Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Christie wants vouchers for NJ

Gov. Chris Christie signed a proclamation today recognizing Trenton civil rights crusader Edith Savage Jennings as part of a Black History Month event.

Christie used the occasion honoring Savage Jennings to speak about his education reform platform, which calls for creating a voucher program for students in the poorest districts and eliminating teacher tenure.

Christie told the crowd of mostly African-American activists, lawmakers and students, that just like fighting for voting rights was politically unpopular, pushing for his education overhaul is also unpopular. Christie said both efforts are the right thing for society and political fallout shouldn't be a factor.

"The hard stuff is standing up to the interests who don't want this progress because they like the way things are right now," Christie said. "The one thing I do know about Dr. King is he did not care about that, he cared about putting forward a vision that he believed was based in the rights that God gave each human being he put on this Earth."


Britain's schools lottery

The appalling disparity between the best and worst state schools has never been worse

Tomorrow is "admissions day" in the English school system, when the parents of nearly 540,000 children will find out whether their son or daughter has been given a place at their preferred secondary school. For around 60,000 children, the answer will be no. But the disappointment will not be evenly distributed: in some areas, 40 per cent of children will be turned away. There are many parts of England where the local comprehensive is so bad that parents will move house to avoid it. To get round this tactic, low-ability pupils are shoehorned into good schools or the local council resorts to lotteries.

It is impossible to design a state system in which all pupils go to the school of their parents' choice. But the appalling disparity between the best and worst state schools has never been worse – and it is especially difficult to tackle because bad teachers and bad schools are protected by their allies in the teaching unions and local government.

As we report today, Philip Cottam, chairman of the Society of Headmasters and Headmistresses of Independent Schools, believes that privately educated children are the victims of university admissions systems skewed in favour of badly performing state pupils.

He is right – but, as he points out, children in run-of-the-mill comprehensives are also victims, as are their frustrated parents. The truth is that people who want their children to have a rigorous education have never enjoyed the liberation from statist mediocrity that they have experienced in other walks of life.

The Thatcher government left millions of children at the mercy of educationalists who despise competition. That situation persists, as many parents will discover tomorrow. Put simply, there are not enough good schools; the obstacles to creating them must be cleared away as soon as possible.


Teaching assistant driven to 'hell and back' after racist abuse and violence at hands of teenage PUPILS in Britain

A teaching assistant claims he 'felt like jumping in front of a bus' after being punched, racially abused, attacked with a compass and forced to call police when a student threatened to rape his wife and children. Khalid Akram says he even received a death threat from a teenage pupil at the school where he worked in Burnley, Lancashire, but nothing was done despite him filing dozens of complaints to bosses.

He claims he was left with post-traumatic stress disorder following the Rose School's failure to deal with the abuse, and is now set to go to tribunal alleging unfair dismissal.

He told The People: 'I've been to hell and back over this. 'I've been degraded and treated worse than an animal but no one was there to help me. 'From Day One I was kicked punched, spat at and called things like P*** b****** and Bin Laden.'

As part of his case, CCTV images will be used, including scenes in which:

* a 13-year-old boy is held back by other staff after he headbutts a teacher who is trying to stop him attack Khalid. The teenager then lets fly a high kick and spits at the shocked teaching assistant. A fortnight later, Khalid claims he said he was going to 'get you and your family'.

He says he was also injured when a pupil struck him with a pair of compasses; the headteacher, Nicola Jennings, refused to allow him time off to go to hospital for a tetanus jab after his arm was left bleeding.

In another incident, in April 2009, a pupil said he was 'going to rape your P*** wife and kids' and kicked him on the wrist. The head refused to call police, but he felt he should 'for my own safety', according to the paper.

The following month, he says he was headbutted, while in June he 'felt like jumping in front of a bus' after yet more abuse. Later that month, he filled in several racist incident forms, including for being spat at and after one pupil said he was 'going to die'. And he claims even a colleague - who he says subsequently apologised - talked of going to the 'P*** shop'.

The 34-year-old kept a diary of the abuse he claims to have suffered at the Burnley school, which has 40 places for students aged 11-16 with Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties.

He started there in January 2009, as it was closer to his home than his previous job, but was sacked in the July for alleged dishonesty and falsifying his CV, according to the newspaper.

The tribunal is set for September.

Lancashire county Council declined to comment because 'the matter is subject to the legal process'. A school source told The People that many staff received abuse at the school, which is a special school for those with behavioural difficulties.


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