RSS

Monthly Archives: June 2012

Good News:No Student Loan Increase


Congress Avoids Student-Loan Increase

Debt-addled college students can breathe a sigh of relief: Thanks to a rare moment of congressional compromise, the interest rate on their student loans won’t double on Sunday—instead, they will freeze at 3.4 percent for the next year. The measure was tucked into a larger bill which included bridge and road funding that sailed through the House and Senate earlier today, and it will save more than 7 million students an estimated $1,000 in loan fees over the next year. “This legislation proves that when Republicans decide to work with Democrats, we can do a lot to move our economy forward,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Read more here…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/2chambers/post/student-loan-deal-approved-by-house/2012/06/29/gJQAoufqBW_blog.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 30, 2012 in Education News

 

Pennies Add Up To Pay For Student’s Room And Board


Woman Pays College With 500000 Pennies

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Education News

 

Crappy TV Won’t Help Your Kid’s Self Esteem


Watching TV Can Lower Children’s Self Esteem, Study Finds
The Huffington Post | By Michelle Marques

Busy parents have become master multitaskers. But as making dinner, cleaning the house and doing laundry are all underway, the TV is often on in the background, which could be a disservice to your kids, experts say.

Research from the University of Cincinnati finds that children are watching TV while their parents are trying to complete the many errands on their never ending to-do lists. And while parents may be pros at tuning out, they may not be considering the effects that TV can have on their children.

A study conducted by Indiana University found that TV viewing can alter children’s self esteem. White girls and black boys and girls tend to feel worse about themselves after viewing various forms of electronic media. However, white boys are in luck, TV viewing actually increases their self confidence.

The study surveyed 400 black and white preadolescents in the Midwest over one year. Professors Nicole Martins and Kristen Harrison focused on the correlation between total time spent watching TV and self esteem, rather than the impact of certain types of programming. They found watching more TV negatively affected self esteem for all children, except white males.

“Regardless of what show you’re watching, if you’re a white male, things in life are pretty good for you,” Martins said in a release. “You tend to be in positions of power, you have prestigious occupations, high education, glamorous houses, a beautiful wife, with very little portrayals of how hard you worked to get there.”

But other groups of children were subject to endless stereotypes. According to the study, female children are hard-pressed to find a diversity of roles for women on television. Black boys are no better off. Their TV brothers are often portrayed as criminals or lacking intelligence.

Black children in the study on average watched 10 more hours of TV per week than their white counterparts.
But don’t banish the TV just yet. Parents can help counter these negative effects by choosing programming that reflects positive values and refrains from promoting stereotypes, said Sierra Filucci, TV and DVD editor at Common Sense Media.

“The images that our kids see through media and the news and images they see in video games informs their sense of what’s normal,” she said. “I think it’s important that we have our kids be savvy media critics and consumers and that we insert our own comments about media as often as we possibly can.”

Fliccui encourages parents to watch TV with their children in order to start a dialogue and to help children interpret the images and messages they see on the small screen. She says parents should choose programs that promote diversity, such as “Handy Manny,” “Doc McStuffins” and “A.N.T. Farm.” She also suggests adhering to the Academy of Pediatrics reccomendation of no screen time for children under 2 years old and to monitor the amount of TV older children watch per day.

“It’s about balance, where kids are playing in the real world, doing sports, interacting with their parents and the community,” Fliccui said. “Parents are the best resource for kids and they’re the ones that can have the biggest effect on kids self esteem.”

As an alternative to TV, Martha Cornog, book reviewer for the School Library Journal, suggest these graphic novels with African-American characters. A few of our picks are below.

•Billions of Bats: A Buzz Beaker Brainstorm by Scott NickelBuzz Beaker is a kid inventor who loves science, but sometimes his gadgets backfire. He also gets to save the day when others get into science-related trouble. This time, his girl-genius classmate Sarah wants to demonstrate her new cosmic copy machine to the school, but instead of one copy of a friend’s pet bat, she gets a ton of them.

