Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Free Condoms in a U.S. Public Elementary School

These days public schools don't pay much attention to the tired old topics of yesteryear — reading, writing, arithmetic, etc. Now the emphasis is on learning fun stuff, like sexual intercourse and disregarding the wishes of parents:
A New England school district has approved a measure that will provide free condoms to elementary school students and direct teachers not to comply with parental wishes to the contrary.

The policy, unanimously approved by the Provincetown School Committee does not include an age limit — meaning children of any age ask for — and receive — free condoms.

The committee also directed school leaders not to honor requests from any parent who might object to their child receiving condoms. In other words mommy and daddy — you don't have a right to prevent your 7-year-old from getting a contraceptive device.

With their emphasis on corrupting children and arrogating parental authority on behalf of The State, you would think liberals would love this policy. But not necessarily:
The policy does stipulate that kids must consult with a nurse or trained counselor before getting their sexual protection — and that upset some of the committee members, according to the Provincetown Banner.

"I can see some kids opting out because of the conversation. I'm not against [the policy]. I'm just trying to put myself in that teenager's spot," said committee member Carrie Notaro.

"I don't like that students can't be discreet about this," committee member Shannon Patrick told the newspaper. "They have to go and ask for it. I'd rather them not have the conservation [with counselors] and have the condom than not have the condom."

School superintendent Beth Singer attempted to quell these objections by explaining that the kids are so young, they wouldn't know how or when to use a condom if taxpayer-financed counselors didn't teach them. Most likely the kids will want the free condoms to use as water balloons; to instill degeneracy at the youngest possible age, it's crucial that our public employees explain what they're really for.


Britain's independent ("Public") schools have nothing to apologise for

More than 20 years ago, a proud mother dropped her 11-year-old son at the gates of the independent school of which I was head. She had a top First in PPE from Oxford and was being retained as a consultant at a salary that made my eyes water. She was driving an ancient Vauxhall and there were non-designer holes in her non-designer jeans. She sidled up to me and said: "I don't really want the people I work with to know I send my son to a public school."

There is a culture in the UK which is ashamed of independent schools, highlighted by the departure of Vicky Tuck, the Principal of Cheltenham Ladies' College, to head the International School of Geneva. She gave as one of her reasons the perpetual pressure that puts head teachers on the defensive, the feeling that by running a private school you are doing something "slightly immoral".

Go back 150 years and this sense of shame might have been justified. The burgeoning Victorian upper middle class used private schools to buy social status, and as colleges that would allow their sons to graduate to being gentlemen. In the curriculum, the classics ruled all; as a result, the system offered a good education, but one that was simply not broad enough, so that we fell behind our European competitors in the teaching of maths and science.

There probably was less of a drive back then to create an outstanding state education system, because some of the movers and shakers could opt out (though this has been overstated). Indeed, in those days, the last thing independent schools wanted was social inclusivity. They sold themselves in part on their social exclusivity.

Yet that situation has now been reversed. In their desire for inclusion, independent schools embraced the Assisted Places scheme, and of their own volition have been ditching scholarships in favour of means-tested bursaries. A third of pupils receive fee assistance of one form or another, although some schools offer no bursaries and instead keep their fees down to the lowest possible level so that places are available to many thousands of parents who defy the public-school stereotype.

Many schools charge fees only by default – yet it is a measure of the negativity surrounding the sector that when, some years ago, independent schools collectively offered to educate state-sector pupils at exactly the same cost as at their state school (the balance to be made up by the independent school), this was summarily rejected.

So why should schools that have been described by objective international studies as the best in the world be apologetic? Independent schools should stop saying they are sorry and realise they have a lot to be proud of. Our only remaining natural resource is the intellectual capital of our children, and independent schools out-perform all others. It is telling that overseas students do not seem to share any of the shame some natives feel about independent schools: they flock to them, boosting the economy and often moving on to provide much-needed income for UK universities.

There is another point here, too. For the first time in very many years, independent schools are vital to the knowledge economy of the UK. More than a third of A* grades in GCSE chemistry, biology or physics are obtained from the 7 per cent of pupils who attend independent schools, as are a third of the A grades at A-level in maths, further maths and science, and 49 per cent of the A grades in modern languages. UK plc could not do without the pupils who attend independent schools.

There are other causes for pride. The independent sector has kept the flag flying for competitive and team sport. It blew the whistle when government tried to fix A-level results. It has been a voice of sanity when some of the more insane proposals for reform have been put forward, yet has been at the sharp edge of innovation in other areas.

And it could, and wants to, do much more. It could use its skill in attracting graduate scientists to teaching to provide a soft landing for them, employing such people for, say, half of the week but releasing them to teach in local maintained schools for the other half. In a successful pilot scheme, such a teacher was used to offer masterclasses for the state students their school had identified as gifted in science, but who did not have sufficient access to graduate teachers. The schools involved each paid the teacher for the time they use. The joy is that this does not run into the Somme-like mud of the selection debate. The children in the maintained sector schools remain in their comprehensive.

To remedy the situation, two cultural issues need to be addressed. The first is our tendency to adopt the politics of envy, to which the solution is to provide equal opportunity for everyone to attend an independent school. The second is the issue of selection. We expect Christian and Jew, Muslim and Hindu to live side by side. Are we really not grown-up enough to recognise that there is room in a good education system for both selective and non‑selective schools?

We need our children to be the best-educated in the world. It's time we let independent schools help in that aim, and recognised them as a jewel in our crown.


Australia: Teenager faces life in a wheelchair after bullying sparked suicide bid

And what's the response of the hateful NSW bureaucrats in charge of school safety? A new email address! No word that anything has happened to the bullies

EXTREME bullying has left a teenage boy in a wheelchair unable to speak or walk and taking food and liquids through a tube to his stomach. Dakoda-Lee Stainer, 14, suffered brain damage when deprived of oxygen for more than 20 minutes after attempting to take his own life.

The teen, now under around-the-clock care in priority disability housing, endured months of relentless attacks by bullies before reaching the point of despair. Friends said Dakoda had rocks thrown at him and was admitted to hospital for a head injury as the cruel bullying turned physical.

On the day he tried to end it all he had been accosted by the same gang of youths on the school bus. The teen, who attended Melville High School at Kempsey, on the North Coast, was found in a bedroom at home on September 4 last year - about 13 months after another 14-year-old, Alex Wildman, killed himself at Lismore because of violent run-ins with schoolmates.

Dakoda's family and friends agreed to speak about his plight in a bid to get authorities to take bullying more seriously and prevent further tragedies.

In the wake of the Wildman case, the Department of Education and Training said it would review the way in which counsellors were allocated to schools and trial a new email address in selected schools inviting people to report bullying.

Dakoda's mum Theresa said yesterday: "I can't imagine what those kids (bullies) would have put him through to get him to that state. "I don't know how these mongrels ate away at my boy's strength ... "

Theresa, now living on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, said her son was making progress, communicating with his eyes and by shaking. He was attempting to move his arms and legs. "He lost oxygen to the brain for at least 22 or 23 minutes," she said. "When we got to hospital it took them 12 minutes to restart his heart."


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