January 2007 Archives

In one New Jersey district, what you do (or don't do) over the weekend will have significant consequences come Monday morning—and we're not talking about acing the big algebra test. Administrators at Pequannock Township High School recently approved a new policy to randomly test students for weekend alcohol use. The sensitive tests, which will be used starting next week, can detect drinks consumed up to 80 hours earlier. School officials assert that the specter of testing will encourage students to make better decisions when offered alcohol at weekend parties. But some students beg to differ: "No one's really taking...


Last month, after the National Science Teachers Association declined to hand out free copies of the global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, one of the film’s producers announced plans to distribute the copies directly to educators via the Internet. Whether they’ll actually be able show the DVD in class is another matter. After an evangelical Christian parent complained about a planned screening of the Al Gore-narrated film in his daughter’s 7th grade science class, the school board in Federal Way, Washington, first banned and then placed rigorous restrictions on the movie’s classroom use. Among other things, ...


The opportunity for free-running self-expression is one of the big reasons people create their own pages on social networking Web sites. But the recent firing of a Florida teacher over his MySpace page calls into question how free a teacher can ever be to express his or her thoughts. John Bush, a 52-year-old physical education teacher at Landrum Middle School in Augustine, was terminated after Bush’s page turned up with a photo and text that the school board attorney said were not pornographic, but “inappropriate for school teachers in St. Johns County.” Bush, who’s fighting for his former ...


Four years running, Annapolis High School in Maryland has fallen short of meeting NCLB requirements, scoring particularly low in reading tests and graduating just 50 percent of its male African American students on time. So Superintendent Kevin Maxwell, deciding he’d had enough, announced yesterday that everyone—principal, teachers, secretaries, even cafeteria workers—would have to reapply for their jobs. Although rumors had been swirling, Maxwell’s move was seen as less than diplomatic. While the school’s principal retreated to his office and prayed, Lidia Smithers, an English and French teacher, said of the superintendent, who left no time ...


As we recently reported, performance-pay plans have been gaining popularity around the country. But educators in Houston are learning that the reality doesn’t come without a certain amount of angst. This week, more than half of Houston’s teachers are expected to receive bonuses ranging from $500 to $7,000 under a multipronged formula based on student test results. Some teachers and union leaders in the district are charging that the formula is too complicated to fully decipher and that the payout will breed dissension among teachers who fail to get bonuses—and even some who do receive them. “It’s...


If you’re one of those shocked by the MySpace-posted video of three New York teens pummeling a classmate, you may not be aware of a trend that psychologists have highlighted for years: outrageous behavior among American girls. MySpace was also the place where a clique of Texas cheerleaders posted photos of themselves flashing the camera and imbibing alcohol. And, last May, a brawl erupted after a high school girls’ soccer game in Illinois. According to the most recent federal statistics, the number of assault arrests for girls rose 41 percent between 1992 and 2003, whereas the increase for boys ...


The new movie “Freedom Writers” has received critical and popular acclaim for its portrayal of a courageous young teacher who changes the lives of students in a troubled inner city school. But in an ">opinion article published in the New York Times, a 10th grade history teacher in the Bronx argues that such Hollywood depictions create a distorted and potentially harmful image of the teaching profession. Apart from glossing over the harsh conditions in which teachers in urban schools often work, writes Tom Moore, films like “Freedom Writers” promote the message that “what schools really need are heroes”—or teachers ...


Apparently, some Kansans’ idea of classroom management hasn’t evolved much, either. Propelled by a series of newspaper articles describing teachers’ difficulties in maintaining classroom order, a Kansas state senator plans to propose a bill that would make it less inconvenient for educators to use corporal punishment as a disciplinary tool. Specifically, legislation being by put forth by Republican state Senator Phil Journey would protect teachers who spank students from lawsuits and criminal charges if the local school board allows corporal punishment and parents provide written permission. “When all else fails, time outs and privilege restrictions and things like that, ...


The author of To Kill a Mockingbird is famously reclusive. She rarely speaks in public, and her novel—about Atticus Finch’s defense of a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman in the segregated South—is the only work she’s ever had published. But a high-school stage version of Mockingbird, in her home state of Alabama, was evidently enough to bring Harper Lee out of hiding. The play was mounted just across the street from the Montgomery bus stop that made Rosa Parks famous, and Lee had been invited by arts and education officials seeking to ...


The No Child Left Behind Act turns five this week, but it appears many teachers won’t be celebrating. Among the ways the NCLB Act has changed schools since its enactment, according to an overview by USA Today, is by “driving teachers crazy.” Teachers have been most frustrated by the curricular constraints the law appears to have fostered and by its emphasis on standardized tests. “I am well on my way to becoming an embittered and mediocre teacher who heretofore considered teaching to be a profession, not a job,” one educator is reported to have written on an online petition ...


In America's ongoing war against obesity, schools are only one battleground. But they're a controversial one, especially as districts adopt the unproven practice of sending home obesity report cards listing students' body mass index. While the practice is mandated in only a few states—in Pennslyvania, for example, the cards are required for K-8 students—many individual districts have embraced it after hearing about positive results from a small number of programs. But there's more to raising healthy kids than simply reporting obesity, critics contend. In many districts that report BMI to parents, children continue to face inadequate PE time ...


We already know that kids who stay in school will have better jobs and earn more money. But new research indicates that education actually contributes to longer life. That's right: Stay in school and live longer. And, as a bonus, those extra years will be marked by better health. "If you were to ask me what affects health and longevity, I would put education at the top of my list," says Michael Grossman, a health economist who studies the factors that affect human life expectancy. The question of how education is related to longevity was originally tackled by a graduate ...


Advertisement

Recent Comments

  • Nancy Flanagan: A team of NEA-affiliate consultants: Ellen Holmes (ME), Jim Meadows read more
  • Tisha Rinker: Who was the presenter? read more
  • Susan Morrison: PD several times per week? Gasp! Are teachers to read more
  • Nancy: What a fantastic story! I hope the students are enjoying read more
  • Sclgoya: Education change, like fossil formation (http://www.k5geosource.org/content/dd/fossil/pg1.html (first page only)), can read more

Archives

Categories

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here