•Invasion of the Gym Class Zombies by Scott NickelTrevor’s new teacher has turned the gym class into zombielike, radio-controlled jocks. It’s up to him to figure out how to get them back to normal.

•Luke on the Loose by Harry BlissLittle Luke’s enjoying a day in the park with dad, but when he gets into boring daddy talk with adults, Luke tears off chasing pigeons, leaving a frantic father far behind. Galloping merrily through traffic, pedestrians, and then across the Brooklyn Bridge, he finally joins his prey on a rooftop, where he falls asleep and is rescued by the fire department.

•Monster and Me by Robert MarshBig, loveable Dwight is twelve-year-old Gabby’s pet monster and he’s tapped to play Scrooge in her class’s annual Christmas play. Problem is, Dwight speaks only monster-talk, not English.

•The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by George Beard and Harold HutchinsThis spin-off of the popular Captain Underpants series introduces a newborn superhero, inadvertently powerized upon falling into a container of “super power juice” stolen from Captain Underpants by the evil Deputy Dangerous.

•The Boy Who Burped Too Much by Scott NickelBobby burps loudly just about everywhere, which upsets other people more than it bothers him. But he has to control his burping if he wants to do well in the upcoming spelling bee.

•WordGirl: Coalition of Malice by Chris KarwowskiFifth-grader Becky Botsforth has a secret identity: WordGirl, with superhero strength and a huge vocabulary. Landing on Earth with her monkey sidekick when their spaceship crash-landed, she fights evil villains while introducing new words.

•In Search of the Fog Zombie: A Mystery About Matter by Lynda BeauregardThere’s a rumor at Camp Dakota about the fog zombie: when the thick fog wafts from the lake, people hear noises like footsteps and moaning. There’s a scientific explanation, too, which five of the campers figure out when a hip counselor drops clues they can solve.

•Living on Spongecake: The Curtis Chronicles by Ray BillingsleyWilkins family life is never boring, thanks to the shenanigans of eleven-year-old Curtis and his younger brother Barry. While the good-hearted Curtis softens to the charms of potential girlfriend Michelle, Barry remains oblivious to the romantic intentions of cute little Chutney. An ongoing plotline features a town block of minority-owned small businesses that is to be demolished to make way for a supermall, and the townspeople’s efforts to stop the bulldozers.

•Mama’s Boyz: The Big Picture; What You Need To Succeed! by Jerry CraftLighthearted vignettes with a serious message convey how mundane, day-to-day living habits can affect one’s future. Slacker teen Yusuf Porter blows off his mama’s advice but is then visited in his dreams, as in A Christmas Carol, by four phantoms that are versions of his future self. They counsel him on matters of health, appearance, family, self-esteem, education, and respect for others.

•Muhammad Ali: The King of the Ring by Lewis HelfandIn its back matter, the Ali includes information on how the graphic novel was made plus stories about other prizefighters.

•The Prison-Ship Adventure of James Forten, Revolutionary War Captive by Marty Rhodes FigleyJames Forten was a historical figure, an African American born free in Philadelphia in 1766. He enlisted as a teen in the Revolutionary War and was captured by the British. As a prisoner of war he also faced the possibility being sold as a slave.

•The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor DavisUltra-nerd Julian Calendar hopes he can hide his supersmarts so he can fit in at junior high, but then he meets Ben and Greta, two closet brainiacs like himself. The trio forms a secret club with a high-tech hideaway to design goofy and inventive gadgets, all rendered in wildly detailed art. An evil scientist grabs their inventions to pull off a midnight heist. Can they foil his plot?

•Ultimate Comics Spider-Man by Brian Michael BendisIn this version of the Spider-Man universe, Peter Parker is killed suddenly and Miles Morales, an African American/Latino middle-schooler, takes over the web-slinging.

