Friday, April 27, 2012

Reading on Science, Social Studies Teachers' Agendas

To meet the expectations of the common standards,  
Kentucky's science and social studies teachers are  
incorporating language arts into their classes

This from Education Week:
Beth Fahlbush is moving from desk to desk, helping her high school juniors sharpen their essays. They're zeroing in on their lead paragraphs and hunting for the evidence they must marshal to build the bodies of their essays.

"If the evidence does not directly relate to your thesis, cut it out," Ms. Fahlbush tells one girl, who listens as she twists a strand of hair in her fingers. "Remember," the teacher says to a tall boy slouched in a nearby seat, "you are writing an argumentative essay. So you need to defend each of your points."

The teenagers in Room 122 of Scott High School, here in northern Kentucky, are not in English class. They're in U.S. history. And what's happening represents a leading edge of key changes that are taking shape as states and districts put the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts into practice

The seven middle and high schools here in Kenton County are among the first in the country to pilot a new approach to the discipline. It targets the most pivotal ideas in the standards, which demand that students become strong readers not only of fiction but of informational texts, and that they become writers able to wield research, analysis, and argumentation skills as powerful tools. Reflecting the standards themselves, the approach involves teachers of all subjects in teaching literacy skills pertinent to their disciplines.

Variations on those themes are echoing nationwide, since all but four states have adopted the standards and are now starting to grapple with how to turn them into instruction. As the first state to adopt the standards—in February 2010—Kentucky jumped into the work early.
Kenton County's version is guided by a set of teaching tools that were developed by the Literacy Design Collaborative, a loosely knit group of consultants working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has poured tens of millions in grants into supporting the common standards. More than 3,500 teachers in 50 districts in eight states, including Kentucky, are using the foundation's grants—and guidance—to try out the tools. The foundation is supporting a Mathematics Design Collaborative that is creating teaching tools for the math standards, as well. (The Gates Foundation also provides support for coverage of K-12 business and innovation in Education Week.)

The centerpiece of the English/language arts toolkit is a collection of "template tasks."Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader These short, fill-in-the-blank prompts are designed to open doors to instructional tasks that demand reading, writing, and analysis, and can be customized to each teacher's subject matter. They are structured to address three types of writing—argumentation, explanatory, and narrative—and nine types of cognitive process, such as synthesis, comparison, and evaluation.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The 3 Year Evolution of common Core

This from Education Week:

NEA supports resolution to roll back high-stakes testing

Educators urge officials to develop new accountability systems

This from the NEA:
The National Education Association has signed on to a resolution calling on federal and state policymakers to reduce standardized test mandates and base school accountability on multiple forms of measurement. Other initial signers include the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Parents Across America and the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest).

“The overuse of standardized tests for high stakes decisions has shortchanged students, teachers and our education system in too many ways for far too long,” said Dennis Van Roekel. “We’ve lost sight of the reason tests were designed—to help gauge students’ comprehension and progress.”

The resolution’s cosigners have joined with public education advocates Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier to urge state officials to “reexamine school accountability” and develop a system “which does not require extensive standardized testing, more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, and is used to support students and improve schools.”

NEA has been a strong and vocal advocate of developing new accountability systems. An NEA policy brief issued in 2011 recommends that “assessment systems be developed with the collaboration and agreement of educators and other key stakeholders; should take into account the multiple factors impacting a student’s learning beyond a teacher’s control; and should be designed according to principles that allow their use with students of diverse abilities and diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

The full text of the resolution is online at

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Common Core

This from Ed Week by way of Politics K-12:

Math, Literacy, & Common Standards

Nearly every state has signed on to use the Common Core State Standards as a framework for teaching English/language arts and mathematics to students. Translating them for the classroom, however, requires schools, teachers, and students to change the way they approach teaching and learning. This report examines the progress some states have made in implementing the standards, what preparations need to be undertaken, and the challenges that policymakers and educators face in achieving the goals of the standards.

Download the interactive PDF version of the report, Math, Literacy, & Common Standards.

