Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dutch Teachers Say Schools Succumb to Violent Pupils

Schools are putting teachers under pressure to keep silent if they receive death threats from pupils. Teachers are advised against going to the police and sometimes even offered hush-money, according to TV programme EenVandaag.

A teacher recounted on EenVandaag how the school management instructed her to give a higher mark to an aggresive pupil for fear he would turn to violence if he did not receive this. This pupil had at that time already made death threats to six teachers.

There was reason to assume that the pupil was dangerous because he was a friend of the Turkish boy who shot a teacher through the head in a school in The Hague in 2008. But instead of informing the police, the school management tried to please him.

Another teacher recounted how schools sometimes dismiss teachers when they go to the police to make a report against a violent pupil. One teacher even had to promise as a condition for her severance pay that she would never discuss the threats made against her with anyone. Another teacher, whose exam questions were stolen by a pupil, was advised by the school management to buy the questions back from the thief.

One school allowed pupils to put up pornographic posters on which the faces of their teachers were used. These were only removed for the periodical parents evenings, when parents come to discuss the performance of their children with the teachers.

According to a poll by EenVandaag, 10 percent of the secondary school teachers say they have experienced physical violence in the past three years. Sometimes the perpetrator was a parent, but mostly a pupil. Some 24 percent say they receive threats of violence or death threats. The problems are worst in schools with many immigrant pupils, and at the lower educational levels.


Sanity Continues Losing Ground In America's School Culture Wars

Public schools continue to be a battleground in the culture war, as the education establishment – composed primarily of leftists bent on political correctness – gains more ground.

This strain treats Christianity and its holidays as a pariah, while embracing Muslim holidays.

The Hillsboro, Oregon school board just held a vote on what to call the time off school around Christmas and New Years. It had traditionally been called “Christmas Break.” But new calendars, produced by school staff, changed it to “Winter Break.” The school board voted 4-3 to call it “Christmas Break.” From

“[School board member] Janeen Sollman said winter break ‘respects everyone in the community. This isn't about religion, it boils down to respect.'

“Later, Hillsboro Education Association president Kathy Newman sided with Sollman and reminded the school board that equity is among its goals and ‘the district calendar should reflect that.’”

Further up the Pacific coast, a high school sophomore explained to a local radio station that the term “Easter eggs” could no longer be used because the administration preferred “spring spheres.”

Is this a joke? Is America being Punk’d?

No, the trend caught on elsewhere in Seattle. The parks department had several listings for “Spring Egg Hunts” all over the city. The word “Easter” has been wiped off the site.

But never fear: one religion, Islam, is being protected – and in fact gaining ground – in American public schools. The Boston Globe reports:

“But beginning next year, Cambridge public schools will attempt to make it easier for Muslim students to honor their highest holy days.

“In a move that school officials believe is the first of its kind in the state, Cambridge will close schools for one Muslim holiday each year beginning in the 2011-2012 school year.

“The school will either close for Eid al-Fitr or Eid al-Adha, also known as the Festival of Sacrifice, depending on which holiday falls within the school year. If both fall within the school calendar, the district will close for only one of the days.

And if you’re wondering, the calendar does denote the existence of a “Winter Break.” This is little more than political correctness run wild.

Dearborn, Michigan has the largest population of Muslims outside of the Middle East but this writer could not find anything on the school district’s website indicating it celebrated Muslim holidays. School officials did not return calls seeking a definitive answer.

This isn’t just about holidays. The political correctness that has taken root in public schools has also provided a platform for radical ideology, namely Marxism. I’ll deal with that topic very soon.


British Coalition accused over £21m education consultants' bill

A huge education bureaucracy and they still need outsiders to do important tasks?

The Coalition has been accused of wasting at least £21m on education consultants, just as school budgets are cut in the downturn. Teachers’ leaders claimed the payments had been made to just five companies in the last year, despite a Government pledge to slash Whitehall waste.

In some cases, they received the money to oversee the setting up of the Coalition’s flagship academies and “free schools” – institutions run by parents’ groups, charities and private companies independent of local council control.

The National Union of Teachers has now written to Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, condemning the payments, which it says has been made “at a time when school budgets are being squeezed to the limits”.

But the Department for Education hit back today, saying cash for consultants had been dramatically cut this year compared with fees paid under Labour.

The NUT analysed Government spending between April 2010 and February this year and found some £21.7m went on five companies, including EC Harris and Tribal Education.

But the union claimed that consultancy fees paid by the DfE and its associated quangos were likely to be much higher when other private companies are added.

The Government’s school buildings quango, Partnership for Schools, paid a further £5m to just three firms, it emerged, although most of this was for the purchase of land and buildings associated with the free schools policy.

The NUT also said 100 DfE staff were now employed to work on free schools – equivalent to around four per cent of junior civil servants in the department – at a cost of almost £4m.

In a speech to the union's annual conference in Harrogate on Tuesday, Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, said the money was being spent as millions was slashed from the education budget, including a huge reduction in spending on school buildings and Sure Start children’s centres. She is calling on the Government to reveal how much of this cash has been spent specifically on fees to set up free schools.

David Cameron promised a huge purge on consultants and management fees which ballooned under Labour.

A spokesman for the DfE insisted that overall spending on consultants in the last year was likely to be significantly down on the year before. “Spend on consultants has been slashed under the Coalition Government,” he said.

“In 2009-10 it was over £74m but when final figures for the last financial year are published spend is expected to be significantly reduced. Even then, much of the spend will be leftover commitments from the last administration that are being wound up.”

"This has been done by introducing strict rules on spending ensuring value for money for the taxpayer. We are sure that Christine Blower will be pleased with this huge reduction.”


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