CaseClosed2: Black Kids and adults who suffer low self esteem would feel better about themselves if they saw positive images of themselves on television. If they only see negative portrayals day in and day out it will do nothing to enhance their self esteem and behavior. Stop watching crappy shows and concentrate on good programming tv executives seem not know much about.Get out and find places you can take your kids to where they will see positive images of themselves such as black museums, plays and other forms of quality entertainment. Don’t have tv babysitting your kids.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Education News

 

Slave For A Day?


‘Slave for a Day’ black history program causes controversy

By Jon Meoli, Towson Times

The July 8 event, which park ranger and event organizer Angela Roberts-Burton said is part of the historical site’s monthly black history educational series, caused a stir on the Internet for what some believe was insensitive wording.

“By no means am I trying to, or are we the Park Service, trying to assimilate the atrocities that slave African-Americans endured,” Roberts-Burton said Wednesday.

“This is just a glimpse of the hard work, being out in the heat and sun,” she said.

In the initial event description on the Hampton National Historic Site website, which was online until Tuesday, Roberts-Burton used the “Slave for a Day” heading.

The release also used exclamation points to note that it was the “first time ever at Hampton!” and participants could “carry buckets of water with a yoke on your shoulders!”

The posting drew response online, including from the site Baltimore Fishbowl, where blogger Rachel Monroe wrote, “Clearly Hampton is approaching this from an education-is-good! perspective. Their hearts are in the right place. … Still, the inescapable and brutal fact of slavery was that it wasn’t for a day. … Some things are too profound to playact, it seems to me.”

Roberts-Burton said that since Monday, she’s received around 50 emails and phone calls reacting to the title.

Anthony Fugett, vice president of the Baltimore County chapter of the NAACP and a former board member for the national NAACP, said he had no problem with the program, but agreed the title was an issue.

“The event was well-intentioned, but the name may have been inappropriate, and I’m glad to see they changed it,” said Fugett, an Owings Mill resident.

“I don’t see it as a menacing event at all,” Fugett said. “Slavery is a part of the history of the country and the state of Maryland. The one thing we don’t want is for our history to be missed, and sometimes it’s good to get a perspective of a day in the life of a slave.”

Roberts-Burton said she used the language in the initial posting because she was excited for the fact that it’s the first such event at Hampton.

After reaction started coming in, the title was switched yesterday from “Slave for a Day” to “Walk a Mile, a Minute in the Footsteps of the Enslaved on the Hampton Plantation,” and the description was changed to remove exclamation points.

Roberts-Burton said the park superintendent and the Northeast Regional Office asked her to changed the title of the event.

“We changed the name and [the National Park Service] allowed me to pick it,” she said. “No one did it for me.”

“I’m the one who told them to alter it,” said Vincent Vaise, chief of interpretation for the National Park Service, overseeing Hampton and Fort McHenry.

“We didn’t want people to be upset because of the title of the program,” he said, “but we want people to see the purpose of the program, to tell the story and empathize with people of that era.”

“This is how we learn from each other,” Vaise said of the reaction. “And really, that’s part of the dialogue we want to have. Places like Hampton can be used as a forum for race relations and a critical look at history.

“To be blunt, we could do a concert or a furniture tour — that’s easy history,” he said. “These are the types of things the park service wants to do to make itself relevant. But when you go there [discussing slavery], we know we have to expect some people are going to react, and we should be ready for it. Hopefully, this experience might bring out more people to see what it’s really about.”

Roberts-Burton said the free program will allow participants to experience the same type of farm labor as enslaved people at Hampton Mansion did.

“Obviously, I have the backing of the National Park Service,” she said.

The July 8 event will end with a memorial ceremony conducted by the African Diaspora Ancestral Commemoration Institute, and will commemorate those who were enslaved at Hampton.

Roberts-Burton, who is black, said some critics who contacted her after the event was posted suggested they just hold the healing ceremony, but she said that ceremony would be moot without knowledge of what needed healing.

She has also heard from supporters, including Carl Miller, a race relations tutor at Harvard University who Roberts-Burton said “knew what I was doing.”