Download the PDF version.
Whether the standards succeed will depend largely on how well they are translated from expectations to classroom instruction, advocates say.
April 23, 2012 - Education Week
Some districts have prepared their teachers on the new instructional approaches for the common core; others have done little.
April 23, 2012 - Education Week
To meet expectations of the common standards, Kentucky’s social studies and science teachers are teaching reading strategies.
April 23, 2012 - Education Week
The standards will change the grade levels at which some content is introduced, push aside other topics, and ask students to show their understanding.
April 23, 2012 - Education Week
As schools rewrite curricula, the timing is right for UDL, RTI, according to experts.
April 23, 2012 - Education Week
English-Learners will have to go beyond the fundamentals and master 'academic language,' experts say.
April 23, 2012 - Education Week

Father Wires Autistic Son, Publishes Recorded Verbal Abuse from Teachers

This from The Huffington Post:
When Stuart Chaifetz sent his 10-year-old son to New Jersey's Horace Mann Elementary School wearing a hidden audio recorder, he couldn't have predicted what he would uncover.
The move came in reaction to accusations from the school that his son Akian was having "violent outbursts," including hitting his teacher and teacher's aide -- claims that Chaifetz claims are against his son's "sweet and non-violent" nature
Akian, who has Autism, returned with a tape containing hours of apparent verbal and emotional abuse from his classroom aide and teacher -- whom Chaifetz identifies as "Jodi" and "Kelly" -- a recording which his father later published on YouTube.

The Feb. 17 recording started with Akian's aide and the teacher, whom Collingswood Patch provides evidence may be Jodi Sgouros and Kelly Altenburg, respectively, based on a previously published online staff directory.
The two engage in inappropriate conversations, like joking about their alcohol abuse and sex lives in front of their students -- all of whom have behavioral conditions and, according to Chaifetz, communication difficulties that prevent them from relaying the conversations to their parents.
"You would never get away with talking about your alcohol abuse the night before if this was a mainstream class," Chaifetz says in the YouTube video. "And that's the point, isn't it? They knew none of those boys could go home and tell their parents that the person who ran that class was under the influence of alcohol and was throwing up."
As the tape continues, the teacher and teacher's aide's behavior turns from inappropriate to cruel.
"Who are you talking to, nobody?" Kelly asked Akian, who sometimes talks to himself. "Knock it off," Jodi chimed in.
According to the video, Akian became upset, and starting crying.
"Go ahead and scream because guess what? You're going to get nothing until your mouth is shut," the classroom official is heard saying. "Shut your mouth."...

Monday, April 23, 2012

President Endorses Anti-Bullying Legislation

This from Politics K-12:
President Barack Obama today endorsed a pair of bills that would protect students who are bullied at school and in some cases, provide for students or their families to collect damages from school districts that don't act swiftly or strongly enough in students' defense.

In a statement, the White House said "the President and his Administration have taken many steps to address the issue of bullying. He is proud to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act, introduced by Senator [Al] Franken and Congressman [Jared] Polis, and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, introduced by Senator [Robert] Casey and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. These bills will help ensure that all students are safe and healthy and can learn in environments free from discrimination, bullying and harassment."

Earlier today, the White House hosted a screening of the new documentary "Bully".

The President's endorsement of the bill coincides with the National Day of Silence, a day designated by the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network to encourage people to take some form of a vow of silence to draw attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.

Obama has shown support for anti-bullying measures several times, including hosting a summit at the White House on bullying last year and speaking before the national broadcast of another bullying documentary that aired recently on the Cartoon Network.

"Today's announcement is a vital show of support to students everywhere of all identities, backgrounds and beliefs who face bullying and harassment in school," GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard said. "By speaking out on GLSEN's Day of Silence in support of these two critical bills, the President has given greater hope to students who often feel that they have nowhere to turn."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

From the Nation's Cartoonists

This from Clay Bennett at Slate:
This from Mike Luckovich:
This from Walt Handlesman:
This from Signe Wilkinson:
This from Jim Morin:
This from Marshall Ramsey:
This from Chan Lowe:
This from Signe Wilkinson:
This from Joel Pett:
this from Ben Sargent:
This from Walt Handlesman:
This from Marshall Ramsey:
This from Mike Thompson:
This from Marshall Ramsey:
This from Drew Sheneman:
This from Signe Wilkinson:
This from Chris Britt:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kentucky Supreme Court justices may favor JCPS in student-assignment suit

This from the Courier Journal:
Kentucky’s Supreme Court appeared willing Wednesday to uphold Jefferson County’s student-assignment plan — with several justices questioning whether state law guarantees students seats in their neighborhood schools.

