Tuesday, June 14, 2011

SCHUYLKILL VALLEY, Pa.: Two HS Students Skip Graduation Walk After They’re Barred From Wearing Army Sashes‏

Two high school students decided to skip their graduation walk after they were told minutes before the ceremony that they could not wear symbolic Army Sashes. The two boys have signed up to join the military and say they just wanted to honor the country. But school officials say that violates the rules.

Joel Hunsicker and Jordan Marker go through regular physical training every Thursday since they enlisted in the US Army. “I’m willing to sacrifice my body, my mind, my soul and my life to make sure that people can have a better life,” Marker said.

The young men wanted to demonstrate their commitment by wearing US Army sashes or stoles during commencement from Schuylkill Valley High School.

“We get our army stoles on we‘re just about to go out and the one teacher said you got to leave that here you can’t wear them. I said what do you mean we can’t wear them,” said Marker.

“We won‘t wear them and we’ll go sit with our parents and honor our fellow students by supporting them by sitting there and watching them,” Hunsicker added.

This morning, Marker described the situation in more detail to “Fox and Friends,” and said both students refused to make a scene and argue the policy. Instead, the honored their fellow classmates by silently protesting:

The school superintended told WFMZ that the decision not to allows the sashes was in no way a statement against the military. Rather, the school has a policy that works to keep the focus on academic achievement. [Bulldust!]


University degrees 'not worth the money', say British parents

A third of middle-income parents believe university is on longer worth the investment following a hike in tuition fees, according to a research. Some 31 per cent of mothers and fathers from relatively well-off households say courses are too expensive following a decision to allow universities to charge up to £9,000 a year, it was claimed. Half of those questioned also insisted that degrees no longer offered children the same start in life.

The conclusions are made in a report by Edge, a charity chaired by Lord Baker, the former Conservative education secretary. It follows a move by the Government to increase the cap on fees from £3,290 to £9,000 for students starting undergraduate courses in 2012.

Ministers insist that the reforms will actually make university more affordable for school-leavers. Although fees are rising, the earnings threshold for repayments is higher and students will pay off less every month than under the current system. Debts are wiped out after 30 years and it is believed a third of graduates will never repay the full amount.

But Lord Baker suggested that more children should pursue practical courses, such as apprenticeships, as an alternative to higher education. "For too long, middle income parents have been blinkered to the alternative education options to university for their child,” he said. "The vocational route provides something incredibly valuable to a young person because it equips them with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace."

In the latest study, researchers PCP surveyed 500 parents from households with an income of between £15,000 and £40,000. Some 57 per cent of parents with children aged 11 to 18 said a university education was less valuable than it was 10 years ago and 47 per cent claimed degrees no longer gave young people a good start in life.

It came as university leaders admitted that the new funding system had not been explained to parents properly. A separate study by Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, found that a third of parents had little or no understanding of changes being introduced from next year.

Sir Steve Smith, UUK president, said: “As vice-chancellors we are aware that it is more important than ever that our universities go out and tell a positive story of what we can offer prospective students.”

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "Going to university depends on ability - not the ability to pay. "New students will not pay upfront costs, there will be more financial support for those from low-income families and everyone will make lower loan repayments than they do under the current system once they are in well-paid work.

"A university degree is an excellent investment in your future. Students and their families need to know that applying for student finance is quick and easy and can be done online."


All British pupils 'should study maths to 18', say experts

This is rather stupid. Many children have no aptitude for maths. And what if they are going into a field that does not need it? What if one wants to follow many distinguished Englishmen and read classics at Oxbridge?

All children should be forced to study mathematics up the age of 18 to prevent the vast majority of pupils leaving school with poor numeracy skills, according to experts. Sixth-formers should take a new generation of specially-tailored courses amid fears hundreds of thousands of young people lack the basic level of maths demanded by universities or employers, it is claimed.

The Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education (Acme), which represents academics and teachers, said fewer teenagers in Britain studied the subject to a high level than in other developed nations. Skill levels are so poor that around two-thirds of students taking maths-based degree courses lack the basic knowledge needed to get by, the study found.

Many universities are being forced to downgrade the entry requirements for courses in order to fill their places, researchers said.

Acme – an independent advisory panel based at the Royal Society – recommended that all young people should study maths for a further two years to remedy the failings.

Ministers already want pupils who fail to get a C grade GCSE in the subject to continue studying it in the sixth-form, but the latest study goes much further by calling for all pupils to take an advanced course in maths.

Prof Dame Julia Higgins, Acme chairman, said: "In the last 30 years, many university subjects have become more mathematical but the number of students with the appropriate level of mathematical skills has not risen far enough to match this. "All young people should study some form of mathematics to the age of 18 in order to better prepare them for higher education and the world of employment. "In order to do this, additional courses need to be developed for study at the post-16 level."

Currently, fewer than one-in-five students take advanced maths courses beyond the age of 16 – leaving Britain trailing behind many other developed nations. By comparison, between 50 and 100 per cent of teenagers in other countries, including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Japan and Korea, study maths to a decent level.

The report found that around 330,000 students were currently taking degree courses that required a high level of mathematical knowledge, including maths, statistics, engineering, science, finance, business studies and even social sciences. But Acme suggested as many as 210,000 of these students struggled with the demands of courses after leaving school with poor levels of maths.

The report, which followed a two-year investigation, blamed the rise of school league tables which prioritise short-term cramming to pass exams at the expense of developing pupils’ problem-solving, reasoning and communication skills. It also found that official rankings pushed pupils into taking easier subjects at GCSE and A-level instead of tougher options such as further maths.

Dame Julia added: “Students are leaving school without the mathematical skills required for the next stages of their lives, whether that is the workplace or further study.

“This is a fundamental failing that must be addressed if we are to have mathematically-literate future generations capable of rising to the challenges of a new, more technologically-dependent and competitive world.”


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