Archive for Ejucashun

No More Teachers’ Dirty Looks

The amazing, amazing, amazing thing here is that the student was even aware enough to ask, let alone challenge:

A North Carolina high school teacher was captured on video shouting at a student who questioned President Obama and suggesting he could be arrested for criticizing a sitting president.

The Salisbury Post, which first reported on the YouTube video, did not identify the teacher in question, who is reportedly on staff at North Rowan High School. The video does not show faces, but the heated argument in the classroom can clearly be heard.

“Do you realize that people were arrested for saying things bad about Bush?” the teacher said toward the end of the argument, telling the student, “you are not supposed to slander the president.”

The argument started when the classroom began discussing news reports that Mitt Romney bullied a fellow student when he was in high school. At the time, The Washington Post had recently published a lengthy article alleging that Romney, as a teenager, had cut off another student’s hair.

“Didn’t Obama bully somebody though?” a student in the North Carolina classroom asked when the report was brought up, referring to an incident Obama described in his memoir “Dreams From My Father.” In the book, Obama wrote that, as a child, he once pushed a female classmate after other students taunted them — the only two black students in their grade — and called Obama her boyfriend.

The teacher, in the video, said she didn’t know whether Obama bullied anyone — but the argument quickly escalated, as the teacher yelled at the student, telling him “there is no comparison.”

“He’s running for president,” she said of Romney. “Obama is the president.”

The student argued that both candidates are “just men,” but the teacher took issue with the statement.
“He’s just a man. Obama is no god,” the student said.

The teacher responded: “Let me tell you something … you will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom.”

The teacher went on to say the two candidates are “not equal.”

“The Rowan-Salisbury School System expects all students and employees to be respectful in the school environment and for all teachers to maintain their professionalism in the classroom. This incident should serve as an education for all teachers to stop and reflect on their interaction with students,” the school said in a statement, published by the Post. “Due to personnel and student confidentiality, we cannot discuss the matter publicly.”

Oh, it’s plenty public, all right. Or will be by the end of the day. I love the part where the teacher says people got arrested for saying things about George Bush. No wonder Obama can’t close Guantanamo—it’s too full of American dissidents who were “disappeared” in the 2000s!

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What’s for Lunch?

Yeeesh…don’t ask!

“At Van Nuys High School,” reports the paper, “complaints about the food were so widespread that Principal Judith Vanderbok wrote to [food services director Dennis] Barrett with the plea: ‘Please help! Bring back better food!’”

Readers might wonder how, with all of the challenges in reading, writing and arithmetic, school administrators decided that reducing fat and sodium at the cafeteria was a top priority for L.A. schools. And it turns out that the city’s decision to ban chocolate milk and chicken nuggets in favor of quinoa salads and pad Thai noodles has created a full-blown crisis.

“Many of the meals are being rejected en masse. Participation in the school lunch program has dropped by thousands of students,” reports the Times. “Students are ditching lunch, and some say they’re suffering from headaches, stomach pains and even anemia. At many campuses, an underground market for chips, candy, fast-food burgers and other taboo fare is thriving.”

So the healthy food is so bad that kids are literally starving themselves rather than tucking into vegetarian curries, or else engaging in a black market. Apparently even an art teacher has been among those caught selling illicit candy, chips and instant noodles. Andre Jahchan, a high-school sophomore, tells the Times, “No matter how healthy it is, if it’s not appetizing, people won’t eat it.”

As dispiriting as the creeping nannification of the state is, I take comfort in the independent nature of the kids. We’re not North Koreans. When our government tells us how much to eat of what, we respond with a black market in Doritos. We’re expecting these people to teach our kids when they don’t even remember Prohibition? When Michelle Obama asks, “Who wants a tempeh burger?”, we shout back, “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame bun!”

But not for the first time I have to ask why we’re feeding kids as many as three times a day at school, when food stamp use is at a record high? How can those things both be true? Mrs. O? Finish chewing that mouthful of Big Kahuna burger and let us know.

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Season of Miracles

To our Catholic and other Christian readers, we would like to take this opportunity in this very special time of year to wish you and your family a very Happy Spring:

A sophomore at a local private high school thinks an effort to make Easter politically correct is ridiculous.

Jessica, 16, told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show that a week before spring break, the students commit to a week-long community service project. She decided to volunteer in a third grade class at a public school, which she would like to remain nameless.