On Wednesday morning, Miller set up a Facebook chat on the page of the Community Healing Network that allowed Roberts-Burton to tell her side of the story.

Roberts-Burton said she studied the African diaspora — the historical movement of Africans and their descendants throughout the world — while earning her master’s degree at Howard University.

She said the original title was meant to draw attention to the event.

The National Park Service began running the property in 1948, but the slave quarters and overseer’s quarters have only been open to the public since 2006. The mansion was the home to the Ridgely family, and according to its website, “It preserves and tells the story of the occupancy of seven generations of one family, the Ridgelys, and their large and diverse labor force. …

“Hampton is the story of people — enslaved African-Americans, indentured servants, industrial and agricultural workers, and owners. It is also the story of the economic and moral changes that made this kind of life obsolete,” the website states.

“We have programs on a monthly basis on the African-American experience, and most of the time people who attend are a majority white,” Roberts-burton said. “We’re trying to get more African-Americans to come to the site, but considering the city is majority black, the majority of our visitation is white.”

Recently, she said, musician Joe Becton performed a concert detailing the evolution of blues music. Roberts-Burton said it was attended by 40 people, “and there wasn’t one African-American sitting there.”

She also gives monthly tours dressed in period attire that describe the mansion and surrounding buildings strictly from the perspective of African-Americans during the slavery era.

“If you look at the website itself, on the home page, it says ‘black history month is every month at Hampton,’” Roberts-Burton said.

“People who are complaining about this are people who don’t even come here.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Education News

 

Police Called On Top Student


British school calls police to remove pupil ‘obsessed’ with studying
Posted: Jun 21, 2012 5:55 AM CDT
Updated: Jun 21, 2012 7:59 AM CDT
A British high school called police to remove a star pupil who is so “obsessed” with revising that he refused to leave the library.

Jamie Gagliardi, 18, was ejected from Ifield Community College in southern England, after refusing to leave the library, the Crawley News reported.

The school accused Gagliardi, who is predicted to be an A-grade student, of being “obsessed” with after-school tuition and said that it called the police because the pupil was causing a “nuisance.”

Gagliardi, who was forced to call his mother to pick him up, said, “I have been punished for wanting to do well. I am a hard-working and dedicated student, and this could have such an impact on my future.”

The student went to the library despite being banned from the premises for the day as a punishment for interrupting the school principal during a meeting — to request extra revision sessions.

Marilyn Evans, the school’s director of administration, said, “He became vociferous and irritated that he couldn’t have after-school revision.”

She described Gagliardi as a “top student” who should do well in his exams, but said he had been “causing a nuisance and a disturbance on the premises,” adding, “He is obsessed with doing after-school revision.”

A police spokeswoman confirmed that officers were called to the school to remove a “disruptive” pupil who was refusing to leave the premises, but said that Gagliardi will not face any charges.

SOURCE LINK: http://www.thisissussex.co.uk/Ifield-Community-College-calls-police-remove-teen/story-16419917-detail/story.html

Read more: http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/18843488/british-school-calls-police-to-remove-pupil-obsessed-with-studying?clienttype=printable#ixzz1yWeSKhwn

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Education News

 

Charter Schools Don’t Want Students Who Are Not Up To Their Standards


Charter Schools Still Enroll Fewer Disabled Students

Charter schools in most states continue to enroll proportionately fewer students with disabilities than traditional public schools, a new government report shows.

Across the country, disabled students represented 8.2 percent of all students enrolled during the 2009-10 year in charter schools, compared with 11.2 percent of students attending traditional public schools, according to a Government Accountability Office analysis of Department of Education data.

In the previous year, 7.7 percent of students in charter schools had disabilities, compared with 11.3 percent in traditional public schools. Data covered students ages 6 to 21 in the 40 states that have charter schools.

Critics of charter schools, which are financed with taxpayer money but typically enjoy more autonomy than district public schools, have said the charters skim the best students from their communities and are less likely to enroll students with special needs.

