Monthly Archives: April 2012

Common Core standards driving wedge in education circles
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – When did fractions and non-fiction become so controversial?

A high-profile effort by a pair of national education groups to strengthen, simplify and focus the building blocks of elementary and secondary education is finally making its way into schools. But two years ahead of its planned implementation, critics on both the right and left are seizing upon it. A few educators say the new standards, supported by the U.S. Department of Education, are untested, and one Republican governor wants to block the measure, saying it’s a federal intrusion into local decisions.

How did something so simple become so fraught?

The story begins in 2009, when the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers announced an effort to create voluntary national standards in math and reading. All but four states — Arkansas, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia — quickly signed on to the standards, known as the Common Core, agreeing to help create then implement them by 2014. Their decision was helped partly by President Obama, who has tied “college and career-ready standards” to billions in federal grants. Last September, he all but required adoption of the Common Core if states want to receive federal waivers from the 2002 No Child Left Behind law.

That angered conservatives, who point out that even though adopting the Common Core is voluntary, Obama’s moves make it all but obligatory. In February, Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said she’d support a state legislative effort to block Common Core implementation — her predecessor had adopted the standards in 2010.

“Just as we should not relinquish control of education to the Federal government,” she wrote in a letter to a state lawmaker, “neither should we cede it to the consensus of other states.”

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan shot back with unusual candor, saying in a statement that Haley’s fear of losing control is “a conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy.”

Also in February, Brookings Institution scholar Tom Loveless issued research calling into question whether the Common Core would have much of an effect. He noted that state standards have done little to equalize academic achievement within states. The reaction, he says, was “like putting my hand in a hornet’s nest — people do have a strong reaction to the Common Core.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Education News


Exclusive – Indoctrination 101: Teaching Chicago Students to Protest

Jones College Prep, a Chicago Public Schools “selective enrollment” school, held “Social Justice Week” in March, a collection of events geared towards turning students into activists. See the schedule of events here.
According to a flyer on the school’s website:

Social Justice Week was created to promote community advancement through dialogue and community service based activism. Moreover, we hope to unify the voice of various JCP and community organizations in which to facilitate collaboration for the betterment of the community at large and promote a unified human rights advancement initiative.

The school is, according to U.S. News & World Report, a Top 100 high school in the country. It’s one of the best of the best–the cream of the crop.

Demographically, Jones College Prep is fairly balanced. Statistics from 2007-2008 show black enrollment is 23.4%, white enrollment is 29.5% and Hispanic enrollment is 33.7%.

Yet the school administrators, through Social Justice Week, gave a platform to community organizers who in turn provided students biased information and encouraged them to take specific steps to protest, reports exclusively.

When we heard about the week, we contacted school officials requesting to observe and record the events. All parties consented.

You can watch the exclusive video below.

On Wednesday of Social Justice Week, Black Star Project, a Chicago-based community organizing group, was brought into the school after school hours to teach students about “non-violent” protesting. Led by Phillip Jackson, former “Chief of Education” under former Mayor Richard Daley, the optional discussion was focused on students fighting back against gun crime.

Black Star Project, according to its website, is funded by Open Society Foundations (i.e. George Soros), Best Buy, ING and Toyota Motor Sales, among others.

But Jackson apparently had no interest in allowing students to come to their own conclusions on gun ownership.

Jackson’s co-presenter, Camille Williams of the Peace in the Hood movement, made several inflammatory statements about gun ownership and the National Rifle Association. She claimed the NRA is indifferent to gun violence. She also asserted she has received emails from the NRA and/or its members claiming she is “going to hell” for her advocacy and “these porch monkeys deserved to die,” referring to black children killed by guns. contacted Jackson regarding these emails, wishing to make them public. We received no response.

When one student stated that she believed everyone should be able to own guns, her opinion was dismissed.

Williams: Right now in Springfield, they are moving to pass conceal and carry so that everybody can carry guns. Are you all in agreement with that?

