Friday, February 24, 2012

Summer students get taste of Occupy movement at Maryland community college

Students in ninth through the 12th grade attending summer programs at a community college outside Washington, D.C., will get a taste of the Occupy operation in a new course that aims to get them interested in "the movement for justice."

"Occupy MoCo!," one of the newest courses at Montgomery College in Montgomery County, Md., is part of the Summer Youth program offered for 2012.

"We are at an exciting time in the history of the world. People all over the planet are taking democracy into their own hands and working together to create solutions for a better world," reads the course description for YOU392.

"Take advantage of this interactive opportunity to learn critical thinking skills that will help you in college and gain insight into becoming a global leader of the 21st century. Learn about the Occupy Wall Street movement and explore real-life human rights implications. Review social justice concepts and explore human rights issues related to current events. Young people hold the power to change their community, their schools, their future -- are you ready to join the movement for justice?"

Elizabeth Homan, the school's director of communications, said the class "does not take a stance on the Occupy movement. Rather, the movement provides a creative opportunity for students to discuss protests throughout history, as well as current events, definitions, and various processes that can be used to voice opinions in the community."

The class, however, is a standout among the academic courses offered for the season.

Other new classes being offered for the summer 2012 session include "3D Geometry -- Let's Build a City," "Be a Nurse or Just Work with One," "Battle-Bot Build-a-Thon," "Be a Real Life Investigative Reporter," "Chemical Wizardry," "Diggin' for Dinosaurs Rockin' Rocks and Crystal Creations," "Junkyard Warriors," "Game Building Software," "Passion for Fashion," and "Your Doll and You," among others.

Homan said the class is a noncredit program that is two weeks in length, and is designed for high school students who take AP/honors classes.

"The class is a hybrid of history and current events. Students will learn about protests throughout history, as well as the current events of today. They will participate in role-playing, read newspapers, and learn how people voice opinions in the community," Homan said in an email to

The Occupy MoCo! class costs $190 for 10 three-hour sessions. Homan said tuition covers the cost of the class, which is being taught by a part-time summer youth instructor. Homan said there will be no homework or field trips. "Everything will take place in the classroom," she said.


Ariz. Bill Would Fire Teachers for Bringing ‘Partisan’ Opinions Into the Classroom

Teachers in Arizona would automatically be fired for bringing “partisan doctrine” into their classrooms under a bill pending before the state legislature.

Arizona Senate bill 1202 is meant to ensure students get a balanced view of what they’re taught in school, Capitol Media Services reported. In addition to firing teachers who bring partisanship into the classroom, school districts that allow it to happen would face losing state funding.

The bill is being sponsored by state Sen. Lori Klein of Anthem, who said she has received complaints about “political indoctrination in the classroom,” according to CMS. Klein, a Republican, is also sponsoring a separate measure that if passed would see teachers suspended or fired for using profanity in the classroom.

SB 1202 passed out of the Arizona Senate Government Reform Committee last week and is now set to go before the full state Senate for a vote. It comes after the Tucson Unified School District suspended its controversial Mexican-American studies program after it was set to lose funding on the grounds the curriculum violated a newly-enacted state law specifically designed to target the program. State officials contended the program promoted reverse-racism, and the law prohibits classes designed for a particular ethnic group or which “promote resentment toward a race of class of people.”

Arizona GOP congressional candidate Gabriela Saucedo Mercer testified in favor of the bill, telling lawmakers: “I have seen, firsthand, the damage done to our young students by partisans who pretend to be educators.”

“I have seen young students who, through classroom indoctrination rather than instruction, were incited to threaten and harass anyone who disagrees with their position,” she said, according to CMS.

Mercer added that it’s one thing when university professors bring politics into their teaching, but quite another when it’s done in a classroom full of young students. “When you are targeting young, impressionable minds, starting from kindergarten, these children get lost,” she said.

What exactly defines a “partisan” opinion was a point of contention for legislators, CMS reported, but Klein said the bill is simply to ensure one point of view isn’t emphasized over another, regardless of ideology.

“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “Republicans or conservatives should not be promoting their point of view. Liberals, socialists, Marxists should not be espousing their views in the classroom.”

The committee stripped the legislation of any penalty for using partisan books — ones that a history teacher might assign about a U.S. president, for example — but one lawmaker remained concerned the bill could stifle the learning environment.

“The language here is so broad that you‘re going to stifle the education environment and kids’ ability to learn. Let‘s say they’re talking in science [class] and a teacher throws out ‘global warming.’ That could be considered a partisan issue,” Phoenix Democratic Sen. David Lujan said according to CMS, adding that it should be up to the students to decide whether they believe in the issue.

Glendale Republican Sen. Rick Murphy said much of it comes down to context. “As long as the teacher was tolerant of people having other views and not punitive towards them if they express those and try to persuade their classmates of that, and as long as its relevant, I don’t see a problem with that,” Murphy said. “If they‘re talking about what’s relevant to the class, I wouldn’t see a problem with that. But if they’re talking about it in math, I would have concerns.”


Shocking truth about graduate unemployment in Britain: Graduates have the same chance of being out of work as a school leaver with just junior High School attendance

A graduate aged 21 has the same chance of being unemployed as a 16-year-old school leaver with one GCSE, official figures revealed yesterday. Around one in four of both groups is currently without a job.

The shocking statistics highlight the problems facing graduates leaving university at a time of crisis in the jobs market.

Nearly six unemployed people are chasing every vacancy and economists warn that the jobless total, which has hit 2.67million, will climb even higher.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 25.9 per cent of 16-year-olds who left school with as little as one GCSE at grade C or above are currently unemployed.

The situation is almost identical for a 21-year-old graduate. Despite having A-levels and a degree, 24.8 per cent are unemployed.

The figures will fuel concerns among parents and their children about whether a degree is worthwhile at a time when students face the prospect of leaving university with debts of up to £50,000.

They also raise serious doubts about Labour’s famous pledge to have 50 per cent of school leavers going on to university.

Tanya de Grunwald, founder of the careers website Graduate Fog, said she regularly hears from graduates who are in work but have had to return to their old holiday jobs.

She said: ‘They are pulling pints [doing bar work] or doing data entry because they cannot find a graduate job that pays any better.’


No comments: