Posts Tagged ‘schools’
The gun-lobby goons were at it again.
The National Rifle Association’s security guards gained notoriety earlier this year when, escorting NRA officials to a hearing, they were upbraided by Capitol authorities for pushing cameramen. The thugs were back Tuesday when the NRA rolled out its “National School Shield” — the gun lobbyists’ plan to get armed guards in public schools — and this time they were packing heat.
About 20 of them — roughly one for every three reporters — fanned out through the National Press Club, some in uniforms with gun holsters exposed, others with earpieces and bulges under their suit jackets.
In a spectacle that officials at the National Press Club said they had never seen before, the NRA gunmen directed some photographers not to take pictures, ordered reporters out of the lobby when NRA officials passed and inspected reporters’ briefcases before granting them access to the news conference.
The antics gave new meaning to the notion of disarming your critics.
By journalistic custom and D.C. law, of course, reporters don’t carry guns to news conferences — and certainly not when the person at the lectern is the NRA’s Asa Hutchinson, an unremarkable former congressman and Bush administration official whom most reporters couldn’t pick out of a lineup. But the NRA wasn’t going to leave any doubt about its superior firepower…
I won’t waste space here on the crap proposal from Hutchinson and the NRA. Sensible people are battling to stay free of the gangster lifestyle they advocate.
Hutchinson, pressed by reporters about the armed goons, said: “You go into a mall, there is security. And so there is security here at the National Press Club.”
A reporter asked Hutchinson what he was afraid of.
“There’s nothing I’m afraid of. I’m very wide open,” Hutchinson replied, separated from his unarmed questioners by an eight-foot buffer zone, a lectern, a raised podium, a red-velvet rope and a score of gun-toting men. “There’s nothing I’m nervous about.”
The answer you would expect from a bully. The answer you would expect from a coward with 20 bodyguards.
Tourists trying to figure out how to reach the capital’s monuments and museums on Wednesday found something on the National Mall that was not on their maps: 857 student desks arrayed near the Washington Monument.
Each desk represents one of the 857 students who drop out of high school in the United States every single hour, every single school day, according to the College Board, which arranged the display to underline its effort to urge presidential candidates to put education at the top of their to-do lists.
The board had nearly a dozen people, iPads in hand, gathering signatures in nearly 100-degree weather for an online petition that said: “If you want my support, I need to hear more from you about how you plan to fix the problems with education. And not just the same old platitudes. I want to know that you have real, tangible solutions, and that once in office, you’re ready to take serious action. I’ll be watching your acceptance speech at your party’s convention…”
The man responsible for executing the display is Adam Hollander, 38, of New York, executive creative producer for Brand Marketers. “We now live in a very visual culture,” he said, his complexion florid after hours in the sun on Tuesday. “Now, you have to see it to believe it. Everybody hears that 857 number, but it doesn’t really mean anything until you’re able to see it.”
Both President Obama and Mitt Romney, his presumptive Republican opponent, often mention the importance of education, usually in the context of fixing the country’s economy and creating jobs, or of making college more affordable — the subject of a speech by Mr. Obama in January. In a speech in May, Mr. Romney proposed allowing poor and disabled students to use federal money to attend any public, private or online school they choose.
Taxpayer-funded vouchers for parents who want to send their kids to private schools has absolutely nothing to do with improving our public school system.
Nearly half of Americans haven’t learned anything about science or evolution in the last thirty years
Forty-six percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years, according to a survey released by Gallup on Friday.
That number has remained unchanged for the past 30 years, since 1982, when Gallup first asked the question on creationism versus evolution. Thirty years ago, 44% of the people who responded said they believed that God created humans as we know them today – only a 2-point difference from 2012.
“Despite the many changes that have taken place in American society and culture over the past 30 years, including new discoveries in biological and social science, there has been virtually no sustained change in Americans’ views of the origin of the human species since 1982,” wrote Gallup’s Frank Newport…
The second most common view is that humans evolved with God’s guidance – a view held by 32% of respondents. The view that humans evolved with no guidance from God was held by 15% of respondents…
The numbers also showed a tendency to follow party lines, with nearly 60% of Republicans identifying as creationists, while 41% of Democrats hold the same beliefs…
According to Newport…”It would be hard to dispute that most scientists who study humans agree that the species evolved over millions of years, and that relatively few scientists believe that humans began in their current form only 10,000 years ago without the benefit of evolution,” writes Newport. “Thus, almost half of Americans today hold a belief … that is at odds with the preponderance of the scientific literature.”
Anyone surprised? Not only has the quality of American education been deteriorating for the past half-century, the starting point for questions like this remains stuck into the availability of science education in the 1930′s.
Young Americans get a mediocre education in science, the arts, reading and math. Not so surprising that they’re still stuck into the cultural cul-de-sac of their parents and grandparents.
Five years after California started cracking down on junk food in school cafeterias, a new report shows that high school students there consume fewer calories and less fat and sugar at school than students in other states.
…The study found that California high school students consumed on average nearly 160 calories fewer per day than students in other states, the equivalent of cutting out a small bag of potato chips. That difference came largely from reduced calorie consumption at school, and there was no evidence that students were compensating for their limited access to junk food at school by eating more at home.