Although no ruling was issued after more than 45 minutes of arguments, school board officials and advocates such as the Louisville NAACP said the seven justices’ comments have them hoping that they will overturn an appeals court ruling striking down the district’s plan. “You never can tell, but they appeared to be receptive to our arguments,” Jefferson County School Board Chairman Steve Imhoff said. “I feel pretty good.”
From Left, Justice Bill Cunningham, Justice Daniel Venters and Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson listen during the case before the Kentucky Supreme Court dealing with busing in Louisville during oral arguments in Frankfort. April 18, 2012
But Louisville attorney Teddy Gordon, who is representing several parents who sued the district after their children didn’t get a spot in their neighborhood schools, said he believes the justices will decide that state law supports his clients. Gordon persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007 to invalidate JCPS’ old desegregation plan because it looked at individual students’ race when assigning them to schools.

“I hope they’ll side with common sense,” said Chris Fell, one of the parents who sued JCPS and also is running for the school board in an attempt to abolish the diversity plan.

Attorneys do not know how long the justices will take to rule, which will determine if the district can keep a revised assignment policy that considers several factors, including neighborhood socioeconomics, to determine where students can attend school.

The tone of Wednesday’s questioning was much different from last fall, when a divided Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled against the district after harsh questioning, with one judge deriding voluntary integration as a failed “social experiment.”

By contrast, the high court justices hewed more closely to the legal issue at hand Wednesday — the parsing of language in a state statute.

“It’s not up to this court to decide the policy, we just have to (interpret) what the statute says,” Justice Daniel Venters said.

Kentucky law says parents may “enroll” a student at the school closest to their home. Gordon argued that the wording also entitles that student to attend the same school.

Attorneys for both sides agreed that the original law was passed in the 1970s as an attempt to thwart federal desegregation in Jefferson County. It was ruled unconstitutional while a decree was in place, but that decree was lifted in 2000.

Gordon contends the law now applies: “The contemplation (by lawmakers was that) these children go to the school where they enroll.”

But Byron Leet, an attorney for the district, argued that the legislature removed the word “attend” from the statute in 1990 to ensure that districts were allowed to make assignment decisions — not, as Gordon contended, to clean up redundant language.

There is no legislative record detailing the intent of the change.

“This case became a freewheeling political debate about the relative merits of neighborhood schools and desegregation. (But) the real issue is the statutory construction,” Leet said. “The only reasonable conclusion … (is that) when that word was taken out, the statute no longer dictates attendance.”

Venters pressed Leet on the meaning of enroll, citing a higher education case from Mississippi in which enroll meant to attend.

But Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson noted that enroll and attend have different dictionary meanings and that other Kentucky statutes distinguish between the two.

Justice Mary Noble asked if it was not a “reasonable inference” to consider the 1990 wording change purposeful, because the legislature at the time was aware that Jefferson County used an assignment system.

And she told Gordon that because JCPS uses clusters of elementary schools as an attendance district, “I don’t think you can argue that attendance district means the school closest to your home.”

Justice Wil Schroder asked if a neighborhood-school system would leave some overcrowded and others half empty, asking, “Isn’t that why we have a school board and elect individuals to decide who goes where?”

Leet also was asked if a right to attend the nearest school would be difficult to implement.

“It would not be difficult, it would be impossible,” Leet said. “Because of where buildings are and populations aren’t, everyone can’t attend the closest school.”

Gordon disagreed, saying the district has already considered the prospect during previous challenges, arguing that a neighborhood schools plan could be “created by the mere push of a button in today’s computer world.”

