Friday, March 30, 2012

Indiana:  Another authoritarian school that thinks it owns its students even after hours

The free speech rights of students on social networks and the extent to which they could potentially be punishable by an educational system for what they say online has been cropping up more and more in local news.

Syracuse University recently discussed expelling a student for a Facebook complaint. In Nov. 2011, a Kansas high school senior was forced by her school to apologize, which she refused to do, after she issued a tweet against the state’s governor. In January, the Supreme Court ruled Pennsylvania school officials could not punish students for fake MySpace profiles they created of their principals.

These are just a few cases, but here’s yet another example out of Garrett, Ind., where a senior has been expelled — just months before graduation — for tweeting the F-word. Indiana News Center has more:
    “One of my tweets was, BEEP [F-word]  is one of those BEEP words you can BEEP put anywhere in a BEEP sentence and it still BEEP make sense,” said Austin Carroll, student.

    Austin was expelled from Garrett High School after tweeting the F-word under his account. The school claims it was done from a school computer. Austin says he did it from home.

    “If my account is on my own personal account, I don’t think the school or anybody should be looking at it. Because it‘s my own personal stuff and it’s none of their business,” said Carroll.

    “I totally didn‘t agree with what Austin said but I didn’t agree with an expulsion either. I mean if they suspended him for 3 days or something, I would be fine with that but to kick him out of school, his senior year, 3 months to go, wrong,” said Pam Smith, Austin’s mother.

According to the report, the school tracks activity conducted on school-owned computers and laptops. But Carroll is saying he didn’t use a school computer to post the tweet:
    “I didn’t post the thing at school but their computer is saying that I did post it, and I shouldn’t be getting in trouble for stuff I did on my own time, on my own computer,” said Carroll.

Journal Gazette columnist Frank Gray reports superintendent Dennis Stockdale saying the school wouldn’t punish students for things they said online on their own computer and time and off the school’s network. The Journal Gazette states that the tweet in question was posted at 2:30 a.m., suggesting it would be outside the school’s jurisdiction if Carroll had done so on his own laptop, as he claims.

INC states that Carroll’s fellow classmates threatened to protest the expulsion.

According to the Journal Gazette, Smith believes that previous conflicts including other tweets that were sent from the school laptop may have targeted her son. INC states that Carroll will be finishing the year at an alternative school and will be allowed to graduate. Still, Carroll said he feels he is missing out of activities he would like to participate in, such as prom.


Pay children to attend top private schools, British Government told

Dozens of top private schools are calling on the Government to provide state subsidies to allow bright pupils to be admitted irrespective of family background, it emerged today.

Eighty schools including Westminster, Manchester Grammar, City of London School and King Edward’s, Birmingham, are urging ministers to fund places for bright children whose parents cannot afford full fees.

The “Open Access” programme – proposed by the Sutton Trust charity – would create a system in which schools operated fully “needs blind” admissions.

It would represent a partial return to the “assisted places” scheme – when local councils provided parents with subsidies to take their children out of state schools – 15 years after the programme was axed by Labour.

Headmasters claimed the move would be cheaper than funding places in the state sector and boost levels of social mobility by allowing pupils to attend institutions with some of the best academic records in Britain.

But the move is likely to be fiercely resisted by teaching unions who claim it would divert cash away from the state education system.

It is also unlikely to be backed by the Conservative-led Coalition for fear of reigniting claims of “elitism”.

But Sir Peter Lampl, the Sutton Trust chairman, said: “Opening up these schools would result in over 30,000 children attending them based on merit who now cannot afford to do so.  “This would transform social mobility at the top.”

In a report, the Sutton Trust suggest that education at a top private day school can be provided for around £11,000 per pupil each year.

Under the plan, it is proposing that the Government provide an average of £5,500 for each pupil to attend – around £500 less than a state school place – and parents pay the remainder.

The subsidy would be higher for the poorest pupils and lower for the very richest families, creating a system in which parents pay sliding fees based on their annual income.

Other schools supporting the programme include Lady Eleanor Holles in Hampton, the Grammar School at Leeds and the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle.

David Levin, headmaster of the City of London Boys’ School, said: “Despite our extensive bursary programme, we have to turn away many highly able students from low and middle income homes who would thrive in our school.

“Open Access would allow us to be truly needs blind in our admissions.”


Australia:  Leftist minister under fire over nanny slur

Stupid woman

CHILDCARE Minister Kate Ellis has been accused of inciting class rivalry after saying the childcare rebate should not be extended to nannies because they were chauffeurs and chefs hired to do the ironing.

Ms Ellis accused Tony Abbott of intending to cut assistance for low-income families by extending the non-means-tested rebate - which allows families to claim 50 per cent of approved childcare costs, with a cap of $7500 - to the unregulated nanny sector.

"I think that when we have a look at nannies we see that they're often chauffeurs, they're often chefs . . . some of them do ironing, some of them do the washing and the household chores," Ms Ellis said yesterday. "Tony Abbott has made clear that any nanny subsidies will come from 'the existing funding envelope'. That means cutting the assistance given to families through the childcare benefit or childcare rebate. The nanny industry is unregulated and there are no quality assurance requirements in place. This new policy is undeveloped and uncosted and will hit hard-working, low-income families who rely on childcare the hardest."

Opposition childcare spokeswoman Sussan Ley accused Ms Ellis of inciting class war and said she was wrong to say the Coalition wanted to deprive women of existing resources. "I'm sure Labor would be delighted to make this some sort of class war; well, it's not, and again proves why Kate Ellis shouldn't be in the job," she said. "The Coalition's call for a Productivity Commission report is simply reading that mood and looking at what real families are saying and doing to care for their kids. What is the minister scared of? Whether it is using a nanny, grandparents or occasional care, parents are voting with their feet to find realistic and affordable options."

Former University of Canberra chancellor and director of McCarthy Mentoring, Wendy McCarthy, said childcare centres did not always meet the needs of working women, citing the 24-hour childcare centre established at Star City when she was a director of the Sydney casino. "We put in 24-hour childcare but we found . . . most people don't want to take their kids to work and pick them up at 4 o'clock in the morning," she said. "I think we should demolish the argument about nannies being just for rich women . . . (It's) such an old argument, it's just horrible. The system assumes that we still live a life of Monday to Friday, nine to five, and I just think you've got to get over it."

Feminist academic Eva Cox said subsidising nannies could lead to calls for cheap labour from overseas.

The director of Melbourne's Leading Nanny Agency and mother of three Annie Sargood slammed Ms Ellis for what she said was inverted snobbery.  "The childcare benefit is actually paying for chefs in childcare centres and cleaners who come in after hours, so why can't a nanny come in and do the same thing in a home environment?" she said.

Mr Abbott yesterday said the Coalition, if elected, would ask the Productivity Commission to consider how childcare could deliver for families in regional and remote areas, and for shift workers.


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