While a hundred calories here or there may not sound like much, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the United States in the last four decades, and many researchers say that most children and adolescents could avoid significant long-term weight gain by cutting out just 100 to 200 extra calories a day…
California students had the lowest daily intake of calories, fat and, especially, added sugars. And it seemed clear that their eating behaviors at school played a large role. California students got a lower proportion of their daily calories from school foods than students in other states: about 21.5 percent, compared with 28.4 percent among students elsewhere…
Still, California’s students had not suddenly become health nuts. They were still eating junk food — just slightly less of it than their peers in other states. And their vitamin and mineral intake was similar to that of students in other parts of the country.
…Dr. Daniel Taber said…said that schools could take an additional step by replacing some of the junk food being filtered out with healthy options like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Iowa, for example, began requiring in 2010 that at least half of the foods available outside meal plans contain whole grains. Other than that, no state has laws that require whole, unprocessed or fresh foods to be available outside of school lunches for high school students…
Dr. Taber realizes that school-based rules are limited. Students consume about 25 percent of their calories at school. Looking for a magic switch to turn off won’t change the whole problem. The battle for healthy kids is going to require strategies that take the message home.
But, changing the landscape in school – ceded to the junk food trade years ago – is a healthy step forward. These are verifiable results.
Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court after 191 years, is crusading to reverse what she says is an alarming decline in America’s knowledge of democracy and announced an initiative Wednesday to educate children across the country.
Asserting that democracy is not inherited at birth but rather learned in school, O’Connor founded the educational nonprofit group iCivics in 2009 to secure America’s governance and prepare the next generation of citizens and leaders.
On Wednesday, O’Connor announced an expansion of that program to include the Boys & Girls Club of America, which has almost 4,000 clubs serving 4.1 million youngsters.
“Many states around the country are no longer teaching or requiring civics education for young people,” said O’Connor, 82. “When I went to school — and that was a long time ago, and I went to school in El Paso, Texas — we had civics almost every year, and in fact, I almost got tired of it.
“But the fact of the matter is that every young person needs to learn how our government works at the national level, at the state level, at the local level and how they can be part of it,” O’Connor said…
O’Connor cited an Annenberg Public Policy Center national survey showing that only one-third of Americans could name all three branches of the U.S. government…
Then she added: “Two-thirds of Americans can name a judge on ‘American Idol,’ and only 15% can name the chief justice of the United States,” who is John Roberts…
As I said the last time I addressed this question: “Justice O’Connor assumes that our political parties actually would welcome an informed citizenship. I can’t imagine why”. We have the added corruption, this year, of Republican and Blue Dog Democrat governors trying to keep citizens from voting.
A plan by the education secretary, Michael Gove, to send a copy of the King James Bible to every school in the country – each including a personal inscription from him – has run into trouble after government sources reported he has been told to find private funding for the project.
Sources said David Cameron told Gove that while he supported the idea, the education secretary should avoid using taxpayers’ money for it. But Gove has yet to find a private philanthropic sponsor for the enterprise, and some Whitehall sources said he has been told he cannot distribute the book until he does so, leaving thousands of copies in a warehouse abroad…
…But Whitehall sources said Gove was told at the highest levels that it would be wrong to spend nearly £400,000 on the project at a time when the government was in negotiations with teaching unions over cuts to their pension entitlement…Wow! I’m surprised the Tories were that perceptive.
The 400th anniversary of the publication of the Bible was in 2011.
This is the same dweeb who wanted British taxpayers to pop for £60 million for a new yacht for the Queen. Phew.
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission
Thousands of children suffered sexual abuse in Dutch Catholic institutions, and church officials failed to adequately address the abuse or help the victims, according to a long-awaited investigation.
The report by an independent commission said Catholic officials failed to tackle the widespread abuse “to prevent scandals”. The suspected number of abuse victims who spent some of their youth in church institutions probably lies somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000, according to a summary of the report…
The commission said it received 1,800 complaints of abuse at Catholic schools, seminaries and orphanages and that the institutions suffered from “a failure of oversight”. It then conducted the broader survey of the general population for a more comprehensive analysis of the scale and nature of sexual abuse of minors.
The commission was set up last year under the leadership of former government minister Wim Deetman to investigate allegations of abuse dating from 1945…
The investigation followed allegations of repeated incidents of abuse at one cloister that quickly spread to claims from Catholic institutions across the country, echoing similar scandals around the world.
The commission identified about 800 priests, brothers, pastors or lay people working for the church who had been named in the complaints. About 105 of them were still alive, although it was not known if they remained in church positions, the report said. It identified them as “perpetrators” rather than “offenders”, meaning they had not been proven to have committed a crime.
The Dutch Catholic Church says it will agree to a system of compensation for victims of priests and church staff. No details, yet.
Anyone expect whatever is volunteered will be closer to real compensation than the amounts contained in first offers from other national branches of the Catholic Church?
This is one of those topics that suggests enough discussion to prompt writing a book – or a separate blog. But, I’m not about to do either. So, discuss it in “comments” or among yourselves.
