A Clockwork strange

A fine mess at Noble Network of Charter Schools (NNCS) in the windy city. The organization operates 10 charter high schools in Chicago, serving about 6500 students. From 2008-2011 NNCS collected nearly $400,000 in fines from the high school ruffians for egregious conduct, including:

  • Not tucking in shirt
  • Tardy to class
  • Potato chips brought to school
  • Dozing in class

And our favorite infraction...not tying shoelaces properly.

About half of the kids fail the mandatory state exams each year, but they are really getting a great lesson in misapplied behaviorist theory.

STORY: Some Students Really Pay for Breaking the Rules

Tough times

This is truly a sweet deal for execs who run for-profit colleges and universities. Given the high pressure of new federal regulations that have cut into the profit margin, about 60 exec needed a break in Tahoe, hitting the spas and cocktail lounges for some serious networking and R & R. They are understandably stressed over new fed regulations that have resulted in closer scrutiny regarding student debt and no job prospects as they graduate. The for-profits garner over $30 billion/year in the form of student loans and grants from the fed. The payback?
Disproportionate loan defaults and low job placements. Solution... bottoms up and hit the hot tubs heavy in Tahoe.

STORY: For-Profit College Chiefs Unwind At Lavish Tahoe Resort

Big Bloomberg is watching

NYPD conducts routine surveillance on Muslim college students, including daily reviews of student websites, blogs, and most recently undercover presence at a rafting trip near Buffalo attended by Muslim undergrads from the City College of New York. Although Mayor Bloomberg defends such invasion of privacy, we must agree with Yale President Richard Levin who stated 

"I am writing to state, in the strongest possible terms, that police surveillance based on religion, nationality, or peacefully expressed political opinions is antithetical to the values of Yale, the academic community, and the United States." 

STORY: Bloomberg And Yale President Richard Levin Face Off On Police Surveilling Muslim Students

A tough pill to swallow

If Utah State House Bill HB363 is passed we expect a big baby boom coming to our Mormon brethren. Under the bill which appears to have enough traction to pass into law, schools would have two options:

  1. Teach abstinence only sex education classes
  2. Eliminate sex education from the required curriculum.
Forget about STD's, planned parenthood, and while your are at it, masturbation. Save yourself for a polygamous marriage and do not wed anyone from another state where primitive thinking like "knowledge is powerful and choice is good" prevails. And please stay away from those damn liberal Europeans! In fact, incest may be the best way to maintain purity in Utah.

STORY: Abstinence-Only Sex Education Bill In Utah Prohibits Teaching Contraception

A pox on your people

Once again, sports bring out the best of us! At a recent hockey game between the University of Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota, fans "peppered" the Fighting Sioux with war woops and small pox blankets. The pox blankets were in historical reference to claims that white settlers infested the native tribes with blankets carrying the deadly disease. Time to pull the goalie on this nonsense. Ban the fans from all future games until they act like normal hockey fans...just get drunk and start fights!

STORY: Fighting Sioux Hockey Game Site Of Offensive Chants

Rotten Georgia Peach

Tanya serves as the Director of Concerned Women for America in Georgia. She recently testified as the sole voice of opposition to a state bill that "would ban discrimination against LGBT state employees -- like public school teachers." Her comparison of homosexuality to necrophilia, voyeurism and pedophilia may be based on personal experience! Or perhaps her husband has likened their sex life as corpse-like in nature. Despite all other testimony supporting the bill, it has been tabled...dead on arrival!

STORY: Tanya Ditty, Georgia Teacher, Compares Homosexuality To Necrophilia, Voyeurism, Pedophilia (VIDEO)

Gimme that old time religion

Alabama State Rep. Blaine Galliher introduced a bill on behalf of Joe Kennedy, former teacher who was fired from his teaching position because he refused to stop reading the bible and teaching creationism in the public schools. If passed, students could opt to take creationism courses off campus, at churches, to study creationism for credit. Perhaps they can substitute these courses for actual science classes, hence avoiding nasty evidenced based science...science is too hard for Bama, but the bible tells us so! Such a curriculum would really serve these kids well as they enter the job market in the 17th century.