After the hearing, Gordon said districts should stop spending money to move children among schools, instead making sure all schools provide a better education. He said busing is harming student education, as evidenced by some schools’ low test scores.

Parent Belinda Abernethy, also one of the plaintiffs in the case who watched the arguments, said she isn’t sure how the court will rule. But she said even if the justices overturn the appeals court decision, she believes the lawsuit already has been successful.

“We’ve brought attention to the issue,” she said, noting that the school board recently enacted changes aimed at reducing bus-ride times, partly as a result of parent complaints.

Among the assignment-plan supporters attending Wednesday were Raoul Cunningham, president of the Louisville NAACP, and Georgia Powers, the first African American elected to the state Senate.

Powers said she hopes the high court leaves the plan in place because it helps avoid resegregating schools by race and income. She said she saw the disadvantages of segregated schools growing up.

“We’ve come so far in Jefferson County, and I don’t want to take a step back,” she said.

Techno Trouble

KSN&C had run into some technical trouble recently and some high end anti-virus filters have been kicking the site out. Others reported being redirected to other sites...heaven forbid.

The problem had to do with Google flagging Blogorama as a bad site and apparently sites that contained the Blogorama script were affected.  After getting some help from Blogger I thought I had the problem resolved.

Yesterday, I got two more reports of anti-virus alerts from readers.

I removed more script in hopes of resolving the issue.

Thanks to the folks at KSBA, Bluegrass Institute, and Jefferson County Schools for the alert.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kentucky Supreme Court Hears JCPS Student Assignment Arguments

This from WFPL:
The Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments this Wednesday in Frankfort on a case that could force Jefferson County Public Schools to change its student assignment plan.

An appellate court ruled against JCPS last year, saying Kentucky students have the right to attend the same school where they enroll, or their neighborhood school. But JCPS argues state statute allows the district to transport students to meet certain diversity goals.

If the high court upholds the previous court’s ruling, JCPS may have to redesign its student assignment plan, which the district has already done once this year.

Attorney Byron Leet, who represents the Jefferson County Board of Education, said he has not had any discussions with JCPS officials as to what the district plans to do if the court rules against the district again.
“I think there are still issues yet to be pursued in the event that the Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals, but frankly that’s not something I’m focused on,” said Leet.

Plaintiff attorney Teddy Gordon (pictured with parent Chris Fell, one of the plaintiffs in the case) said the district could request that the U.S. Supreme Court hear the case, but it’s not likely Leet and JCPS would have a case...

Cell video shows five-year-old being bullied by teen

This from WYMT:
A shocking attack on a school bus caught on tape. Tonight a mother says video shows her five-year-old son being picked up and thrown around by a 17-year-old student.

Now the Lee County School District and the Sheriff's Office have started an investigation.
"When I seen and heard that video, I hurt for my boy," said Sabrina Ross.

In the video recorded by a fellow student on a Lee County School bus two-weeks ago, Ross says, the 17-year-old not only kicked her son, but picked him up, carried him over his shoulder and threw him into a seat near the front of the bus.

"There were responsibilities that I feel like the bus driver didn't take," she said. "He should have pulled over, and addressed the situation."

But Ross claims, not only was the incident not reported, the bus driver says he didn't see anything.

"The student grabs my son and walks up to the front of the bus and throws Robert, how did the driver not see that?" Ross questions.

According to Jim Evans, Lee County Schools Superintendent, the investigation was turned over to the Lee County Sheriff's Office. But Evans says, the district is conducting an investigation of its own and disciplinary action against the student and bus driver will be part of that investigation.

"I just don't want any child to go through something like this," Ross explained. "Nobody deserves to be treated like that, especially a little defenseless boy."

Robert who suffers from multiple learning disabilities is also an open heart surgery survivor.

"I took him to the doctor after the attack, and the doctor said one hit the wrong way, could have killed him."

Ross is in the process of pressing charges now.

"I want justice, not just for my son, but for any child who is the victim or could become the victim of bullying."

Professor Bests Iowa Education Official in ACT

This from KCRG
A challenge over the ACT college readiness exam ended in stalemate of opinions from a college professor skeptical about standardize testing and the Iowa's top education official who believes it's an important measure.

