Tag Archives | Schools

School District Backpedals On Asking Students If They Thought Jews Made Up Holocaust For Money

PIC: NARA (PD)

PIC: NARA (PD)

If it’s not the Bible Beaters it’s the holocaust deniers. I’m glad I’m out of school.

via CA schools back off assignment asking whether Jews made up Holocaust for money.

A southern California school district has agreed to revise an assignment that asked eighth-graders to debate in writing whether the Holocaust actually happened.

Middle-school students in the Rialto Unified School District were asked to research arguments made about the Holocaust and write an argumentative essay explaining whether they believe the Nazis, in fact, systematically killed 6 million European Jews between 1933 and 1945.

School officials initially defended the assignment, saying it was intended to teach teens to evaluate the quality of evidence made by opponents or advocates of a topic.

“When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence,” the assignment says. “For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain.”

Students are required to cite textual evidence in the assignment and address rebuttals to the claims they make themselves.

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Ivy League Schools and Other Colleges Under Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases

PIC: US Govt (PD)

PIC: US Govt (PD)

Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

In an unprecedented move as part of the Obama administration’s effort to combat sexual violence at colleges – said to strike one in five women – the Department of Education has released a list of 55 universities currently under investigation for mishandling sexual assault cases under Title IX gender equity laws. The White House has also set up the website Notalone.gov to offer information on Title IX rights and complaints, and has released a report with guidelines, recommendations and model policies for schools. The list of schools under investigation includes some usual suspects – Occidental, Florida , Chapel Hill – but also a slew of way pricey, top-tier schools you’d think would know better but evidently don’t, including Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Catholic University and the Universities of Chicago and  Southern California. The push to hold these places accountable has come in large part from rights advocates, who note that federal authorities have never sanctioned any school for sexual violence violations under Title IX.

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Encouraging Teachers To Go Into Debt To Buy Their Students’ School Supplies

Since we no longer adequately fund education, teachers’ love of their students is leveraged to emotionally pressure them into paying for essential classroom supplies out of their own pockets. Except, since we no longer pay teachers adequate salaries, they may need to go into debt to do so. Possibly at the forefront of a trend, the Silver State Schools Credit Union helpfully offers K-12 teachers personal loans to cover their students’ materials:

school_loan

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Are Schools Hostile to Boys?

Stopped_by_Curiosity

Pic: The Busy Brain (CC)

Via Time Ideas:

As school begins in the coming weeks, parents of boys should ask themselves a question: Is my son really welcome? A flurry of incidents last spring suggests that the answer is no. In May, Christopher Marshall, age 7, was suspended from his Virginia school for picking up a pencil and using it to “shoot” a “bad guy” — his friend, who was also suspended. A few months earlier, Josh Welch, also 7, was sent home from his Maryland school for nibbling off the corners of a strawberry Pop-Tart to shape it into a gun. At about the same time, Colorado’s Alex Evans, age 7, was suspended for throwing an imaginary hand grenade at “bad guys” in order to “save the world.”

In all these cases, school officials found the children to be in violation of the school’s zero-tolerance policies for firearms, which is clearly a ludicrous application of the rule.

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Massive Protests Planned Against Chicago Public School Closings

Pic: Shanna Riley (CC)

Pic: Shanna Riley (CC)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

While Chicago’s Mayor and other administration officials seem to believe the closing of more than 54 public schools in Chicago is a done deal, resistance to the closures is about to peak just before the school board votes on the closures. This weekend, thousands plan to march to say no to the closures for three days beginning Saturday.

Resistance to the closures however, began months ago, with several protests and hundreds of hearings where parents, students, teachers and their supporters aired their grievances and demanded their schools stay open. Mayor Rahm Emanuel touts the closures will help close the $1 billion deficit. Officials within CPS said they could save as much as $560 million by shutting the doors to neighborhood schools, shuffling students to other supposedly better performing locations. However, WBEZ reported the calculation was off by $122 million. CPS admitted its mistake in arithmetic, calling it an “honest mistake.”

Mistakes in math however, are only the tip of the iceberg.… Read the rest

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Gates Foundation And Rupert Murdoch Unveil New Database To Track K-12 Students’ Personal Information

Kids’ grades, behavior, medical issues, and more—with their names and social security numbers attached—will be tracked by their public schools, entered in a database, and sold to private companies, in the name of improving educational services, Reuters reports:

The most influential new product [at the SXSWedu conference this week in Austin] may be a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.

In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion.

Local education officials retain legal control over their students’ information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services.

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Are Our Schools Prisons?

From Modern Mythology:
Though potentially alarmist, this documentary points to a process that really started with the advent of the american education system as a part of the rise of industry. Our modern school system, though it has been vastly successful compared to many earlier systems as bad as it is, is indeed based on the whistle-blowing, mechanized and behaviorist perspective of humanity that was popular in the 1920s-50s. Instead of changing with the times in terms of making kids into machines, and to produce "good workers," we might consider trying to help create human beings. Because of all the school shootings, in many ways now we are facing a PKD style "thought police" No Tolerance rule toward what someone might do. How does this lack of trust effect the people within the system?
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Saving Public Education

The old DeWitt Clinton building, now John Jay College, Photo: Americasroof (CC)


I’d like to use the word “justice” – that I felt compelled to tell the story of the school as a matter of justice. That we are so easy to write books and tell stories about great universities, but when it comes to high schools we don’t think that way. And yet if you ask every person on the street about somebody  who influenced them, he always or she always brings up a high school teacher or a high school coach. High schools have had a tremendous influence on who we are as a people, as a nation. And there should be documentation about the high schools, and I believe that DeWitt Clinton is a great school that has had tremendous influence on American life. – Gerard Pelisson, former high school teacher and co-author of  “The Castle on the Parkway,” a history of DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx N.Y.… Read the rest

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The Likely Effect Of Obama’s Move To Put Armed Officers In Schools

The tragedy of American mass shootings inspires terrible choices. Regarding the president’s move to encourage the further policification of schools, Unprison writes:

The 18th Executive Order signed by President Obama is to provide incentives (and funding) for schools to have police oversee the children. This will create results.

School police, known as “Resource Officers” (perhaps for easier digestion) have been key builders of the School to Prison Pipeline. The fistfights and the joint in the bathroom do not result in detention or suspension anymore: now they are imprisonment, expulsion, and an often insurmountable mountain to climb towards any “normal” adult lifestyle.

A 2011 report by Justice Police Institute [suggests] that the overall damage to a community is not justified by the vague possibility that the school is safer. In fact, there are indications that the police actually lead to increased violence in schools.

Children have been the fastest growing segment in the industry of prisoners.

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Armed Teacher Training Program Launches In 15 States

The classroom arms race is on. ThinkProgress reports:

An Ohio gun owners’ group is launching an “Armed Teacher Training Program” to instruct teachers and school staff on how to shoot off firearms in the classroom.

Perhaps at the outlandish suggestion of the National Rifle Association, who last month called for armed guards in every school as a response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary, such programs are popping up around the country.

As of Wednesday, the Armed Teacher Training Program has attracted more than 600 applicants from several states including Ohio, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and West Virginia. “We knew this would be popular, but the response has exceeded out expectations,” said Jim Irvine, Chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation.

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