“At the end of the week I had an idea to fill little plastic eggs with treats and jelly beans and other candy, but I was kind of unsure how the teacher would feel about that,” Jessica said.

“I went to the teacher to get her approval and she wanted to ask the administration to see if it was okay,” Jessica explained. “She said that I could do it as long as I called this treat ‘spring spheres.’ I couldn’t call them Easter eggs.”

Rather than question the decision, Jessica opted to “roll with it.” But the third graders had other ideas.

“When I took them out of the bag, the teacher said, ‘Oh look, spring spheres’ and all the kids were like ‘Wow, Easter eggs.’ So they knew,” Jessica said.

And I bet they also knew, as the teacher did not, that eggs aren’t spherical.

But we here in Bloodthirstan know the true meaning of Easter (there, we said it): if Christ rises and sees his shadow, it means six more weeks of spring.

PS: Is the Ea**er Bunny now to be known as the Vernal Varmint?

PPS: I understand the annual Ea**er ovoid hunt on the White House lawn is going substitute Brussels sprouts for eggs (too much cholesterol), and will be known as Petit Choux Chase.

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Freedom of Peanut Butter

Has it really come to this?

Maybe not:

A public school in Chicago now prohibits students from bringing lunch from home in an effort to promote healthier eating, but Americans strongly reject that idea. Not only does an overwhelming majority believe children should be allowed to bring lunch to school, but most also think lunches from home are healthier than ones bought in a school cafeteria.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that an overwhelming 92% of American Adults believe students should be allowed to bring lunch from home. Only three percent disagree, with six percent (6%) undecided.

Americans have decidedly mixed feelings about the quality of food served to children in elementary and secondary schools. Thirty-four percent (34%) rate the food as good or excellent, while 17% view it as poor.

In December, just after President Obama signed into law a measure that gives the federal government the authority to regulate all foods in schools, only 23% of Adults said the government should set school nutritional standards.

Can you imagine the menu if the Obama administration set the agenda? Corn chips, corn bread, pop corn, and arugula.

I was talking with a Cambridge parent the other day who told me that they never cancel school there, no matter how bad the weather. Academic determination? Yankee cussedness? Hardly.

So many kids there are on the school lunch program, they dare not cancel school. Ever.

Some kids get breakfast provided by school, too. I guess that’s what schools have become: instead of institutes of learning and training, they’re automats.

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I’d Like to Clap Her Erasers

As American students drop further behind their international peers in all measurable achievements (with the possible but unlikely exception of knowledge of the English language), wouldn’t it be a good idea to ask the students themselves what they need to compete? I mean, what could go wrong?

Rigorous math and science? Computer training? Critical thinking? Trojans?

[Not even at closing, sweetheart.]

Hundreds of teenagers packed Boston’s City Council chambers yesterday with a simple message: “Sex Education Now.’’

Students held black-and-white signs with that declaration during a 2 1/2-hour hearing as they pressed the city to bolster sex education programs in public high schools, including making condoms more widely available.

When I was in 10th grade, sex ed meant discussion of pistols and stamens, and even some steamy talk about gametes and zygotes. Sure, we talked about the human reproductive system, but talk of the act of conception took about as long as the act itself.

Today, sex ed class discussion sounds like a particularly graphic telling of the old Aristocrats joke.

Because nobody needs sex ed by high school. My generation was brought up on Lassie and Leave it to Beaver; today’s kids grow up watching Jersey Shore and… well, Leave it to Beaver.

No, what they really mean by sex ed is sex; hence the condoms.

That is one of the important components of a comprehensive sexual education class, as well as teaching students how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships, how to spot unhealthy relationships, and discussing sexual identity for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students, Hung said.

Yes, his name is Hung, Nguyen Hung. He’s Vietnamese, so get over it, you immature perv.

But while there was at least one teacher in high school I wouldn’t have minded talking dirty, the last thing—the very, very last thing on this earth—we need is unionized public school teachers giving advice to impressionable teenagers on healthy relationships and sexual identity. I mean, my God! I’d rather hear from the inmates on Death Row in San Quentin.

There are somethings you are supposed to learn on your own, through trial and error, mostly error. You do not want Mrs. Heckendorn, God rest her soul, expounding on the virtues of foreplay. Be-lieve me. That really cute Asian math teacher, on the other hand… her Euclidean geometry was not to be believed.