Representative George Miller, a California Democrat who is the ranking member on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, said the lower enrollment of students with disabilities in charter schools was “not acceptable by any means.” But given the controversy over charter schools, Mr. Miller said, “my political antennae would have said that the disparity would have been greater.”

The G.A.O. report showed that in six states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, charter schools enrolled a higher proportion of disabled students than traditional public schools. And schools where more than 20 percent of the students had disabilities were more likely to be charter schools than traditional schools, in part because some charter schools cater specifically to students with special needs such as autism.

The report’s authors posited several possible reasons for the overall disparity. Some parents choose public schools that have more established programs for students with disabilities, while some charter schools do not have the resources or teaching staff to support individual students’ needs. But in some cases, the report said, school administrators tacitly discriminate by discouraging students with disabilities from enrolling.

Jim Shelton, assistant deputy secretary of innovation and improvement, the Department of Education office that oversees charter schools, said some district schools might be identifying students as disabled who are not, a factor that could skew the data.

But in response to some complaints of discrimination, the Education Department opened an office to help charter schools support students with disabilities.

James H. Wendorf, executive director of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, described the report’s findings as “troubling.”

“There could be a number of reasons that this is happening, but it’s starting to quack like a duck,” Mr. Wendorf said. “I think we need to start looking carefully at how decisions are made by charter schools in admitting students or in releasing students. We’re concerned from some previous studies that children with disabilities are admitted but then counseled out.”

Todd Ziebarth, vice president of the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, said charter schools did not always receive sufficient financing to provide special education.

“Anything we can do to better equip charter schools to be able to serve the fullest range of students possible is something we support,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in print on June 20, 2012, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Charter Schools Still Enroll Fewer Disabled Students.

CaseClosed2: Charter Schools academically are among the best. However,they expect students to be on point academically and psychologically. If a student has a behavorial issue,they don’t want to be bothered. They will give that student help at the end of the school year instead of during the beginning of the school year to prevent him or her being held back to repeat the grade even if he attends another highly qualified school and especially if he’s an African American student. Some charter schools who are considered among the best perform on a millitary style basis which is not beneficial or necessary to learning.kids can learn and achieve without super strick and strigent school rules and have been doing so since the beginning of time. Charter Schools don’t want students with issues to make them look bad in the eyes of the public and others so they get rid of such students by any means necessary.No Child Left Behind is not in their criteria.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Education News

 

African American Students Homeschooled Increases



African-Americans increasingly turn to home-schooling
By Garrett Tenney

It’s the end of another school year, and for a growing number of African-American kids, it will be their last outside the home.

Nationwide, more and more families are choosing to home school their children each year, and the fastest growing segment of the home school movement is African-Americans, experts say. Some 220,000 black children are home-schooled, according to one estimate.

“Each one of them has excelled so much, and I can see it,” Kisha Hayes, of Baton Rouge, La., says of her three children, whom she began home-schooling five years ago. “I can see the difference in their learning.”

Alkinee Jackson, also of Baton Rouge, began home-schooling her five children after she and her husband saw the attitude and behavior of their oldest son, Alante, worsen. He was only in second grade.

“If we allowed him to continue to be there and be influenced, by the time he reached high school he’d already be gone; and we know where he’d end up,” Jackson said.

Nationwide, home-schooling grew from 1.7 percent of the school-age population in 1999 to 2.9 percent in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The total number of kids being home-schooled has more than doubled since 1999 to more than two million, according to estimates. Some 220,000 of those students are African-American, according to The National Home Education Research Institute.

George Noblit, an education sociologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said African-American parents increasingly turn to home-schooling to protect their children from drugs and bullying, as well as to ensure the kids get more individualized instruction.

“For African Americans, the current state of education is actually not one that is conducive to kids learning,” Noblit told FoxNews.com. “More and more kids end up not being served well. African Americans are positively saying, ‘It’s time to find a better educational situation.’”