Student: Um…I am because I think if you take away guns from regular citizens, the criminals and the police are the only ones who have them, so…

Williams: did you look at this?

[At that point, she held up a list to young people who have been killed with guns.]

Student: Yes, ma’am, I did.

Williams: How many of these kids on here are able to carry a gun?

Student: None of them.

Williams: And they are the leading targets.

At this particular session of Social Justice Week, no opposing views were offered. It appeared only certain outcomes were being sought. Jackson strongly encouraged the students to develop forms of non-violent protest. “I’m not telling you to do it, but if you were going to,” he said, leading the proverbial horse to the water.

“I’m just saying,” he said on several occasions.

Jackson then offered the idea of creating a symbolic graveyard on the school lawn of headstones featuring the names of Chicago residents killed with guns.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 28, 2012 in Education News


Why Hasn’t This Teacher Been Fired???

When Stuart Chaifetz, a father in Cherry Hill, N.J., was told his autistic son was acting uncharacteristically violent at school, he sent him to class wearing a hidden recording device that caught a teacher on tape bullying students. NBC’s Jeff Rossen reports

Autistic boy’s father: Why hasn’t teacher been fired over ‘bullying’?

By Ian Johnston,

The father of an autistic boy allegedly bullied by staff at a New Jersey school has vowed to keep campaigning until the teacher of his son’s class has her license revoked.

Stuart Chaifetz, 44, put a wire on his son Akian, 10, and recorded staff in his class at Horace Mann Elementary School in Cherry Hill calling the child “a bastard,” talking about vomiting that morning due to a hangover, and apparently teasing the child to the point where he had a “half-hour meltdown.”

The school superintendent said Tuesday that staff who were heard acting inappropriately were no longer working in the district. At least one classroom aide reportedly lost her job.

But Chaifetz said the teacher, Kelly Altenburg, had been moved to another school. The district has refused to comment beyond the superintendent’s statement.

“When did teachers become more important than children?” Chaifetz said.

He decided to put a wire on Akian after staff repeatedly complained the child was hitting them and throwing chairs around. He could not understand why his “wonderful, happy” son would act in this way and decided to find out what was going on in the class. Akian’s autism meant he was unable to explain.

Chaifetz, speaking in a YouTube video that contained clips from the February recording, said the tape revealed that staff at the school were “literally making my son’s life a living hell.”

“Okay, Akian, you are a bastard,” was one comment on the tape from a woman Chaifetz said he’s “99 percent” sure was the teacher.

“Go ahead and scream, because guess what? You are going to get nothing until your mouth is shut,” a woman’s voice was heard saying in another exchange.

He also recorded a conversation between two people in the class talking about the consequences of a night out drinking wine with a friend.

“You know what I was doing this morning?” said one woman. “Heaving?” asked the other. “Oh my God, so bad. The wine won.”

Chaifetz, 44, an investigator with an animal protection group, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, or SHARK, blames Altenburg for the classroom’s atmosphere.

“Even if she said nothing, she should be fired because that room was her responsibility,” he said.

However, Steve Wollmer, communications director for the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, told that Altenburg “basically was exonerated” and said Chaifetz “doesn’t perhaps understand exactly what happened there.”

Wollmer said Altenburg had been reassigned to another school.

“My understanding is the board did that because they wanted to avoid any further contact between parents and her in the class because this guy has stirred up concern among parents,” he said.

Wollmer said the association had not been asked to represent Altenburg because “she’s not implicated in what’s raging out there on the Internet.”

Speaking in general terms, Wollmer said that “before people accuse people of things, they want to know if they’re accusing them fairly or accurately.”

“What if she were not present at the time? There were teacher aides involved in this. What if she were not in that immediate part of the room? If you don’t witness something, how can you stop it?” he said.