University of Kentucky professor Scott McLeod in February challenged Gov. Terry Branstad and state lawmakers to take the ACT after the governor called for all Iowa high school juniors to take either the ACT or SAT exams.

He didn't get any takers, but Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass said he'd take the ACT, and dared McLeod to do the same.

McLeod, an educational leadership professor, said his goal was to get an up-close look at the ACT. Sixty-one percent of the state's graduating seniors took the test last year.

Glass said they were taking the ACT for fun, but discussion about college and career readiness is real,

The two men sat down on Monday at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines and took the four-hour test. Both finished with scores that mirrored their performance as high school students, The Des Moines Register ( ) reported after the results were released.

Glass received a composite score of 27 out of 36, landing him in the 88th percentile of test-takers. McLeod finished in the 99th percentile with a composite score of 34. Iowa's average statewide composite school for students in the Class of 2011 was 22.3. The national average was 21.1.

"I think it was a really good experience, our goal was to learn from this," Glass said. "Having been two decades or more from when we last took an assessment of this form, it's a good experience to get a refresher on what we're asking our students to do."

Glass and McLeod, who both have doctorates, said they found the test challenging. It includes English, reading, science and math tests...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Who is M A Cassidy?

I’ve been writing on deadline recently to complete revisions on an article on M. A. Cassidy with graduate researcher Lindsey DeVries. I was going to call it “Massillon Alexander Cassidy: Progressive Schoolman,” but lately have been leaning more toward “A Southern Progressive: M. A. Cassidy and the Lexington Schools, 1885-1928.” It will appear in the next volume of the American Educational History journal. 

I did my student teaching in 1972 at Cassidy School, under the supervision of my predecessor, some 23 years later, Principal Dorothy Friend. I always thought it was a great school. The kids were treated with respect. When I moved my family to Lexington in 1985, I knew where I wanted my own children to attend school. For almost two decades as the principal of the school that bears his name, I was in possession of a quantity of historical data about Cassidy. I have always wanted to learn more about the numerous progressive initiatives of the hard-working school superintendent. He is arguably the best example of how progressivism manifested itself in Kentucky’s schools. As is frequently the case when reviewing school records retained by the school, I read the good news – as opposed to all of the news.

Previously, I had been principal of two schools whose names came from the communities where they were located; Ryland Heights in Kenton County, and Meadowthorpe in Lexington. Both had the usual local historical memorabilia; neither assembled into any kind of historical account, as I recall. When the building was built, some names of teachers and administrators, and a bunch of photos (perhaps a yearbook), news clippings…was what one found.

But when I became the principal of Cassidy Elementary, I inherited not only the school, but the man. A very large portrait of the man still adorns the first floor hallway as a reminder to all of the wonderful deeds of our namesake. Well, not really.  We weren’t exactly sure of just what those deeds were. But surely he must have been wonderful to have merited such a remembrance. More impressive is his tombstone in the Lexington Cemetery. 

So, who was M. A. Cassidy? When I studied the record, what would I find?

I will confess to a bias in favor of effective school administration and Cassidy was very competent. He led people. I respect that because it’s important work. Folks who do it well are valuable.

Our review of school board records, personal letters, newspaper and scholarly accounts paints a picture of a popular superintendent who transformed the modest schools of Lexington from an undistinguished collection of dilapidated common schools, into to a more efficient system of graded schools, with improved buildings and better trained teachers, while preaching the gospel of literacy and expanding equality of educational opportunity, in a remarkably even-handed fashion for his time, to an increasing number of children. Under his watch, the schools in Lexington grew to enjoy a national reputation for quality. High praise, indeed.

Cassidy was one of a new breed of New South superintendents who maintained the long-standing interest in moral and civic training emblematic of 19th century schoolmen, but now saw the school as a vehicle to solve social problems and advance national progress.

Upon reviewing the impressive list of Cassidy’s progressive, child-centered initiatives, one might guess that he was dispatched by John Dewey to bring Lexington into the 20th century. But the data reveals a much more nuanced set of conditions which portray Cassidy as a distinctively southern-style reformer who held conservative and progressive ideals in equal measure.  