Hayes, who calls her classroom the “Hayes Homeschool Academy,” said she and her husband are able to spend the kind of one-on-one time with their kids that school teachers couldn’t. They can also emphasize subjects they believe public schools don’t, including religion and African-American history.

“We’re able to focus on black history a little bit more than I think public schools would give it,” said Hayes, who moved from San Bernadino, Calif., five years ago. “We’re actually able to learn the things we want to learn, whatever that might be, and I think that would go with any nationality.”

While home school families do have some flexibility in what is taught, each state sets out certain standards and requirements that home schoolers are obligated to meet each year.

New York, for example, has some of the tightest regulations on home schooling, and maintains a very detailed list of what subjects must be taught and when. It also requires parents to file quarterly reports for each subject describing what was taught, how many hours were spent on it, and what grade the student received.

Texas, which has some of the friendliest home school laws in the country, only requires instruction on good citizenship, math, reading, spelling, and grammar.

Noblit expects the home-schooling trend to accelerate among African-Americans over the next decade.

“The African American community is building the networks and linking with white home schoolers,” he said. “Unless we figure out how to make the schools work for kids of color, we are going to see more and more people consider all of the options available to them.”

Now 15, Alante is preparing to graduate high school a year early. He’s taking a Chinese language course online, and deciding whether to major in engineering or medicine in college.

Kamal Hayes, who at age 16 is a five-year veteran of his mom’s “academy,” said home-schooling has worked out well for him, too.

“Nothing against public school,” he said, “but you’re not really missing out on anything.”

Garrett Tenney is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the Junior Reporters Program here.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/16/african-americans-increasingly-turn-to-home-schooling/#ixzz1yFDwrufI

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Education News

 

A Bad School Action


Parents’ lawsuit: Third-grader forced to bathe at Texas school

By Scott Gordon, NBCDFW.com
A school nurse and counselor forced an 8-year-old Texas boy to bathe after telling him he “smelled badly, was dirty and had bad hygiene,” according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

The boy was forced to take off his clothes one day in November and the two school officials “began violently washing his body,” the parents said.

Amber and Michael Tilley filed the suit against the Peaster School District on Thursday in federal court in Fort Worth.

“It’s terrible, and we don’t want anything like that to happen to any other children,” Amber Tilley said.

Peaster Independent School District Superintendent Matthew Adams did not return a phone call seeking comment. The district offices appeared to be closed on Friday.

The boy is referred to by the initials “P.T.” in the lawsuit.

His parents also say school officials put cotton balls in their son’s ears and left them there for the entire day.

“His body and his ears, they were really sore, real tender from being scrubbed,” Amber Tilley said.

The lawsuit claims the boy was traumatized by what happened and has had to see therapists.

“He just kept on and on, wanting to take baths,” his mother said. “You know, he just felt so disgusting.”

The parents say nobody from the school ever contacted them about a hygiene problem.

“The first thing I said was, ‘You ought to try to call us,'” Michael Tilley said. “And they said, ‘We were trying to avoid him being embarrassed.’ And I said, ‘You all did a real good job of helping that process along.'”

His parents kept him out of school for a week.

“The first day he went back to school, he completely sprayed himself from head to toe and back up again with cologne,” Amber Tilley said. “And it was choking me out, but I didn’t say anything to him.”

His parents say they believe he was clean before the incident and insist that, at age 8, he doesn’t have a problem with body odor.

“It’s never go two, three days without a bath — never,” the mother said.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages and also asks that the district “cease all harassment and retaliation” against the boy.

The parents’ attorney, Jason Bach, of Austin, said the case is unlike any he has tried.

“The thing that’s unusual is that any school employee would take it upon themselves to do this to a child,” Bach said. “As bizarre as that is, the injuries that this child has sustained are significant.”