Altenburg’s attorney, Matthew B. Wieliczko, said that “at this time, we have no comment,” when contacted by

“I’m not letting this go. I will take this to the department of education and get her license revoked so she cannot work anywhere else,” Chaifetz said.

“I think there need to be offenses that teachers get fired for, regardless of tenure or not,” he added. “When you can prove bullying by a teacher, tenure should be meaningless.”

Child ‘doing much better’
Akian has now left Horace Mann, and Chaifetz said he was “doing much better now he’s away from there.”

“He doesn’t have any of the behaviors he had then. It only happened when he was with the teacher, Kelly Altenburg, and the aide,” he said. “But I think he’s got some scars from this. How could he not?”

The YouTube video containing clips from the recording had more than 2.9 million views as of 9 a.m. ET Thursday, and an online petition to “pass legislation so that teachers who bully children are immediately fired” had 111,000 signatures.

Chaifetz said the response has had been “overwhelming.”

Dad wires up autistic son, 10, to expose ‘bullying’ by teaching staff

“There are so many wonderful people, people with stories of them being bullied, they are coming in every hour, hundreds of emails,” he said. “This is really pervasive. There’s a lot of bullying, there’s a lot of bullying of special needs kids. It’s like an epidemic.”

He said his son’s case had “opened up a big window into what’s going on.”

“People feel like they’re alone,” he said. “One positive thing that has come out of this: They saw a parent standing up and it’s helping them stand up too.”

The Associated Press has found at least nine similar cases across the U.S. since 2003. It said parents of special needs students had secretly recorded teachers using insults like “bastard,” “tard,” “damn dumb” and “a hippo in a ballerina suit.” A bus driver threatened to slap one child, while a bus monitor told another, “Shut up, you little dog.”

Chaifetz said he had given advice to “a couple” of other parents on how to put a wire on their child, after they contacted him about it, but cautioned people to check to laws in their state.

CaseClosed2: Parents must protect their children against bullying teachers and staff. More parents should get the bad behavio of teachersr on video tape and expose what is happening to their children in some of these schools which goes unreported and pushed under the rug. There are teachers who shouldn’t be in the classroom, they were bullys as kids and are bullys as aduts.Hidden cameras are necessary to get the truth revealed to the unsuspecting public.

Your kid could be next to be classified a criminal with a criminal in nature school record which will follow the student until he graduates school, or does something to be put in jail because the stress of coping with the vile actions of school staff became too much for him, or her to bear. Let’s not let this happen. Let’s not allow our children to be bullied by teachers and staff. Get their unprofessional bad behavior on tape.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Education News


SlowJamming The News President Obama Style

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Education News


Education Should Be Free In The United States

or at least cheaper…

Is education still worth the debt?

As the years tick by, college is becoming increasingly unaffordable. Financial aid information site reports that the average college tuition is rising at nearly three times the rate of inflation. However, the percentage of college costs that federal Pell grants cover is diminishing. Lauren Asher, president of Institute for College Access & Success, an Oakland, Calif.-based advocacy group dedicated to increasing college access, says the financial burden of higher education is enough to turn off some students from it entirely. With student loan default rates up and employment opportunities down, is educational debt still worth it?

“There is no question that, on average, a college degree is still a very good investment,” says Asher. “The unemployment rate for young adults who have just a high school diploma is more than twice the unemployment rate for those with a (bachelor’s degree).”

Research shows that in addition to having more job options, bachelor’s degree holders also have significantly higher salaries. A study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce shows that the average worker with a four-year degree earns 84 percent more over his or her lifetime than someone with a high school diploma. That’s a payoff of approximately $1 million.

Asher adds that oftentimes it’s fiscally better to borrow and beeline your way to graduation than it is to minimize debt by juggling full-time work and studies.

“If you wait a while after high school before you go to college, if you drop out of school once you’ve enrolled to work for a while then go back, if you go to school part-time, if you go to a two-year school and you’re qualified for a four-year school and if you work long hours, you’re less likely to get a degree or a certificate. So in some cases, modest federal loan borrowing can really support (degree) completion,” she explains.