STORY: Alabama Bill Will Allow Churches To Teach Religion Classes To Public School Students

Your cheatin heart will make me weep

The Atlanta Public School System placed 120 teachers on paid leave this year while the investigation of one of the nation's largest cheating scandals evolves. Because the investigation may continue for some time, 90 tenured teachers may have their contracts renewed for next year in order to protect their property rights to employment under tenure rulings. We support due process, but if these teachers are found guilty, they should be immediately terminated and forced to repay salary and fringe benefit costs, including this years paid leave.

STORY: Atlanta Teachers In Cheating Scandal Could Get Another Year Contract

There's an app for that

This new application of a very simplistic behavior management tool continues to push forth an approach that lacks a critical element in shaping positive behavior...it does not engage the children in the understanding of what is important. ClassDojo jumps on the tech bandwagon with glitz...student avatars, smart phone applications, cool graphics...which are fine...but promotes the view that classroom management is something we do TO kids as opposed to something we do WITH kids. Big difference.

STORY: Is ClassDojo A Teacher's Answer To Controlling The Class? (VIDEO) (PICTURES)

Spittin nails

More wonderful adult modeling of how to handle a confrontation comes from Beach Channel High School in the big apple. Mr. P was caught on video swatting and spitting on students. Dave has been reassigned to administrative offices, and it is rumored he must spend the entire day watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding scenes...spitting on someone is good luck...as he prepares to defend his behavior.

STORY: David Pecoraro, 'Serial Spitter' Teacher, Swats At, Spits on Student (VIDEO)

Steer clear!

No bull at Pioneer Career and Technology Center in Shelby, Ohio!  Kucic was attacked while conducting an on-site classroom meat processing demonstration. The 1,200 pound steer was on his way to be put down when, in a last ditch effort to stay his execution, he flipped Kucic in the air. We hope Bill recovers and we encourage a VO-Agriculture course in Veganism to prevent future mishaps.

STORY: Bill Kucic, Teacher, Attacked By Steer At School (VIDEO)

Big return on investment

As mom and dad and their high school seniors wrestle with making final choices for post-secondary education, our friends at College Humor offer some critically important information generally left out of college recruiting brochures. We recall a college recruiter from the dark ages (1970) who informed us at a college fair, that his university had 51 bars within a 3 mile radius of campus and that 3-2 beer was served in the student union. Never made it to all 51 bars during the freshman year but sure did make an honest effort to do so. By the way, the student union started serving at 11am!! Bottoms up.!

STORY: The Top 10 Slacker Colleges


Higher education is cashing in on the Occupy movement by offering a variety of courses at a number of colleges and universities. Let's suggest that they include in the curriculum disclosure as to how heavily invested the institutions are in Wall street, how many donors are 1% ers, and why so many college grads leave with huge debt and no job prospects. Other wise, sexy title to a course, but probably little else.

STORY: Occupy Wall Street Heads To Class With College Courses On The Movement

Show me the money

With an abysmal 14% graduation rate in 2010-2011, Charter school Dohn Community High School in Cincinnati seems desperate! They will pay, upon graduation, $25/week to seniors and $10/week to underclassman to show up on time and behave. Learning anything important appears optional or perhaps kids will get huge signing bonuses. This kind of lame approach will continue as long as the curriculum and expectations fail to engage kids as active partners in  learning.

STORY: Ohio High School Paying Students To Show Up, Behave In Class

Home cookin in DC

This guy must have had his butt kicked regularly playing one-on-one, and always went home crying out "I'm taking the ball with me!" Ricky is so distraught over public schooling that, if elected (please God, NO!), he will home school his kids. Great way for the president to engage in public school reform...just withdraw. Problems with the Department of Agriculture? Plow up the White House lawn and plant your own crops. Problems with energy policy? Sink a well right next to the Rose Garden! Global warming? Just crank up the AC in the Oval Office. Ticked off at health care? Just give the kids a daily dose of castor oil! Problems in the bedroom? Don't even want to imagine that scene.

STORY: Rick Santorum Slams Education System, Will Home-School Children At White House

Abnormal curve

Don't call him a genius! Moshe disdains this label...he is just a kid who enrolled in college at age 8, earned two Associates Degrees by age 11 (perfect 4.0 GPA), and is set to graduate from UCLA with a degree in mathematics at age 14. He has published the English version of his book, We Can Do, thanks to inspiration from professor Richard Avila at East LA Community College. Moshe' advice...

