Friday, April 10, 2009

Quick Hits

Sex Offender Sentenced For Posing As Pupil, 12: A youthful-looking sex offender who posed as a 12-year-old boy to enroll in several Arizona schools was sentenced Tuesday to 70 1/2 years in prison. Neil Havens Rodreick II pleaded guilty last year to seven criminal charges, two stemming from a charade he pulled off for two years. (NPR)

18,000 Nashville students' personal data put online: Metro Schools will be contacting parents about a contractor's security breach that lasted three months. (The Tennessean)

Ohio School System Sued Over Bullying Death: A northeast Ohio couple has filed a lawsuit saying school officials failed to stop bullying that they claim led to their 17-year-old son's suicide. William and Janis Mohat say their son was taunted and harassed by classmates at Mentor High School for months before he shot himself on March 27, 2007. (NPR)

OpEd - Moving schools forward: A funny thing happened on the way to the White House: Democrats got religion on education reform. ...From President Barack Obama to Education Secretary Arne Duncan... high-profile Democrats have been out stumping hard for education reform. Not just nibbling- around-the-edges reform, but a monumental shift in how we educate our children and how schools operate... The reforms they're talking about — pushing for more charter schools, changing the way we pay good teachers, firing bad teachers and loosening regulations that hamper innovation — are a sea change from the traditional Democratic agenda on education, and it has created a rift within the party. (Denver Post)

Massachusetts schools to tell parents their children's Body Mass Index: The Massachusetts Public Health Council unanimously approved regulations Wednesday that require public schools to send children's Body Mass Index measurements home to parents. (South

Boston students struggle with English-only rule: Students not fluent in English have floundered in Boston schools since voters approved a law change six years ago requiring school districts to teach them all subjects in English rather than their native tongue, according to a report being released tomorrow. (Boston Globe)

Catholic-School Comeback?: Inner-city kids would be the big winners. Since Catholic education in America peaked in 1965, half of the nation’s Catholic schools have shut their doors, with an average of 250 closing per year...The usual suspects for the school closings are the loss of religious teaching orders, demographic shifts, rising costs, and falling enrollments. The current economic crisis will push closings to epidemic proportions in the next few years, according to National Catholic Education Association president Karen Ristau. First to go, in even larger numbers, will be inner-city schools serving vulnerable populations, since they depend heavily on philanthropic and diocesan support. The Catholic school system might end up becoming an elite consortium for affluent Catholics. (City Journal)

In the works: A new way to pick schools: A proposed student assignment plan has encouraged some Seattle parents while raising questions among others. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

State to Florida teachers: Bonus check's in the mail: Top Florida teachers who have been waiting months for promised bonuses wonder whether the state is going to stiff them, although officials who have been putting them off say the check will be in the mail soon. (Orlando Sentinel)

STIMULUS: Loopholes No Surprise To Duncan, Congress: The Times editorial page outlines all the ways that the education money in the stimulus could -- and may well end up -- get squandered (Hold the Line on School Reform). The money could get diverted away from education. The "assurances" about teacher assignment could mean little in the real world of kids and teachers. States could game the teacher evaluation data just like they gamed "highly qualified" under NCLB... The stimulus loopholes are all there because Congress wrote them that way - to address members' concerns, to appease industry lobbying - and the Obama administration went along. Duncan et al shouldn't get to pretend that they weren't there when the stimulus was being put together, just like Treasury couldn't pretend it didn't know about the AIG bonuses. (Russo)

Washington Consensus: Mike Petrilli of the Fordham Institute proclaims that the "Washington Consensus" is "alive and well." Washington demands "no excuses" in closing the achievement gap and a "focus on test-based accountability." But there is a social science consensus that school systems alone can not overcome poverty, and that the statistical models demanded by a national accountability system do not exist. (This Week in Ed)

Sexting’ witch hunt: An assistant principal spent $150,000 defending himself from child pornography charges because he kept the evidence — a photo of a semi-nude girl found on a boy’s cell phone — on his computer. (Joanne Jacobs)

Am I hurting my local public schools—and hurting America—by sending my kids to expensive private schools?: My family lives on the west side of Los Angeles. I face the same choice as many urban families: Will the kids attend public or private schools? Should one minimize opportunities for one's own child in service to the greater good?In our desire to protect our children physically and academically, we send them to very expensive schools that are inherently segregated ethnically and economically. We, being white, educated, and comparatively affluent, are the agenda-setters in society. The agenda does not include fierce protection of the public school system we value in general terms but abandon in our own specific cases. (Slate)

Colleges in 3 States to Set Basics for Degrees: In the first American effort of its kind, universities and colleges in Indiana, Minnesota and Utah are starting pilot projects to make sure that degree programs in their states reflect a consensus about what specific knowledge and skills should be taught. (N Y Times)

No Porn for Students at University of Maryland: Allow students to watch a XXX porn movie in the student union or risk budget cuts by the state. That was the dilemna facing University of Maryland this week after they’d elected to screen “Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge” in its student union. Students across the country have been attending screenings of the big-budget porn flick on campuses, but when Maryland State Senator Andy Harris heard about the busty event, he made moves to have it stopped, by threatening to suspend state funding (about $424 million). (Ed in Review)

Teaching the N-Word - A black professor, an all-white class, and the thing nobody will say: Eric is crazy about queer theory...“‘Queer’ has important connotations for me,” he says. “It’s daring, political. I embrace it.” He folds his arms across his chest, and then unfolds them.
I am suspicious.
“What about ‘nigger’?” I ask. “If we’re talking about the importance of transforming hateful language, what about that word?” From my bookshelf I pull down Randall Kennedy’s book Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, and turn it so its cover faces Eric. “Nigger,” in stark white type against a black background, is staring at him, staring at anyone who happens to be walking past the open door behind him. Over the next 30 minutes or so, Eric and I talk about “nigger.” He is uncomfortable; every time he says “nigger,” he drops his voice and does not meet my eyes. I know that he does not want to say the word; he is following my lead. He does not want to say it because he is white; he does not want to say it because I am black. I feel my power as his professor... (American Scholar)

School district backs off after penny protest - Students get pardon after paying for lunch with pennies: Twenty-nine New Jersey students punished with two-day detentions after they used pennies to pay for their $2 lunches are getting a pardon. (MSNBC)

U.S. Backs Parents in Special Education Case: The Obama administration is siding with parents in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court about whether private school tuition can be reimbursed when a child has never received special education services in public school or even been enrolled in public school. "When a child with a disability has been denied a free appropriate public education, [the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act] authorizes an awardof private-school tuition reimbursement regardless of whether the child previously received public special education," says the brief filed by U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan in Forest Grove School District v. T.A. (Case No. 08-305). (School Law blog)

Campus Still Split After Jury Sides With Professor: A judge has yet to decide whether Ward L. Churchill, the controversial former University of Colorado professor, will get his job back, but on campus, some have already made up their minds. (N Y Times)

Education’s Odd Couple Do Their Act, and Provoke Controversy: Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who formed an alliance nearly a year ago, co-sponsored a conference of the Education Equality Project. (N Y Times)

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