July 2008 Archives

According to The Chicago Tribune, school administrators are asking parents to trust their children’s school when it comes to creating class lists. It’s not uncommon for parents to make phone calls, write letters, and schedule meetings in hopes of persuading administrators to place their child in a specific classroom. Some Chicago school officials, however, are discouraging parents from making such requests, emphasizing it’s not a popularity contest. “I’m bright enough to realize parents talk at soccer fields and baseball fields, but you have to realize your experience with Teacher A may be very different from someone ...


Are cell phones, video games, and other technology gadgets to blame for students’ poor critical thinking skills? Educators in Texas think so, because fewer than half of North Texas students pass the short-response section of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), The Dallas Morning News reports. Most of the TAKS consist of multiple choice questions, asking students only to fill in a bubble—a task they seem to ace. But students from low-performing districts to high-achieving ones stumble on the short-response section. Some educators and testing experts say the low scores reveal a lack of critical thinking and ...


Watch out Pearl Jam! Three Seattle elementary school teachers who make up the hot “kindie” rock band Recess Monkey are hitting the national music scene to promote their new album, “Tabby Road,” The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports. Guitarist Drew Holloway, drummer Daron Henry, and bassist Jack Forman, who met while teaching at the University Child Development School in Seattle’s University District, have found a way to combine two things they love most—music and teaching. They weave music into their lessons, run a music camp, and incorporate contributions from their students on their recordings. The trio’s biggest fans ...


In order to enter kindergarten this fall in Needville, Texas, a 5-year-old boy will need a haircut. Parents Kenny Arocha and Michelle Betenbaugh are outraged that the school board in Fort Bend County, which has a strict policy against long hair, denied their son’s admittance into school, reports The Houston Chronicle. Native Americans, Arocha and Bentenbaugh appealed to the school board, citing that the shoulder length locks are for religious reasons and are a well known practice in Native American culture. At the school board meeting, Superintendent Curtis Rhoades called the issue “premature” and said the boy is not ...


With the number of special education students in public schools higher than ever, totaling 600,000 students in New York City alone, many parents worry that school staff members may not be properly trained to handle behavior problems, reports The New York Times. Dr. John Miller, father of a 12 year-old boy who has Asperger’s syndrome, said that teachers restrained his son for 20 minutes on at least one occasion, and the boy often refused to go to school because “he thought the school was trying to kill him.” In response to the alleged mishandled restraint, the Millers are ...


A Saudi-funded school in Virginia is facing harsh criticism for using textbooks containing inflammatory material about religious martyrdom and comparing Jews and Christians to apes and pigs, according to a Washington Post review of the books. The pre-K-12 Islamic Saudi Academy, which serves Washington-area students from Muslim communities, including the children of Saudi diplomats, has used the controversial textbooks since the mid-1990’s, but said they ordered revisions in 2006. Administrators whited out words, cut paragraphs, and created makeshift books but admit they may have missed inappropriate content. They promised to have a new line of books for the coming ...


A performing arts charter school in Hawthorne, Calif., that many struggling students saw as a saving grace may be closing as a result of a bureaucratic snafu, reports The Los Angeles Times. Media Arts Academy Charter School, also known as “Hip Hop High,” received notice July 1 from the Centinela Valley Union High School district that its charter had expired and had not been renewed. Principal Jennifer Murphy says she thought charter ran through 2009 and suspects the district intentionally neglected to warn her about the expiration. "They literally have been lying in wait to do this," she said at ...


Separate incidents at two schools in Westchester County, New York, question the appropriateness of school discipline as parents and educators debate whose responsibility it is to discipline students. An Ardsley school board member and parent of a 14-year-old special education student resigned her post after other parents complained that school officials were too tolerant of her son’s repeated bullying and threats of a massacre and bombing, according to The New York Times. The middle school boy received one-day suspensions on four different occasions, a lax consequence that parents of other middle schoolers said were given because of the mother’s...


Would you voluntarily give up your teaching seniority and tenure rights for some extra green? D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee hopes teachers in the nation’s capitol will. She has proposed a contract that would arrange such a swap, giving mid-level teachers who earn $62,000 annually the opportunity to earn over $100,000, two anonymous union members told The Washington Post. Such a pay raise would make D.C. teachers among the highest-paid in the nation. The proposal would establish a color-coded two-tiered pay system in which teachers in the red tier would receive traditional raises and ...


Although they may gripe about their annual photo when yearbooks come out, all students really care about is their place in it, first and last name, forever to be remembered if only within its pages. Students of the Black Student Union at Charter Oak High School in Covina, Calif., whose black population is less than 5 percent, will not be accurately remembered in this year’s yearbook; names that labeled their group photo were not their own, but rather ones that could be considered racially offensive, reported The Los Angeles Times. School officials say they have spoken to the student ...


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