  • ANYONE can realize their dreams.
  • Be focused and totally committed.
  • Limit TV to 4 hours per week. 
We believe him. Our current metrics that attempt to measure human potential are woefully inadequate and serve to limit rather than expand optimal learning.

STORY: Moshe Kai Cavalin, 14-Year-Old Boy Genius, Writes Book Revealing Life In College At Age 8 (VIDEO)

Cashing in

While this may seem heresy to some, we see great potential in shifting decisions to the consumers...the actual students. Under the proposal, students in grades 9-12 would have $6,400 per year to spend on their customized, individualized plans of study. They could enroll in courses at the public high schools, universities, technical schools and/or public on-line offerings. Any money left unspent would move into an individual account to be used for post-secondary education. Imagine...students selecting classes and teachers as well! Theoretically, great teachers would be in higher demand, perhaps garnering them higher salaries. Poor teachers = less demand= lower salaries. We fully support this debate and always support empowering choice made by students! Power to the pupil as it were.

STORY: Utah Bill Would Give Public Education Money Directly To Student 'Savings Accounts,' Not Schools

Sex ED

The recent scandal at Miramonte School is underscored by a recent AP investigative report that found 2,570 sex offenses committed by educators between 2001 and 2005 for which the educators were terminated. This calculates to nearly 3 offenses per school day across the nation. The report also suggests that the offenses are under-reported across the nation. There are nearly 3 million teachers in the US and although the sex offenders represent a very small percentage of the profession, the conduct of a few casts a long shadow on the profession.

STORY: AP: Sexual misconduct plagues U.S. schools

Aye Chiuaua!

Lets blame Title I, high stress assessment, Friday and a tough week for this lapse in professionalism! Throw in solar flares, full moon and PMS while we are at it. Shirley was distributing Title I forms to her eighth graders at Barnett Junior High when a student asked for the Spanish version. Not an unreasonable request given the high % of Hispanic students in the school district. Bunn tried to explain that this was not available in Spanish (why not?) but the student persisted..."I'm Mexican." Bunn's response..."then go back to Mexico."  She is on a paid leave while the school district determines her ultimate fate. This reminds me of a high school science teacher who once lamented that the Puerto Rican students ought to only speak English at all times in school. If they were going to try to be Americans, they needed to talk like Americans. When I informed him that they were indeed American citizens, he said..."No they aren't, they're Puerto Ricans!" Scary but true story.

STORY: Shirley Bunn: 'Teacher Of The Year' Suspended For Offensive Comment, Telling Hispanic Student To 'Go Back To Mexico'

No Child Big Behind

Another "Too big to fail" story. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention  reports that nearly 17% of US children are overweight or obese...a three fold increase over the previous generation. As a result, school furniture manufacturers are seizing on this as a  "growth opportunity" (couldn't resist this) by designing the bigger and better school desk. We are envisioning huge lazy-boys with built-in beverage holders and snack trays. They should continue to profit as long as schools try to solve budget problems by slashing Health and Physical Education Programs, extracurricular wellness programs, limit and/or eliminate recess, and continue to pimp sugary beverages and snacks in the vending machines.

STORY: School Desks Too Small For Obese Children

Hot for teacher

Van Halen goes to higher education! A 56 year-old college student completed journal entries as part of his Advanced Critical Writing class at Oakland University in Detroit. He found his professor attractive and likened her and another female prof to characters from Gilligan's Island (Ginger and Mary Ann). The result...a one year suspension and mandatory sensitivity training. Joe was asked to stop after his first entry was found to be offensive, but he just couldn't help himself. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) finds this suspension a "wild Overreaction" and plans to appeal the suspension. Oakland University should put in place some preventative measures...cease to hire attractive faculty members, or impose a strict faculty dress code...perhaps recycling prison jump suits. Finally, try to block transmission of episodes of Gilligan's Island little buddy.