CaseClosed2: How dare this school do such a thing to a student. It was not their job to wash the child,they should have notified his parents about the situation.And they said they didn’t want to embarrass the child?Give me a freaking break.

http://media.nbcdfw.com/designvideo/embeddedPlayer.swf

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Education News

 

Children Must Be Taught Right from Wrong At An Early Age


baltimoresun.com

Students at Baltimore County school make racist drawing involving Obama during class
Three Eastern Tech students suspended; principal says there was ‘lack of supervision by a teacher’
By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun

Students at a Baltimore County high school drew a racially offensive picture on a classroom board last week and then sent it out on Twitter, prompting the principal to call police and suspend several students.

The picture, drawn during class at Eastern Technical High School, shows three nooses hanging from the rafters of a building, according to Baltimore County police spokesman Cathy Batton. Beside the ropes are a burning cross with three stick figures in pointed hats, suggesting the Ku Klux Klan. To the right is a grave marker with the name Barack Obama at the top; under the president’s name are two racial epithets.

“We have a group of teenagers who made bad decisions. It was coupled with a lack of supervision by a teacher. We are going to use it as a teaching opportunity next year,” said Eastern Tech Principal Tom Evans.

Some African-American parents say their children have told them they have heard racial slurs and jokes told about blacks in the Essex-area school in the past year. Some parents reported the issue to administrators, while others have said their children stayed quiet.

The picture was drawn the morning of June 7, the day before school ended. The drawing was made toward the end of the class period when students were coming and going, said Batton, who had reviewed the police report. At the time, the teacher did not notice because she was at her desk talking to several students about their final exam grades. A student told her about the drawing. “When she went to go see, most of the images had been erased,” Batton said.

But a student in the class had taken a photo of the drawing before it was erased, and posted the photo on Twitter, where it was seen by other students. Early the next morning, a parent emailed the photo that her child had taken from the social media site to an assistant principal, Batton said.

Since then several parents have seen the photo. “It was disgraceful. I am not naive,” said one African-American mother of an Eastern Tech student; she did not want to be identified for fear that her child would face retaliation. “It was shocking to see how raw it was. You didn’t have to decode it. It was blatant … and it made me angry.”

While she knows that racism exists, the mother said, she never expected her child to feel the school wasn’t safe or that he had to confront it in such a brutal way. She said her child has heard white students call him and other black students names, as well as tell racial jokes. “I just never realized my kid would face it in this extreme manner,” the mother said. “I looked at [the picture] for an hour in total disbelief.”

Evans said he does not believe the incident reflects the culture at his very diverse school, which has a 30 percent minority population of Asians, blacks and Hispanics. Evans said students from many countries and backgrounds attend the school and they all get along.

“The culture here is very positive. These kids all get along very well. This issue is the first time in my five years here that there has been any group targeted because of their race. We have no tolerance for this sort of thing,” said Evans.

Eastern Tech, a magnet school, is considered one of the best high schools in the region. The school has entrance requirements and is designated as a National Blue Ribbon High School, one of only two in the county. It has a high percentage of graduates who have passed at least one Advanced Placement test before they graduate.

Evans said the two students who drew the picture, and another who posted it on social media, have been suspended, but final disciplinary actions have not been determined.

Police will not bring charges, Batton said, because the incident is not considered a hate crime. She said the police report was preliminary and therefore she could not release it.

Evans said he showed the photo of the drawing to faculty members last Friday and told them parents were concerned that teachers were turning their backs on racial tensions in the school. The faculty responded that they had not heard racist remarks between students, and if they did they would have reported them.

“There is no room for this in the school. We think we should be a national model for diversity,” Evans said, adding that the school will discuss the issue next fall.

Parents said they are glad that Evans reacted quickly to the incident. But they hope teachers and administrators will approach the topic in a comprehensive way that teaches children to be more tolerant, not just of black students, but also of gay and lesbian students who may be hearing similar offensive language.