Problematic is the proper casting of the ex-Tennessean’s racial politics, which, while clearly racist, were consistent with the vast majority of Lexingtonians early in the 20th century. Cassidy moved to the north, and found a “southern” state where his racial attitudes were a good fit with the white Democratic majority: at once, progressive and paternalistic; concerned but condescending. 

Conversely, the data present a clear record of Cassidy’s staunch support for black education including cooperation with black leaders, the establishment and improvement of schools for blacks, and the creation of a black teacher association and teacher-training institutes. Cassidy distinguished himself, remarkably, by insisting that schools for black children in Lexington would be up to the same standards as schools for whites. 

In Golden Deeds, his nationally recognized book and character development program, Cassidy shows no reluctance in praising Abraham Lincoln and other heroes who were white, black, men and women. He believed that women should be educated as much as they want, but that their best purpose was in the home. The data illustrate a southern accomodationist’s approach to white supremacy.  

Illustrative of the breadth of miscegenation fears at the time was the U.S. Supreme Court’s acceptance of white supremacy as a matter of “science” in Berea College v Commonwealth (1908). Reasoning that interracial marriage would “destroy the purity of blood and the identity of each [race],” and that prejudice was simply nature’s guard against that unnatural amalgamation, prohibitions against miscegenation went unquestioned by the court. The majority went so far as to argue that it was a credit to America’s civilized society that “the stronger race” did not simply “annihilate the weaker race” and in that way, the law that made it illegal for black and white kids to go to school together, preserved the peace. (See upcoming article in the Journal of Negro Education with Roger Cleveland and June Hyndman).

Cassidy belonged to that class of southern accommodationist progressives who made education their career, utilized the expertise of science and business to efficiently reshape civic life, and who saw themselves as the teachers and guardians of subordinate African Americans in whom they would cultivate some measure of collaboration and consent.

Deadlocked Negotiators Fail to Reach Consensus on Teacher-Prep Rules

This from Teacher Beat:  
Following a three-hour telephone call with negotiators during which consensus seemed frustratingly out of reach on new teacher preparation accountability rules, the U.S. Education Department declined to extend the rulemaking process any further, meaning it will craft the rules on its own.
The final wedge issue on the conference call ended up being a familiar one: student-achievement outcomes.
Several negotiators said they didn't feel that such measures as "value added" were ready to be used to judge program quality.
The breakdown in the process came as an abrupt about-face from last week, when negotiators seemed somewhat closer to an agreement.
But by the beginning of the conference call held this afternoon, the divisions among negotiators seemed to have grown more deep-set, with consensus far from imminent.

The Education Department's proposal would have required states to classify their teacher-preparation programs into four categories, using a mix of measures including student-achievement information. Only those in the top two categories would have qualified to offer TEACH grants for low-income students who commit to teaching in hard-to-staff schools.
The student-achievement piece has been a thorny one from day one. But during the second rulemaking session, the negotiators appeared to have reached a compromise on the matter.
Unexpectedly, the issue raised its head again today....

Sealed Rotenberg Video Finally Played in Court

After Eight Years, Video of Autistic Student Electroshocked by Teachers Finally Goes Public

KSN&C Backstory (2007 here) (2008 here , here, here, herehere, and here)

