Monday, August 23, 2010

Tea Party Crasher Quits teaching job Before Getting the Ax

He needed to go, the man was a bit much to keep as a teacher. The Oregon teacher who declared his mission to “dismantle and demolish” the Tea Party movement resigned before getting the ax, a school spokeswoman told “He resigned earlier this week, on Monday,” Maureen Wheeler of the Beaverton School District said. “He resigned in lieu of termination.”

Wheeler said Levin learned the results of the district’s investigation and resigned. She would not comment on those investigative results.

Conestoga Middle School media lab teacher Jason Levin became national news back in April when he announced his intention to bring down the Tea Party on his “Crash the Tea Party” website and in media interviews.

The now-ex Conestoga Middle School media lab teacher said in April that he would seek to embarrass Tea Partiers by attending their rallies dressed as Adolf Hitler, carrying signs bearing racist, sexist and anti-gay epithets and acting as offensively as possible -- anything short of throwing punches.

In a post on his now defunct website, Levin once called on his supporters to collect the Social Security numbers—among other personal identifying information—about as many Tea Party supporters as possible at rallies taking place across the country on Tax Day.

"Some other thoughts are to ask people at the rally to sign a petition renouncing socialism. See just how much info you can get from these folks (name address, DOB, Social Security #). The more data we can mine from the Tea Partiers, the more mayhem we can cause with it!!!!" he wrote.

In an April interview with Talking Points Memo, Levin said of his plans, "Our goal is that whenever a Tea Partier says 'Barack Obama was not born in America,' we're going be right there next to them saying, 'Yeah, in fact he wasn't born on Earth! He's an alien!'"

Complaints from around the nation flooded the school district’s office and Levin was suspended in April as the school district investigated whether he had used school time or resources to engage in political activism. The state’s licensing board also launched its own investigation.

On Friday, the Oregonian reported that the teacher’s state licensing board is still conducting their own investigation into Levin.


Why British graduates are losing jobs to immigrants

British workers are too poorly educated to rival immigrants for jobs, a report warned yesterday. Employers believe that standards are declining fast among graduates and school leavers and want migrants to fill jobs instead, it said.

One in five firms have recruited migrant workers this summer and a similar number will do so during the autumn. A third of the immigrant staff will be brought in from outside Europe, according to the study.

Managers believe that British candidates do not have the skills to match migrants and that the readiness of Britons for work is getting worse year by year. [It can get worse?]

Four out of ten employers think literacy and numeracy among British graduates and school leavers has worsened over the past five years. Fewer than one in ten believe these basic skills have improved, the report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and accountants KPMG also said.

A third think that business acumen has fallen off among British candidates and more than a third think their personal skills are worse now than five years ago.

The Labour Market Outlook report said that demand for immigrant workers is rising in line with improvements in the economy. But author Gerwyn Davies warned that multinational companies will shift jobs abroad if they cannot get qualified staff in Britain. He said that the proposed migration cap, which is due next year, comes at a time when many employers are still struggling to fill skilled vacancies despite the high unemployment rate. The resulting shortfall of skilled candidates following the cap could damage British companies, according to Mr Davies.

He said: 'The training of local or British workers to fill skilled jobs currently occupied by migrant workers will not happen overnight. If a cap is to be introduced, it has to be gradually phased in to avoid harming UK competitiveness.'

But Immigration Minister Damian Green said: 'Businesses are going to have to reduce their reliance on migrant workers as this has done nothing to help the millions of unemployed.'

Numbers of skilled workers coming in from outside Europe this year were cut by five per cent in June as an 'interim measure' before the overall cap comes into effect next year. The Tories had pledged to bring annual net immigration down to 'tens of thousands, rather than hundreds of thousands'.

Mr Green added: 'We are consulting with business on how the limit should work in practice and will operate the limit in a way that continues to meet the needs of UK business.' Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the Migrationwatch think-tank, said: 'For every skilled worker imported, that is a British worker not trained.

'Employers should stop complaining and start training. 'If we make it easy for employers to take skills off the shelf from abroad they have no incentive to train British workers.' The CIPD/KPMG report was based on the views of 600 companies. It found that 42 per cent of employers thought the literacy levels of graduates have declined over five years while only six per cent thought they had improved. Their rating of the performance of school leavers was similar.

Only six per cent of bosses thought that graduate numeracy had improved, while 35 per cent thought it had declined. For school leavers, eight per cent saw improvement but 43 per cent saw a decline in numeracy.

Nearly half of firms said it was hard to fill vacancies. About a fifth of jobs in engineering, IT, and accountancy were being taken by immigrants. Some 37 per cent of migrants taking jobs come from outside Europe, the study found.


Australia: Schoolchildren 'wrongly diagnosed'

The medicalization of behaviour marches on. We we will all be in some diagnostic category eventually. I wonder what I will be labelled with? "Senile hostility" perhaps?

DOCTORS are being pressured to diagnose children with behaviour disorders to get them extra assistance in schools, labelling many with diseases they probably don't have, researchers warn.

South-western and western Sydney have become hot spots for children, especially boys, being given diagnoses of behaviour disorder and emotional disturbance. The children are then enrolled in special schools and support classes, according to research soon to be published by Macquarie University academics.

Macquarie University researcher Linda Graham said three separate studies pointed to "pressures on paediatricians to inflate diagnoses so kids get support in class".

The research shows enrolments for "behaviour disorder" rose in NSW special schools by 254 per cent between 1997 and 2007, while kids with physical, hearing and visual disabilities fell 60 per cent over that period.

In support classes in regular NSW primary schools, emotionally disturbed diagnoses rose 139 per cent, while in support classes in regular NSW high schools, autism diagnoses grew by 280 per cent, emotional disturbance increased by 348 per cent, and behaviour disorder by 585 per cent during the same period.

Behavioural disorder diagnoses sharply rose from 2002, when NSW began building special schools for children with behavioural problems.

Children are "being diagnosed with things they don't have", Dr Graham, a fellow with the Centre for Research into Social Inclusion, said. . South-western Sydney, which accounts for 17.5 per cent of total enrolments in NSW government schools, has 26.5 per cent of enrolments in special schools and support classes, while western Sydney accounts for 13.7 per cent of total school enrolments but 17.8 per cent of enrolments in special schools and support classes.

Northern Sydney, with 11.5 per cent of school enrolments, has only 5.7 per cent of children in special schools and support classes.

Australian Medical Association paediatrics spokesman Choong-Siew Yong said he was not surprised at the disparity: parents in wealthier suburbs could afford non-government assistance for struggling children.

Dr Yong said sometimes schools will tell parents their child's behaviour "matches other kids with particular problems" and recommend they take the child to see a paediatrician to seek a diagnosis and therefore see if the child is eligible for special education funding assistance.

But Dr Yong said only a very small number of parents come looking for a particular diagnosis for their child and that paediatricians were "not placed under undue pressure". "I don't think people are lying and ripping off the system," Dr Yong said.

While parents are increasingly clamouring for greater funding for assistance, the researchers have shown special education costs rose from 7.2 per cent in 1997 of NSW government school recurrent payments to 12.8 per cent in 2007.

NSW Teachers Federation deputy president Gary Zadkovich said there was "no clear outcome" in the debate over whether too many children are being diagnosed or overmedicated. "I can say unequivocally more students are presenting in Australian schools with special education needs just because of developments in medical science," he said.


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