“We have implemented a comprehensive investigation of the issue,” said Edward Newsome, the county administrator in charge of high schools. “Several actions have already taken place. We are also addressing next steps aimed at responding to the concerns of students, parents and other stakeholders.”

liz.bowie@baltsun.com

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Education News

 

Pop GoesThe Bubble


‘Higher Education Bubble’ is about to burst By George F Will

WASHINGTON — Many parents and the children they send to college are paying rapidly rising prices for something of declining quality. This is because “quality” is not synonymous with “value.”

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, University of Tennessee law professor, believes college has become, for many, merely a “status marker” signaling membership in the educated caste, and a place to meet spouses of similar status — “associative mating.” Since 1961, the time students spend reading, writing and otherwise studying has fallen from 24 hours a week to about 15 — enough for a degree often desired only as an expensive signifier of rudimentary qualities (e.g., the ability to follow instructions). Employers value this signifier as an alternative to aptitude tests when evaluating potential employees because such tests can provoke lawsuits by having a “disparate impact” on this or that racial or ethnic group.

In his Encounter Books Broadside “The Higher Education Bubble,” Reynolds says this bubble exists for the same reasons the housing bubble did. The government decided that too few people owned homes/went to college, so government money was poured into subsidized and sometimes subprime mortgages/-student loans, with the predictable result that housing prices/-college tuitions soared and many borrowers went bust. Tuitions and fees have risen more than 440 percent in 30 years as schools happily raised prices — and lowered standards — to siphon up federal money. A recent Wall Street Journal headline: “Student Debt Rises by 8% as College Tuitions Climb.”

Richard Vedder, an Ohio University economist, writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education that as many people — perhaps more — have student loan debts as have college degrees. Have you seen those T-shirts that proclaim “College: The Best Seven- Years of My Life”? Twenty–nine percent of borrowers never graduate, and many who do graduate take decades to repay their loans.

In 2010, The New York Times [NYT] reported on Cortney Munna, then 26, a New York University graduate with almost $100,000 in debt. If her repayments were not then being deferred because she was enrolled in night school, she would have been paying $700 monthly from her $2,300 monthly after-tax income as a photographer’s assistant. She says she is toiling “to pay for an education I got for four years and would happily give back.” Her degree is in religious and women’s studies.

The budgets of California’s universities are being cut, so recently Cal State Northridge students conducted an almost-hunger strike (sustained by a blend of kale, apple and celery juices) to protest, as usual, tuition increases and, unusually and properly, administrators’ salaries. In 2009 the base salary of UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion was $194,000, almost four times that of starting assistant professors. And by 2006, academic administrators outnumbered faculty.

The Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald notes that sinecures in academia’s diversity industry are expanding as academic offerings contract. UC San Diego, while eliminating master’s programs in electrical and computer engineering and comparative literature, and eliminating courses in French, German, Spanish and English literature, added a diversity requirement for graduation to cultivate “a student’s understanding of her or his identity.” So instead of computer science and Cervantes, students can study their identities — themselves. Says Mac Donald, “‘Diversity,’ it turns out, is simply a code word for narcissism.”

She reports that UCSD lost three cancer researchers to Rice University, which offered them 40 percent pay increases. But UCSD found money to create a Vice Chancellorship for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. UC Davis has a Diversity Trainers Institute under an Administrator of Diversity Education, who presumably coordinates with the Cross-Cultural Center. It also has: a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center; a Sexual Harassment Education Program; a Diversity Program Coordinator; an Early Resolution Discrimination Coordinator; and Cross-Cultural Competency Certificates in “Understanding Diversity and Social Justice.” California’s budget crisis has not prevented UC San Francisco from creating a new Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Outreach to supplement UCSF’s Office of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and the Diversity Learning Center (which teaches how to become “a Diversity Change Agent”), and the Center for LGBT Health and Equity, and the Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention & Resolution, and the Chancellor’s Advisory Committees on Diversity, and on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, and on the Status of Women.

So taxpayers should pay more and parents and students should borrow more to fund administrative sprawl in the service of stale political agendas? Perhaps they will, until “pop!” goes the bubble.

Talk back at georgewill@ washpost.com.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Education News