This from Jezebel:
For decades, critics have attacked the Rotenberg Center in Boston — which was originally founded to treat severely autistic and mentally disabled children but also accepts kids with ADHD, mental illnesses, and juvie rap sheets — for its use of electric shock therapy. (You may recall Jennifer Gonnerman's 2006 Mother Jones piece, in which she described a 9-year-old with electrodes strapped to his legs so staffers could easily zap him for minor transgressions, and a 15-year-old girl who actually held up a sheet of paper that said "HELP US" as she walked by her classroom.) One mother, Cheryl McCollins, has been trying to sue the school since 2002, after her teenage son Andre received permanent brain damage due to being shocked 31 times in one day for refusing to take off his coat in a new classroom. He's now heavily medicated and state institutionalized, and it doesn't look like he's going to get better anytime soon. This week, she convinced a judge to show a recorded video of Andre's ordeal to not only the jury, but the public as well.
The video's release is a huge victory for the Center's opponents, since the school convinced a judge to seal the video eight years ago and its attorneys tried their best to stop it from going public this week. "These are dramatic tapes, there's no question about that," said one lawyer. "But the treatment plan at the Rotenberg Center, the treatment plan that Andre had in place on October 25, was followed." McCollins disagreed. "I never signed up for him to be tortured, terrorized and abused," she told the jury. "I had no idea, no idea, that they tortured the children in the school." She also testified that she could hear staff members laugh while her son lay catatonic on the floor.
The Rotenberg Center has not publicly commented on the case, but the PR firm that represents it released a statement saying that "JRC educates and treats the most difficult behaviorally involved students in the country and administers the (shocks) to treat severe behavior disorders only after other treatments have failed and a court order is obtained to do so at the request of the student's parents and doctor." But it doesn't look like their excuses will bail them out this time.
This from Fox News:

Disturbing video of teen being shocked played in court

Video of a student restrained and shocked for hours at the Judge Rotenberg Center was played in court on Tuesday after a years-long battle by the center to keep it from the public eye.

The video, which shows former resident Andre McCollins screaming, writhing in pain, and begging for help, was played at the start of McCollins’ trial against the Canton-based Judge Rotenberg Center.

The Rotenberg Center convinced a judge eight years ago to seal the video, and the battle continued up until Tuesday morning when their attorneys asked Superior Court Judge Barbara Dortch-Okara to bar FOX Undercover’s camera from recording the video as it was played.

Dortch-Okara denied the center’s request, clearing the way to give the public the first look at how these controversial electric shocks are used. The video was taken by one of the center’s classroom cameras.

McCollins, then 18 years old, was shocked 31 times that day in 2002. Lawyers for the center and its clinicians say it was part of the treatment he needed to quell his aggressive behavior.

“These are dramatic tapes, there’s no question about that,” said attorney Edward Hinchey, who represents two of the Rotenberg Center’s clinicians. “But the treatment plan at the Rotenberg Center, the treatment plan that Andre had in place on October 25, was followed.”

It was an emotional day for McCollins’ mother, Cheryl, who was in court watching as the beginning of her son’s ordeal was played.

Andre is shown seated at a desk inside a classroom as a staff member asks him several times to remove his coat. He stays still, apparently not responding or removing his coat, until he is given a shock.

He screams and falls to the floor, yelling as he tries to hide under his desk. He was eventually restrained face-down, a helmet on his head, without breaks for food, water or the bathroom.

“I never signed up for him to be tortured, terrorized and abused,” Cheryl McCollins told the jury. “I had no idea, no idea, that they tortured the children in the school.”

She also testified what her son was like when she visited him three days later after the incident. She said she found him in a “catatonic” state.

“I couldn’t turn Andre’s head to the left or the right. He was just staring straight. I took my hands and went like this,” she said, waving them as if in front of his eyes. “He didn't blink.”

McCollins did get Andre to Children's Hospital that day, where he was diagnosed with acute stress response caused by the shocks. The jury also heard her testify about watching the video and hearing staff members laughing while her son was on the floor.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Light Blogging Ahead

Well, not "from now on," but blogging is going to have to take a backseat to scholarship in the near future. I've just had several proposed efforts hit all at once. In the immediate future my attention is going to have to go to
  • a local presentation at UK on bullying
  • a local presentation at EKU on the legal history of inequity in Kentucky schools
  • a national publication (accepted with revisions) on M A Cassidy
  • a book chapter (accepted)on Education Reform in Kentucky: Just What the Court Ordered
  • an international paper and presentation (accepted)on the legal and political hurdles to late 20th century school reform in Kentucky
  • an international presentation on bullying (in the works)
  • a handbook for EKU's new 200 hour co-op - part of our expanding clinical pre-service teaching experience 
  • a redesign of my course EDF 203: Philosophical and Historical Foundations of Education
So, try not to do anything Earth-shattering until I get back.