A seminar at Boston’s Museum of Science combines a passion of many young girls with an industry in which many of them are missing: makeup and science. Cosmetic Chemistry is designed to pique their interest in the subject by teaching the science of beauty products, according to the New York Times. Donned in rubber goggles and aprons, 5th through 7th graders reinforce the scientific process of purpose, method, results, and conclusion by dissecting lipstick. The experiment, led by instructor and course designer Dr. Chi-Ting Huang, is not only useful in demythologizing and confirming ingredients (lipsticks contain crushed beetles, not ...


Tensions are high in a San Antonio school district as allegations surfaced that New Braunfels Middle School principal John Burks threatened to kill the school’s science teachers if they did not improve their science scores on the TAKS test, a Texas standardized exam, and other benchmarks. According to Anita White, one of the four teachers present for the outburst, in an interview with a KSAT12 News, "He stated if the scores were not to his liking, he would kill us all and then kill himself. He was very emphatic, he was not laughing, he was not being funny.” She ...


The heated Democratic presidential primary is apparently boiling over into the schoolhouse. To wit: A Delaware government commission is investigating a complaint from a ten-year-old student that her teacher alledgedly told her class that she would not vote for Barack Obama because he is a Muslim who “believes in different things and is scary,” according to Delaware’s News Journal. The alledged incident occurred before the February 5th Super Tuesday mock election at Lord Baltimore Elementary School in the Indian River School District. On February 24th, the student's older sisters, who describe themselves as American Muslims who “love our country,” ...


Tensions are high in the nation’s fourth largest school district. Unionized teachers in the Miami-Dade district are charging that administrators, led by 2008 AASA Superintendent of the Year Rudy Crew, are exacting an excessive cost on the school’s already stretched budget. Specifically, they point to reports showing that 413 district officials earn in excess of $100,000 a year and that 31 employees have district owned-cars (ranging from Crews’ 2007 GMC Yukon’ to, oddly, a 1998 Chevy Monte Carlo valued at $645). Meanwhile, schools are facing some $200 million cuts over the next year, and teachers are in ...


Teachers in the U.S. have been known to voice strong opinions about standardized testing, but the Brits appear to be taking things to a new level. In a speech this week at the annual conference of the UK’s Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Mary Bousted, the union’s secretary general, charged that testing in schools not only detracts from learning, it’s also contributing to an increase in mental illness among students. “Children suffer stress and anxiety as the test loom and the rise in [British] children’s mental health problems cannot be divorced from their status as ...


Technological advances have fueled a growth in the use of special microphones and speaker sets in the classroom that promise even the most soft-spoken teachers the ability to be fully heard by their students. Originally intended only for classrooms with special needs students, many schools are planning to install systems in all of their classrooms at a cost of up to $1,500 a room, according to a report by The New York Times. Some experts however, suggest that the technology is being used to address the symptoms and not the causes. Says David Lubman, a fellow of the Acoustical ...


The Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland State Senate President, Thomas V. Mike Miller is putting pressure on the leaders of the Maryland State Teachers Association to support a referendum to legalize slots in order to raise hundreds of millions of education dollars. In a do-or-die scenario, Miller told the MSTA that a failure to support the measure would cause the General Assembly to seek other funding sources for teacher pensions (like counties and school boards). State Comptroller Peter Franchot, who has other ideas for filling the coffers (like putting pressure on tax evaders), said Miller was giving the MSTA a “false...


Earlier this year, researchers reported that the number one source of frustration for teachers is parents. This week, the L.A. Times provided details on just how strained those relations can be, particularly, and this may come as no surprise, during conference time. In spite of the mood lighting and refreshments that some teachers offer to tamp down tension, stories of parents striking students or towering over their teachers or refusing future meetings can make for unpleasant encounters. Myra McGovern, spokeswoman for the National Association for Independent Schools, sees a loss of respect for institutions and parents' growing sense of ...


Canada’s Globe and Mail reports that a worldwide coalition of teachers’ unions is denouncing this week’s release of the video game Bully: Scholarship Edition for “condoning bullying in school.” The Wii and Xbox 360 game features a boarding school bully who harasses students by assaulting them, pushing their heads in toilets, and photographing them naked. Emily Noble, the president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation which is spearheading the protest, said the game “doesn’t help us as teachers in the work that we’re doing at school.” Teachers’ unions in the U.S., Canada, Britain, South Korea, and ...


Last week in New York City, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced the start of another student-incentive program, according to the New York Times. For 2,500 Brooklyn middle school and charter school students, Samsung flip-phones with 130 prepaid minutes will be their reward for doing well in school. Teachers and administrators will be able to text reminders to students about homework or say, an upcoming test. How can students, who are not known for telephonic brevity, earn more minutes? Behave in school, maintain good attendance, and keep their grades up. The “Million” program, which refers to the city’s ...


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