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Pot Holes and Failed Schools

You throw money at them year after year, and they keep coming back for more:

In the two years since Congress made the federal government’s largest one-time investment in public schools, change has rippled through classrooms from coast to coast, as districts have expanded school days, improved teacher training, and tried to tie teacher evaluations to student performance.

Rippling changes, longer school days, better teacher training—that doesn’t sound so bad.

BUT the stimulus package’s long-term impact on public education is far from certain and may already be flagging, according to a three-month investigation by 36 news organizations working in collaboration with the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news outlet, and the Education Writers Association. Indeed, the research found that many of the resulting policy changes are already endangered by political squabbles and the massive budget shortfalls still facing recession-battered state and local governments.

Of the $814 billion in stimulus boondoggle, $100 billion was set aside for education (teachers union payoff). More and more, we’re learning that those hundreds of billions of dollars payed for a year or two of unreformed, bloated state government, and little else:

The $100 billion set aside for education through a number of programs has spurred states — including Massachusetts — to devise sweeping plans for change, jump-started a national conversation about overhauling the worst schools, and prevented massive teacher layoffs. An estimated 368,000 school-related jobs were either saved or created during the 2009-10 school year, according to the Department of Education.

The lowest-ranking schools in each state have been infused with money, which they have used to extend the school day, improve teacher training, revamp teaching strategies, and hire new employees charged with taking care of discipline problems.

We heard you the first time. But maybe some school-related jobs should have been un-saved or destroyed.

But the review also found just how daunting it can be to overhaul the education bureaucracy. Massachusetts and 11 other states made bold promises to win a share of the $4.3 billion handed out as part of the Race to the Top competition, but following through has its obstacles.

Massachusetts won $250 million by patching together a fragile coalition of interests. Although an important element of the state’s application for the money was buy-in from local teachers unions, their support remains tenuous. At issue is whether standardized tests should be used to judge teachers, which the state promised to move toward in exchange for the federal money.

The document signed by teachers unions supporting the state’s application has several escape clauses. It requires only a “good faith effort’’ from all parties to implement the promises made in the application, and it pledges that nothing in the application will override collective bargaining agreements. That means any changes will have to be negotiated district by district, in a state with historically strong unions. The agreement also terminates when the grant money runs out in four years, meaning there is no guarantee of enduring change.

For a quarter of a billion dollars in other people’s money, the Mass. teachers unions promised a big fat maybe. At least it is a promise they can live up to:

Meanwhile, the lure of new federal funding hasn’t persuaded the influential Boston Teachers Union — which is not affiliated with the MTA — to budge from its strong opposition to such evaluations. “It’s been clear all along that people were only signing onto it for the money,’’ said Richard Stutman, the union’s president. “No one has signed this because they thought it was a sound education concept. People have signed on because there’s a recession.’’

The ARRA promised to rebuild America, save and create jobs, and cure tooth decay. As Aggie and I have reported, around here it amounted to little more than excessive road paving. And the pot holes are already back with a vengeance.

The schools got pots of money, made temporary cosmetic changes, and saved everyone’s tenured butt. But the pot holes are already back with a vengeance there too. The money’s gone, and so is any might or will to change. Hell of a way to run a country.

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Kids Today

Look upon these young hooligans and tremble:

Did they bully some poor kid to death? Gang rape a cheerleader? Drink water from a plastic bottle?

Much worse, and you’re looking right at it:

Five students at a South Bay high school stirred up some controversy Wednesday for wearing t-shirts depicting red, white and blue American flags on Cinco de Mayo.

School officials at Live Oak High in Morgan Hill told the students they had to go home if they wouldn’t turn the shirts inside out.

One of the students said it appeared school administrators were worried the patriotic shirts could trigger fights.

Some Mexican-American students KTVU spoke with said they thought wearing red, white and blue on Cinco de Mayo was disrespectful.

“It’s just kinda disrespectful that they would do that on this day,” said student Victoria Wright. “I mean, we don’t go around on 4th of July wearing red white and green and saying ‘Viva Mexico,’ because that’s disrespectful.”

It was Cinco de Mayo in Mexico; here it was May 5th—Søren Kierkegaard’s birthday. And what’s there to cheer about that?

To my generic Mexican-American friend, what would be disrespectful would be to wave the American flag and to chant “USA! USA!” on May 5th in Juarez. But if Mexico really wants to have California back, I think we’re just about done with it.

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