 STORY: Joseph Corlett, Oakland University Student Barred For Calling His Teacher Hot In His Writing Assignment

Eat mor chikin

Yet another example of a school that must have solved all of the big problems facing public education! West Hoak (did they mean Hoax?) Elementary School in North Carolina recently confiscated the brown baggie of a pre-schooler. The offensive foods?  Turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips and apple juice. A state food inspector...are you kidding...replaced the lunch with chicken nuggets. Yummy and so wholesome.
We need to encourage kids to eat well, but food police seems a bit invasive, yes? Lets schedule a field trip to the nearest corporate poultry factory.

STORY: School Lunch Guidelines: Preschooler Told Homemade Turkey Sandwich Not Nutritious Enough, Given Nuggets Instead

Life long learner

We highly recommend that you read this compelling personal success story of Priscilla Santiago! She had a horrific childhood and through will, determination and encouragement to pursue her education, she earned her GED, Associates degree and in 2011, her Bachelors degree from Post University. This IS the power of education and we congratulate this Great Grandmother ( she is truly great!) and all those who helped her realize her dream. Investing in dreams is the best investment we can ever make!

STORY: Going To College At 63: 'You're Never Too Old To Live Your Dream'

Sleeping with the enemy

Of all the things to do in the West Village, these young New York University College Republicans selected a slumber party honoring Newt Gingrich. Newt's troubled past with women...No problem for these co-eds. As Gingrich slides in the polls, perhaps these campaign antics will push him to the top!

STORY: NYU College Republican Girls Have A Newt Gingrich Themed Sleepover (PHOTOS)

700 dirty words you can't say in Arizona

Where is George Carlin when you need him? Arizona State Senate Bill 1467 proposes to suspend or terminate teachers at public schools and universities for using language banned for TV under the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) indecency policy. WTF? Holy sh-t? Does this apply to coaches too? How will they communicate to players? Arizona must have solved all of the important issues facing public education to spend time on this nonsense. One final question...does the rule apply to dirty words in Spanish?

STORY: FCC Rules On 'Dirty Words' Could Be Used In Arizona Schools (VIDEO)

The unkindest cut of all

No more pencils, no more books...really! A recent survey of US teens reveals what they have personally experienced as a result of defunding and devaluing public education. Instead of increasing the percentage of our GDP in education, the US continues to lag behind. The result...

  • Lack of basic resources
  • Lack of texts and computers
  • Cuts to extracurricular programs and/or pay to play
  • Charged for bus transportation
  • Cuts to music, art and PE
  • No where to sit in the overcrowded classroom and crumbling infrastructure.
Maybe we need to get Haliburton in the school biz...should see some funding improvement. That is if they aren't too busy building more prisons. No shortage of funding there.

STORY: School Budget Cuts: How Students Say Slashes Are Affecting Them

A fine mess

Yet another mindless and misguided application of a bastardized version of behaviorism. LA voted to end a policy that imposed the following penalties for being tardy:

  • Fines up to $800.
  • Police search, cuff, and detain students.
  • Required court appearances so kids could miss more school time and parents could miss work.
We applaud the student activists that protested this policy, often wearing orange prison jumpsuits. Civil rights activists also point out the disproportionate penalties applied to black and Latino students. Another example of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Police and the courts have bigger issues to deal with, and we are glad to see a return to reason.

STORY: LAUSD Truancy Fines: Students Protest $250 Fines For Being Late; City Council Set To Vote (VIDEO)

Ignorance is bliss

It comes as no surprise that our teens are short on competitive knowledge for Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit.
However, we are less concerned about recall of trivia as we are about deep understanding and meaningful applications of information. Improving recall of isolated information for a test will not serve this generation well so lets stop worrying about trivia and start doing something about meaningful learning. Only then will our children be able to compete where it counts.

STORY: 'Lunch Scholars' Video Reveals American Teens Can't Answer Basic Trivia (VIDEO)

Let my people.......stay!

These evil lil' varmints are at it again, and we don't mean the children. Out-of-school suspension for kids who are developmentally unready to understand that not being able to go to school is actually supposed to be a punishment, is pure folly. On the other hand, for lots of kids of all ages, staying home from school is never seen as a deterrent...more of a reward. It does not teach, it only punishes.

STORY: School Suspensions Not Uncommon For D.C.'s Elementary School Students

Its showtime!