While a four-year degree is statistically one of the smartest investments workers can make, students can still get into financial trouble by taking on excessively high debt, attending institutions with high loan default rates and borrowing risky private student loans over federal ones.

Instead of taking on excessive educational debt, Asher advises students to seek affordable institutions that won’t require students to take on debt beyond the federal Stafford loan limit of $31,000 for dependent undergrads or $57,500 for independent students. Students can do that by comparing cost figures from the net price calculators each institution is required to have on their website.

“If the school you’re interested in is urging you to take out a private loan or would require you to take out private loans in addition to federal loans, keep looking,” she says, adding that private loans often come with few borrower protections and variable interest rates that can be unpredictable. “There should be schools where that is not necessary.”

CaseClosed2: A college degree is becoming more and more expensive to receive. Graduates are bogged down in debt before they’ve had a chance to get their careers up and running.They will be repaying student loans for years and years which just shouldn’t be the case. How will they be able to afford to live a comfortable lifestyle when they are stressed because they are loaded down in debt?

A college education should be free in the United States, or much cheaper if we want productive college graduates making their mark in bettering the United States of America.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Education News


What Was This Teacher Thinking?

Manuael Ernest Dillow, 60.

Police: Kingsport man arrested for lining up his students, firing blank shots from gun
By staff report

A Kingsport man who teaches at a vocational school in Abingdon, Va., has been arrested after allegedly pulling a blank firing gun on his students, pointing it their direction and firing multiple times.

The incident occurred April 4 at William H. Neff Center. Manuael Ernest Dillow, 60, of 840 Liberty Drive, Kingsport, was arrested Wednesday for the alleged incident and charged with 12 felony counts of brandishing a firearm on school property.

The Washington County Sheriffs Office reports the charges are class 6 felonies, with each count punishable up to five years incarceration and a $2,500 fine.

Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman reports School Superintendent Jim Sullivan notified the Sheriff’s Office of the incident. An investigation reportedly discovered Dillow “gathered” the attention of the 12 students in his welding class and lined them up near a garage door in the shop.

“He then pulled a ‘blank firing handgun,’ black in color, from the back waistband of his pants and discharged the weapon between four and ten shots in the direction of the line of the students,” states a Wednesday afternoon press release. “The ‘report’ of the firearm was similar to that of a firearm that fires a projectile, thus placing the students in fear, according to statements. No students were physically injured as a result of the incident.”

Dillow was released on a $20,000 unsecured bond with a hearing date scheduled for May 7.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Education News


Georgia Cops Handcuff, Arrest 6-Year-Old Girl
Salecia Johnson accused of assaulting principal, damaging property By Matt Cantor, Newser Staff

Georgia police have sparked controversy after they handcuffed and arrested a 6-year-old who school officials accused of assaulting the principal and damaging property. Police responded to an elementary school’s call on Friday to find kindergartner Salecia Johnson having a tantrum on the principal’s office floor, they said. When an officer tried to calm her down, she “began actively resisting and fighting,” the police report said. “The child was then placed in handcuffs for her safety,” said the police chief, according to CNN. “When a person is put in handcuffs, it’s for their safety, it’s not a punishment.”

Johnson was “biting the doorknob of the office and jumping on the paper shredder”; she also threw furniture, hitting the principal in the leg, the report said. The girl was released to her aunt after her parents couldn’t be reached. Speaking to reporters, however, Johnson’s mother asked if there was “any other kind of intervention” that could have been used. “Call the police? Is that the first step?” asked Constance Ruff. Plans to press juvenile charges were dropped, police said, but Johnson has been suspended until August, according to her mother.

CaseClosed2: Here we go again giving a black child a criminal record at an early age. This situation could have been handled by simply calling the students parent to the school to intervene.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Education News