A rising number of children are learning about sex from watching pornography because sex education lessons are inadequate, researchers have found. The average age at which children first watch pornography is just 11, interviews with 140 pupils, teachers and people working in the porn industry also revealed.
Australian researchers Maree Crabbe and David Corlett said children were turning to adult films because schools were not handling the positive aspects of sex…
“Discussion of sex and intimacy is too often avoided in schools,” they said. “Porn has become a cultural mediator in how young people are understanding and experience sex. Porn is our most prominent sex educator…”
Mary Clegg, chair of the British Association of Sexual Educators, agreed there was a shortfall in sex education at schools. “A lot of our sex education is based on a don’t-do model,” she said. “But young people are hungry for more explicit information. They’re curious and they’re hormone-driven.”
The research found 88 per cent of scenes in pornographic films showed an element of physical aggression, with most directed at the female participant.
To me, that’s the key to the discussion. I would have said this – even prior to reading about the research.
The long-awaited $35 laptop is here, the Indian government said on Wednesday. And it’s not a laptop!
Kapil Sibal, India’s minister for human resources development unveiled “Aakash,” a tablet computer that will cost the ministry 2276 Indian rupees, or $50, at a press conference in New Delhi.
Free tablets were distributed to 500 students invited from across India to the event. The government will be providing subsidies to students to bring the cost down to about $35.
The tablet, which has a seven-inch touch screen and 256 megabytes of RAM, will use the Android 2.2 operating system from Google and has two USB ports…
DataWind, a company founded in 2001 by two brothers who live in Canada, Suneet and Raja Tuli, won the tender for the tablet, beating out several other bidders. The company’s research and development is based in Montreal, but its products were, until now, mainly sold in the Britain…
Unlike DataWind’s other products, which are made in China, the new device will be manufactured in India, Ms. Khan said, by a company called Quad. DataWind won the tender from the government to provide 100,000 devices, beating out several other bidders, Ms. Khan said. If the trial run is successful, “the next order is for one million units,” she said.
There are three significant aspects to this announcement, the culmination of an Indian project to bring cyber-education to their schools.
First, is recognition of a new paradigm created worldwide by Apple’s introduction of the iPad. That took a partially-realized form factor to something truly useful. Lightness, thinness, miniaturization possible with the latest components. Apple proved the concept. The world is adopting it.
Second, the Indian government and DataWind have cut costs to the bone enabling mass production – and therefore access – for students as the target market of the hardware. Using a version of the free Android/Linux OS, the device can function as an eReader and provide internet access anywhere with a wifi hotspot. Subsidizing the cost for local school districts helps the rollout which starts with college students – then, down through high schools to elementary students. A process which even India’s ingrained corruption may not interfere with.
Third, the task which lies before the Indian government, education ministries and, hopefully, innovation in local schools. The Android/Linux OS means that individuals can participate in growing uses for the device. Folks can develop educational apps which prove to be successful and productive.
“Aakash” means “sky” in Hindi. And the sky may be the only limit to this project.
Classes haven’t changed or added colors since they graduated in 1993
Children are being taught in “ghettos” as inner-city schools are increasingly divided along racial lines, a leading headmaster has warned.
David Levin said parts of London were starting to resemble apartheid-era South Africa, with black and white pupils being separated at a young age. He insisted that Britain was becoming a “silo society” as many young people never leave their own housing estate or mix with children from different racial and religious backgrounds.
The comments come amid continuing alarm over segregation in inner-city communities.
Entrenched segregation in the education system was seen as one of the fundamental causes of the race riots that rocked parts of northern England a decade ago. A recent report found that schools in Oldham – one of the worst flashpoints – are still largely split along racial lines…
Mr Levin, the head of fee-paying City of London School, said he grew up in South Africa “where apartheid was imposed and people had to live in different areas”…
Speaking at the annual meeting of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, which represents 250 leading independent schools, Mr Levin told how his teachers and pupils were involved in partnership programmes with state schools in the capital to help raise standards. This includes the “gifted and talented” scheme designed to push the brightest children…
Some 97 per cent of pupils at one of the schools – Stepney Green Maths and Computing College – are of Bangledeshi origin, he said.
Mr Levin added: “A number of those children through no fault of their own have not been out of their council estate, never mind Tower Hamlets. This cannot be a good thing…”
“In my view, I think London is sleepwalking towards Johannesburg. The ghettoisation of the community.”
Mr Levin said that children in many of these inner-city schools were “not mixing with other people from different faiths, different races and different socio-economic backgrounds”.
There’s little or no justification for maintaining the foolishness of segregated society. Yes, everyone has great “natural” reasons about how this occurs. Everyone too lazy to be concerned.
There is never a shortage of rationales to justify bigotry and discrimination. But, when avenues from the bottom of society leading to the top are blockaded by a ittle mistake here, a little slip-up there – and children grow into disaffected youngsters, unemployed and unemployable – the result is always the same. A breeding ground for crime and violence – which officialdom hopes will always be directed into the segregated society instead of striking out at the profiteers of a divided society.