Dallas Independent School District celebrated Black History Month by...discriminating against girls of all colors! They bussed over 5,000 5th grade boys to see Red Tails and left the girls back at school to watch Akeelah and the Bee. Both great films, but why were the girls left back? Lots of lame excuses prevailed from the school district:

"We thought the boys would like Red Tails better."  ANYONE ASK THE GIRLS?

"The theater had limited seating." 5700 BOYS AT ONE SHOWING?

"We regularly schedule gender-specific events." BECAUSE.....?????

STORY: Dallas School Girls Excluded From 'Red Tails' Movie Screening, Bussed Thousands Of Boys To Event

COD damn!

Something fishy from our Canadian friends.  Ten-year old Christian Roberts was removed from the classroom at Twillingate Island Elementary and then doused with Fabreze by his teacher. She is apparently part of the Canadian Mounted Olfactory Police and was offended by the smell of this kids lunch. When first contacted by the outraged parent, the teacher just hung up. We know that Newfoundland is not known for its fashion sense, but didn't realize that Fabreze is the perfume of choice in the great white north. O Canada?!

STORY: Teacher Accused of Spraying Febreze on "Fishy" Student

Orangemen real lemons on free speech

"Syracuse, as a matter of policy, promises that "[s]tudents have the right to express themselves freely on any subject" and that "Syracuse University ... welcomes and encourages the expression of dissent." 

Well...not really. As education major Adam Kissel was tutoring last summer at Danforth Middle School, he heard from a member of the city's Concerned Citizen Action Program (CCAP):

(who) "complained aloud that city schools should hire more teachers from historically black colleges--in the presence of Matt and another white student teacher." Matt posted on Facebook that he found this discriminatory...and Syracuse decided to abridge his First Amendment Rights. After making Adam jump through an inordinate number of ridiculous hoops, they finally gave in and he was reinstated...but only after a national press release publicizing his plight. Time to rename the Tully Center for Free Speech to...
Keepa U Mouth Shut til U Graduate Center.

STORY: Syracuse Expels Education Student for Criticizing Racial Comment on Facebook, Then Folds Under Public Scrutiny

Imported from Detroit

We were delighted to watch our President interacting with these young scientists from around the USA and saw video of him firing off one youngster's marshmallow cannon in the White House! Adequate funding for STEM is long overdue...we need to revisit the investment in STEM to rival our post-Sputnik days. So much potential in young minds to tap and enrich! Time to put away the crosswords and seek-and-finds as methods to teach science.

STORY: Detroit Public Schools Students Show STEM Skills At White House Science Fair

Tiny Bubbles

Its the economy of higher education stupid! Student debt "now outpaces credit-card debt", approaching a trillion George Washingtons. The employment rate for young adults is at a 60 year low with public university students saddled with an average of $20K in debt and private university students carrying a whopping average of about $30K. These are averages for the statistically unenlightened. Imagine students at the upper reaches of the debt normal curve...maybe in excess of $100,000? What can we expect when this bubble bursts? Chain these students to low paying jobs where they are undervalued! Just like now.

STORY: S&P Warns Student Loans May Be The Next Bubble To Burst In US Economy

Reading gets down and dirty

Sasha created a stir last November when she served as a celeb guest reader at Emerson Elementary School in Compton, California. The National Education Association (NEA) wants no part of the proceeds from the retired porn star's adult film...no dirty dough for Reading Across America says the NEA. Just wondering if the NEA declines funding from companies that have "dirtied" own land, air and water, or if they refuse laundered
money as well. Seems...sorry for this... it was too easy...a bit anal retentive!

STORY: Sasha Grey Filmmaker To Donate 'Anal Artists' Proceeds To Read Across America, NEA Declines

The great Unequalizer

Long after Brown v Board of Ed I & II school districts resisted equality measures moving forward with "all deliberate speed." A half a century later, the surest way to keep a steady stream of under-educated, inexpensive, and expendable workers is to screw them at the one equalizer that has worked in the past...a quality education. Think of who benefits from disproportionate spending and under-investment in public education...you've got it. The 1% ers!

STORY: Education Gap Grows Between Rich And Poor, Studies Show

Not so private parts

Talk about hands-on learning! This version of the old "show and tell" took a new twist at PS189 in New York as parents reported  kindergarteners were exposing themselves, showing body parts, and simulating oral sex in the classroom while the teacher was present. One educator lamented that "teachers can't always see everything going on." Really? Shouldn't this one be on the priority radar screen? Maybe this was an OBGYN career day for the little tots.

