WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the first ruling of the new year approving felony convictions for teachers that cannot describe the theories of learning upon which their teaching is based.

Many of the jurists, who are also visiting professors at prestigious universities during court recesses, were flabbergasted to find out that a sizeable percentage of US teachers could not name a single theory of learning or any research supporting their educational practice.

The testimony of expert witness Alfie Kohn, a well-respected U.S. author and educator, was pivotal in the final decision. Kohn’s biting observation swayed the court to vote 9-0 in favor.

“The overwhelming number of teachers are unable to name or describe a theory of learning that underlies what they do” said Kohn, quoting almost verbatim from his book Punished by Rewards.

In the highly publicized lower court case, State of Nebraska v. Mozer, state authorities had found German teacher Patricia Mozer guilty of teaching for short term memorization rather than engaging students for lifelong learning.

While most of those convicted under Nebraska’s recent state law banning unfocused and uninformed teaching without knowing underlying principles or research get off with a few months of community service or a stiff fine, the “egregious neglect” of Mozer’s practice reportedly landed her a shocking sentence of 15 years in federal prison.

“Ms. Mozer attempted to justify her longstanding teaching practices by saying that’s the way we’ve always done it and that’s what we were taught in college,” prosecuting attorney Brad Hartsook told reporters outside the Supreme Court building just after the controversial ruling was announced. “But it was quickly apparent that she had never attended any professional development or even read an article about best practice in all of the years since college.

Mozer’s attorney attempted to convince the court that teaching was “just something you feel” rather than sound practice based on research, but the court would have none of it.

Testimony by former students and colleagues proved that her lessons were a mere hodgepodge of memorization worksheets and social commentary, which allowed students to pass tests but left them with no lasting knowledge or context for further learning.

According to Hartsook, this led state officials to take Mozer in for questioning before booking her on the charge of teaching without knowing why, beginning the lengthy appeals process, which finally concluded with the Supreme Court’s hearing of the case in today’s historic decision.

“This will be good for America’s schools and America’s children,” the prosecuting attorney declared. “Finally, justice has been served.”

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