Let's undo lunch!

3200 Chicago Public School cafeteria workers staged a protest aimed to question the school district's menu choices. Described as "bland, frozen," and largely ignored by most principals and students (there's a revelation), one worker asked the telling question: " How can we make real food if you take away real kitchens?" ANSWER...schedule a field trip to your local McDonald's. Bon appetite!

STORY: Lunch Ladies Protest Chicago Public Schools Food, Release Report Detailing Deficiencies

Science fair not fear

Every once in a while a story like this surfaces that should remind us of the incredible potential of young people. Angela Zhang started reading doctoral level work in 9th grade and was recently awarded a $100K as a winner in the National Siemens Science Contest. She has developed at age 17 a nanoparticle with potential cancer cure applications. This ain't the usual science fair entry, but points us to making opportunities for all students to create and innovate.

STORY: Angela Zhang, High School Student Devises Potential Cancer Cure

That's dope

Talk about show and tell!! A four-year old special needs student broke out 9 bags of grass at snack time to share with his classmates...no bogarting here in Meriden, Connecticut. We advocate natural snack products and Hanover Elementary School may be experimenting with a new version of "Scooby Snacks" in order to maintain Annual Yearly Progress (AYP). Talk about "high" levels of student achievement...
Perhaps DARE needs to reach down to pre-schoolers.

Going Post-IT

Eighth-grade Middle School student Samantha Bremmer believes in positive messaging. In response to what she saw as mean-spirited bullying, she spent her holiday break composing 820 positive messages to be posted on classmates lockers. Mill Creek Middle School teacher Val Berryman said its nice to see student's encouraging each other. We love random acts of kindness and caring. Way to go Samantha...please consider teaching as a career! Our profession needs people with their hearts and minds in the right place.

STORY: UPDATED: Mill Creek Middle School Student Inspires Classmates Through Posts on Lockers

It takes a village

We have been following the remarkable story of Samantha Garvey, Intel Talent Search semi-finalist from New York. Her family was evicted from their home on New Year's day, spent a week in a hotel before moving to a homeless shelter. This gifted young woman's talent and hard work inspired Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to find a three-bedroom, rent subsidized home for Samantha and her family. This is American exceptionalism...recognizing a problem and doing the right thing. Hats off to all who have supported this young woman and her family and the best of luck to her in what we hope will be a wonderful career in the sciences.

STORY: Samantha Garvey, Homeless Intel Science Competition Semifinalist, Is Dedicated To Helping Her Family Overcome Hardship

WWJD...what would jessica do?

Teenage atheist Jessica Ahlquist questioned the display of a banner displaying a prayer in her public high school and was summarily blown off by school administration. Now that's such a surprise that a high school student wouldn't be taken seriously. As a plaintiff represented by the ACLU, Jessica won a slam dunk decision against the school...not a surprise. House representative Peter Palumbo has referred to Jessica as an "evil little thing" and a "pawn star" of the ACLU. Now that's the kind of elected state official I want to have representing me! The hell with the Constitution and all that separation of church and state nonsense! While we are at it...the hell with...no I go too far. A bit of christian kindness is in order...unlike the hostile outpourings that Jessica has endured over twitter and Facebook. Lesson learned? You can memorize the Constitution to spit back on multiple choice tests but don't have the courage to actually expect it to be applied at Cranston High School West.

STORY:  Misguided faith unjust to nonbelievers

Math is hard...knocks!

Landstown math teacher Mike Shanklin was arrested by Virginia Beach police for allegedly belting a math student who failed to finish an assignment. Talk about high stakes testing!! The female student apparently stayed after school for some extra tutoring help when Mr. S cut loose with the fury of  No Child Left’s Behind.  With all of the negative publicity about US schools falling so far behind foreign competition in math and science test performance (TIMMS for example), rather than actually invest a higher % of our GDP in public education ( we rank near the bottom in this), we leave it up to individual teachers to come up with creative ways to solve the problem. Mr. Shanklin’s efforts were failed patriotism but patriotism nevertheless!

STORYLandstown High School teacher arrested for allegedly beating student with belt

Tea Party gains momentum in Michigan

Politics schmolitics…the Tea Party rules at Hastings High near Grand Rapids. A teacher reportedly poured hot tea on two boys to break up a fight. Tea for two as they say. The boys received minor burns from the Spanish teacher’s actions…mucho gusto!  Tea Party supporters are touting this teacher for a congressional run in order to lure more latino voter support. In the meantime, the school may be looking into some behavior management models that do not require deadly force!!

STORY: Teacher pours HOT TEA on students to break up a fight following escalating texts over a girl

Taking the daily grind out of public schools

No more pencils no more books, no more teacher’s dirty dancing looks!!! Valley High is stepping up to enforce a grinding policy that is long overdue. In response to parent concerns, students will have to sign a pledge to stop grinding at school dances. They even seem to have clearly defined grinding: “usually involves a boy facing a girl’s backside and their bodies rubbing together“. Whew…that leaves open the front to front rubbing of my generation and it seems that the GLBT students are off the hook as well. I love it when schools try to limit student expression. I recommend a strict dress code for the dance…perhaps jocks and cups for all students and an appropriate selection of songs that will not elicit erections…square dancing anyone?

Hold your water!

Coney Island PS 90 has a zero tolerance pee policy to be envied. Of all of the serious problems facing public education, 5th grade teacher Stephanie Warner has crystallized the key issue to student success…self bladder control! If only we could hold off on the impulse to use the bathroom at age 10 we could then be prepared for success in virtually every other endeavor. And what a novel use of token reinforcement…Ms. Warner allows children who can control their bladder needs and don’t use any of their “toilet tickets” the opportunity to trade in these tickets for prizes…like a discount at the local urologist!  BF Skinner would be so proud.

If four math teachers have a combined IQ of 300...

Greetings again from the deep south! A suburban Atlanta teacher has regrettably resigned after assigning math homework to 3rd graders that included word problems about slavery and beatings. While I am not astonished about this coming from Georgia, I am shocked that the teachers can actually cipher word problems! Four teachers from Beaver Ridge Elementary School assigned said homework, only one has resigned.  Imagine the teacher planning meetings that arrived at this lesson plan. Talk about collaborative brilliance. Apparently they spent several days pondering not only this gem of an assignment, but also how to arrive at the correct mathematical solution! Does this really require teacher certification?

STORY: Georgia teacher resigns over slavery math lesson

We've got spirit how about ...U-tah

We’ve got spirit, how about…U-Tah?

The Canyons School District (Draper, Utah) decided to veto their student’s top choice for school mascot, the cougar, because it is disrespectful to women. Thank you for teaching these kids an important lesson…when it comes to decision making, majority vote doesn’t really count for much. The board of education will probably let these high schoolers decide what color crepe paper may be used for homecoming, or even go out on a limb and let them choose Coke or Pepsi. But when it comes to a school mascot, how could they possibly be trusted with such a life altering judgment? And, did anyone poll the cougar population ( I mean the four legged ones)? My bet is that they would be opposed to an affiliation with such tight-minded, anti-democratic folks. So much for the graduation address from Courtney Cox or Joan Collins.

STORY: Cougar Mascot Vetoed For Utah's Corner Canyon High School For Being Offensive Toward Women

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