STORY: Kindergarten Sex Games: New York School Parents Of Five-Year-Olds Outraged (VIDEO)

Know it all

Debbie wants to pull up the drawbridge to school buildings and leave parents outside the education moat. She spoke at a hearing on school choice in Michigan and essentially told officials that parents do not know what is best for their kids. We hope that she doesn't represent the majority view of the Michigan  Elementary & Middle School Principals Association. On the other hand, this pretty much cancels the need for those darn parent-teacher conferences and silly initiatives to form a meaningful partnership between parents and teachers...wonder what the PTA will do...bake sale anyone?

STORY: Debbie Squires, Education Official, Says Teachers Know What's Best For Kids, Not Their Parents (VIDEO)

Free at last

No more "stick but no carrot" approach for public education. Finally a more reasonable approach to lifting achievement in  public schools. This move is long overdue...but we would caution that if any standardized tests are to be used, they be universally applied and that innovative, break the 19th century model we currently employ be encouraged. Why not require all states to use NAEP (National Educational Progress) as a common benchmarking instrument? We fear the answer is from the multi-billion dollar test industry.
STORY: No Child Left Behind: 10 States Receive Waivers From Education Law's Sweeping Requirements

Suspended for checking his "suspension"

Nine-year old Lenny Boberg danced his little heart out at the St. Stan's talent show...and was summarily suspended by Principal Pat Bowlin. Pat was upset by Lenny's choreography that included the obligatory groin grabs the King of Pop made famous in Bille Jean. The Catholic school declined further comment, citing this as an internal matter. We are wondering if Lenny served as an altar boy and was coached in the offensive choreography by one of the clergy.

STORY: Michael Jackson Dance Performance Leads To Suspension For Minnesota Student Lenny Boberg

With friends like these...

There seems to be a shortage of intelligence at Albert Einstein High School in Montgomery County, Maryland. An anti-GLBT group, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) was permitted to send home literature with students conveying that there was something wrong with you if you are not heterosexual...that you shouldn't be convinced you are gay if "only one part of you tells you so." PFOX didn't explicitly identify which part that might be...leaving open one's imagination. What we can't imagine is a school sending this crap home with students.

STORY: 'Ex-Gay' Flyer Sent Home To Maryland Students Ignites Controversy (VIDEO)

In way over her head

Rubino successfully won back her teaching position after being terminated for posting the following on Facebook after a Harlem student drowned on a trip to Long Island:

"After today, I am thinking the beach sounds like a wonderful idea for my 5th graders! I HATE THEIR GUTS!" and...if a student was drowning, "Yes, I would [sic] not throw a life jacket in for a million!!" 

The City will fight her court ordered reinstatement and we are fully behind their appeal. Rubino says she is sorry and has paid for her mistake. Here is how the Old and New Testaments apply...you suffer the consequences for this egregious conduct (Old Testament God)...you are fired and will never teach again! (New Testament God)...you are forgiven,. These are not mutually exclusive. Fired and forgiven. End of story, not reinstated!  If the teacher's union is behind her reinstatement, shame on them. Forgive her but NEVER let her hold a teaching position again.

STORY: Christine Rubino, Teacher Who Said Kids Deserved To Drown, Getting Job Back; City Vows To Fight (VIDEO)

Tag you're it

Kudos to Principal Bill Sprung from Washington Elementary School in New Ulm, Minnesota for calmly and effectively handling this bizarre variation of freeze tag! As soon as he was contacted by parents who witnessed about two dozen fifth graders playing rape tag, he immediately

  • Notified teachers and recess supervisors
  • Had teachers talk to the fifth grade students
  • Sent a letter home to parents

Proactive, appropriate and professional leadership by Mr. Sprung. The kids were not simply punished mindlessly.

STORY: 'Rape Tag' Playground Game Upsets Minnesota Parents (VIDEO)

Lenin and Trotsky alive in Iowa

The Cold War rages on in Iowa as a teacher at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines  had students study the topic on a worksheet depicting the differences between capitalism and communism in cartoon form. Although many have weighed in on this issue as a form of communist propaganda (we kid you not), let's consider another angle...WORKSHEETS??? ARE YOU KIDDING? Could this teacher have designed a bit more meaningful approach to a complex topic? If all the school has in terms of resources to teach this interesting subject is the canned batch of worksheets from the textbook publisher, someone needs to introduce them to the internet...is there Wifi in Iowa?

