Thursday, June 09, 2011

CA: An education Dept. SWAT raid???

SWAT teams have become America's Taliban. They can brutalize you without trial and on suspicion only. Now even the Education Dept. is deploying them

A federal education official Wednesday morning offered little information as to why federal agents raided a Stockton man's home Tuesday. The resident, Kenneth Wright, does not have a criminal record and he had no reason to believe why what he thought was a S.W.A.T team would be breaking down his door at 6 in the morning.

"I look out of my window and I see 15 police officers," Wright said. As Wright came downstairs in his boxer shorts, he said the officers barged through his front door. Wright said an officer grabbed him by the neck and led him outside on his front lawn. "He had his knee on my back and I had no idea why they were there," Wright said.

According to Wright, officers also woke his three young children, ages 3, 7, and 11, and put them in a Stockton police patrol car with him. Officers then searched his house. "They put me in handcuffs in that hot patrol car for six hours, traumatizing my kids," Wright said.

As it turned out, the person law enforcement was looking for - Wright's estranged wife - was not there.

Wright said he later went to Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston and Stockton Police Department, but learned the city of Stockton had nothing to do with the search warrant.

U.S. Department of Education spokesman Justin Hamilton confirmed for News10 Wednesday morning federal agents with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), not local S.W.A.T., served the search warrant. Hamilton would not say specifically why the raid took place except that it was part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

Hamilton said the search was not related to student loans in default as reported in the local media.

OIG is a semi-independent branch of the education department that executes warrants for criminal offenses such as student aid fraud, embezzlement of federal aid and bribery, according to Hamilton. The agency serves 30 to 35 search warrants a year.

"They busted down my door for this," Wright said. "It wasn't even me."

The Stockton Police Department said it was asked by federal agents to provide one officer and one patrol car just for a police presence when carrying out the search warrant. Police officers did not participate in breaking Wright's door, handcuffing him, or searching his home.

"All I want is an apology for me and my kids and for them to get me a new door," Wright said.


NJ: Gov. Christie to unveil public-private school partnership plan

Gov. Chris Christie will announce legislation Thursday to create public-private partnerships to run some schools in New Jersey, three people with knowledge of the plan said tonight. The governor is scheduled to make the announcement at noon at the Lanning Square Elementary School in Camden.

Two of the sources said Christie will be appearing with Camden Mayor Dana Redd, a Democrat who has worked with the Republican governor on education issues.

It's unclear exactly how the public-private partnerships would work, and the sources said it would start as a pilot program. They declined to speak on the record in advance of the public announcement. One source said individual districts would need to opt into the pilot program and approval from local school boards would be required.

Christie’s acting education commissioner, Christopher Cerf, has experience in public-private school partnerships. He previously led Edison Schools, a for-profit company that became the largest private-sector manager of public schools. Cerf left the company, now called EdisonLearning, in 2005.

Since Christie's campaign for governor two years ago, he has criticized the state of urban education in New Jersey, saying public schools and teacher unions have perpetuated a failing system.

Angel Cordero, who helped create the Community Education Resource Network, an alternative school for dropouts, applauded the plan for public-private schools. "It’s time we think out of the box and break up the monopoly" of the teachers unions, he said. "This is the perfect storm right now. People are ready."

Christie was in Camden for the Community Education Resource Network's graduation ceremony on Friday, where he and other political leaders called for a shakeup in the public school system.

Steve Baker, a spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, expressed skepticism about the partnership proposal. "Anything that turns public schools over to private operation, and reduces public accountability, would be very problematic," he said tonight.

Christie has enraged the NJEA with his push for more charter schools and a voucher program. The voucher proposal, called the Opportunity Scholarship Act, has stalled in the Legislature despite support from both sides of the aisle as some Democrats have pushed to downsize it.


British school to ban parents from sports day for first time in 130 years amid fears of children 'mixing with strangers'

It is often one of the proudest moments for any parent to see their child compete, but Upwell Community Primary School in Norfolk is considering holding the event behind closed doors because of a safety row.

Many parents have been left furious at the decision and say they may keep their children off school on that day in protest. It would be the first time in the 130-year-old school's history that it has barred mothers and fathers from its sports day.

The row stems from a small group of parents who boycotted a children’s art event at the school that members of the public could also attend. A number of parents did not send their children to school on that day and headteacher James McBurney is concerned the same thing would happen on its sports day.

'It is with the greatest and sincerest regret that all staff have decided, in light of recent events, that sports day is likely to take place without parents being invited,' he wrote in a school newsletter. 'We understand that we have many supportive parents and we would like to offer our heartfelt apologies for this decision. 'We have deliberated over this at great length but feel that many day-to-day routines have been misinterpreted or misunderstood.

'The present climate is affecting the well-being of all children and staff morale. 'However, we are prepared to postpone sports day until June 29 and decide nearer to the time whether parents will be invited.'

One unhappy parent who received the newsletter from the school said she did not know why Mr McBurney had made this decision, saying 'It is just going to upset parents even more.' She added if the ban on parents attending was upheld, several would not send their children to school on that day as a 'protest'.

But the head believes the move could be for the best. He said: 'We have the highest regard for the safety and well-being of all of our children and staff and want to ensure sports day is the best day possible for children and their parents and carers.

'However, we have concerns that some parents may not be supportive on the day and we have therefore decided to postpone the event while we seek assurances from parents. This was not an easy decision but was one taken by all of the school's staff.

'There will also be visitors on site during sports day and we therefore need to make sure that everyone is satisfied with how the day is run so that attendance levels can be maintained and the day is able to run as smoothly as possible.'


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