments were issuing checks in the form of nonexistent equipment that junior employees were presented to the finance department for funding.
Legal procedures pertaining to abused workers
The legal department was handling legal issues pertaining to company workers being misused and abused by their seniors after it was discovered that some top management employees of the company were misappropriating the company funds while taking cover in junior employees.
The organization has discovered that there are frequent cases and reports to the legal department pertaining to employees in the same line of work experiencing violent treatment from others.
Alcohol was being abused during workplace hours by some employees in the company. Incidences of drug-influenced violence have been reported (Henderson, 1996).
Legal issues facing the company
The first legal issue that the organization is facing at the moment is a commingling of the company funds by the top management, employees of the company. During the interview, it was revealed by the legal department that the organization has a bonus scheme that permits top management employees to access to funds that cater for travelling while on duty, conducting business on behalf of the company. Recently, one manager obtained funding by pretending to be travelling abroad for a business trip. It was later discovered that the “business trip” was a holiday trip for the manager’s wife to some island.
Further probe into the situation revealed that there was a racket in the organization emanating from the financial department involved in lending money to unknown people by manipulating the philanthropic program run by the organization. The philanthropic program of the company operates in two ways. The first part requires that, by the approval of the board of directors of the company, every departmental manager was mandated to apportion 3% of its budget as non-refundable monetary submissions to identified charitable organizations.
However, the charitable organizations comprise of existent and nonexistent ones. It was shocking that the funds were being diverted for personal use in the name of giving to the charities. The second part involved lending with the purpose of repayment. Financial accounts were being manipulated to reflect lending to people as stipulated in the lending procedures. The audit revealed that employees were using fake names to obtain and repay funds. Some of the money obtained by the means was never recovered by the company. Besides, company funds were also being misappropriated by over-quoting of equipment prices for orders made in the name of the company.
There are teams associated with a particular line of production in the organization. The legal department has been receiving frequent complains that some workers were being treated violently by their fellow line workers. The incidences reported involved cases of racism and discrimination based on gender.
Furthermore, the legal department revealed that a sizable population of employees was involved in substance abuse. The substance that was being abused most was alcohol. The behaviour was most notable from casual employees of the company, who had gone to the extent of stealing equipment from the organization; sell them to obtain money for buying the drug.
The organization has stipulated guidelines for the solution of its legal issues. The department that is mandated to carry out proceeding s that may later lead to termination or any appropriate action as deemed applicable without prejudice to either party, that is, employee and the organization or employee and the employee. Cases involving violent treatment one employee with another are handled arbitrarily by the organization unless the aggrieved decides to press charges in a court of law.
To enforce the contract of employees, the organization has a code of ethics that are followed by every employee at all levels in the company. For the cases, the organization has classified them according to the gravity of the offence committed by an employee. The organization does not instil punishment to the wrongdoers haphazardly, but it follows the guidelines recognizing the administration of action following the code of ethics of the company.
Since the company’s image to the outside world is highly valued, care is being taken in addressing the misconduct by the employees. With regard to incidences that involve threatening of junior employees by the top management, the company is planning an employee empowerment program that will help create a good working atmosphere for employees and their supervisors, without causing insubordination feelings.
In conclusion, affirmative action enhances equality in the opportunity to access of academic facilities at college and k-12 schools. The extent to which it does help may be questionable, but it has creates drastic changes in the life and education of low and middle-income families.
With respect to human relations, organizations are mandated to handle cases involving human relations by targeting at empowering employees in order to mitigate the future occurrence of legal issues in the company.
Duke, (2011). Human Resources. Web.
Henderson, G. (1996). Human relations issues in management. Westport: Greenwood publishing group.
Plank, N.D & Plank, N.D. (2009). Handbook of education policy research. New York: Routledge.
Strayer Education Inc., (2011). Careers. Web.
Supreme Court of the United States, (n.d). Pennsylvania State Police Vs Suders. Web.
UNESCO, (2009). Human rights in education, science, and culture: legal developments and challenges. Paris: Ashgate Publishing.