STORY: Roosevelt High School Under Fire For Communism v. Capitalism Worksheet

Death wish and the 1st Amendment

We can remember those writing assignments in high school in which we were asked to write persuasively (albeit naively) about a controversial topic from an opposing view. Or, asked to debate both sides of an argument regardless of our personal stance. Powerfully potential teaching and learning moments are these. Well, what if a student takes the assignment seriously and espouses a venomous position we find disgusting, and it gets published in the student newspaper? You guessed it...his piece is pulled (censorship) and the superintendent reams him a new one! This 15 year-old student at Shawano Community High School wrote a piece opposing gay couples right to adopt using ignorant and homophobic rationale, replete with passages from Leviticus 20:13. We abhor his position, but must defend his right to free speech. In fact, we might see Rick Santorum citing this kid's work in his next attack on gays.

STORY: Brandon Wegner Threatens School With Legal Action For Removing OpEd Mentioning Gays Be 'Put To Death' (VIDEO)

Asian "refusion"

The US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights is investigating the complaint lodged by an unidentified applicant. Could it be that these schools have been unable to dislodge WASPs nests from the ivy covered halls? We don't find the Ivy schools a great value in undergraduate education given the over-priced tuition. But mom and dad can brag at the club that you were accepted.

Below zero in Georgia!

No more zero scores on assignments and tests for 3rd through 8th graders in this school district in Georgia.
All students must earn at least a 60% on assignments and tests or be given the opportunity to redo/retake until a passing grade is earned. Supporters say it "forces teachers to coach students until they achieve mastery."
When is 60% mastery? And should teachers be "forced" on this? This serves as another prime example of trying to structure schools to promote compulsory learning when they are still designed under an antiquated model of compulsory attendance. This old car can't run the 21st century race. Hard as the education mechanics try, the Model T design of American schools can't compete with the Indy car needed to really promote achievement for all children.

STORY: No-Zero Grading Policy In Lowndes County Schools Require Retesting Opportunities For Failing Students (UPDATED)

Book Traffickers invade Arizona

Looks like a "magical mystery tour" is headed straight to Tucson, Arizona in mid-March. The mystery?
Not the Beatles. Why were books on Mexican American Studies (MAS) banned from the Tucson Unified School District? Lame answer...Winners write the damn history books Nacho! Arizona State Superintendent John Huppenthal decided that the high school MAS courses were in violation of ARS-15-112. Yikes...how far will Arizona go on this affront to Mexican Americans and the First Amendment? Apparently Huffenthal is a big fan of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451! The literary contraband was seized from the high school by some of the Arizona book storm troopers while MAS classes were in session. Nice lesson to teach the students. God speed to the Book Traffickers as they make their trek to Arizona.

STORY: 'Librotraficante' Caravan Set To Smuggle Books Back Into Arizona Following Ethnic Studies Ban

And a child shall lead them

Hands-on and minds-on science at its very best! Clara was experimenting with a molecular model kit in her fifth grade science class under the direction of Mr. Kenneth Boehr and behold...she created a new molecule! The cool thing is that her teacher recognized this as something promising, collaborated with Chemistry Professor Robert Zoellner (Humboldt State University) AND co-published an article in a major chemistry journal. If the molecule can be synthesized, it may "store energy or create a large explosion." This type of inquiry based learning has great potential to unleash the creative energy of students and create a knowledge explosion. Kudos to all!!!

STORY: Clara Lazen, Ten-Year-Old Fifth Grader, Discovers New Molecule (VIDEO)

Back of the bread line

Arlene Ackerman was fired from her $350,000 job last August from her position as Philly Schools Superintendent. She received a $900,000 contract buyout, but just can't seem to make ends meet. She was recently denied an unemployment claim she filed for $573 per week. Show this woman some brotherly love Philly. How can one live on a draw from close to 1 million?  Who says education doesn't pay?

STORY: Arlene Ackerman, Ousted Philadelphia Superintendent, Denied Unemployment Bid

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