Friday, June 22, 2012

Bigoted N.C. Teacher Who Mentioned Jail Time for Students Who Insulted Obama Won’t be Fired

The Salisbury Post is reporting that a teacher who told a student back in May he could be arrested for talking badly about Obama will be returning to her job in the Rowan-Salisbury School System in the fall.

Yelling at student Hunter Rogers, who tried to defend Mitt Romney, the teacher told the class that people have been arrested for being disrespectful to the president.

In one of the more comical exchanges, Rogers pointed out that “whenever Bush was president, people talked sh*tty about him,” and the teacher responded, “because he was sh*tty.”

Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom condemned the woman’s actions at the time, suspending her after it made national news.

“I expect all teachers to be professional during class discussion and not to force their personal or political views on students, demean students, or instruct students on what to believe…Teachers must create a positive instructional environment conducive to learning within the guidelines of our state curriculum.  Ms. Dixon-Neely’s failure to meet these standards during the recorded portion of class is the basis for my disciplinary action against her,” she said, but has significantly changed her tune in the intervening months.

Grissom is now saying that the the teacher’s actions did not reflect her usual performance, because she had received two formal classroom observations before the recording was released and both had been positive, and she therefore deserves another chance.

She did not say what exactly was being reviewed, or what the standards for review were.

“While I remain deeply concerned about the performance documented in the recording of Ms. Dixon-Neely’s classroom, I have concluded that she should have a chance to improve her teaching skills,” Grissom said. “Under these circumstances, suspension without pay for 10 work days and a requirement that Ms. Dixon-Neely complete a monitored growth plan is an appropriate resolution.”

Grissom added that the teacher has also received racist messages since the incident, and that teachers throughout the school system have been criticized.


More choice British teachers!

'Dear mum, don't cry but I'm dying': Fury over school's creative writing assignment that left a mother distraught

The words in her son’s homework left Vicki Walker numb with shock.

In a letter which began ‘Dear mum’, Wesley, 14, assured her he loved her, made a request for bright colours at his funeral, and listed who should inherit his most prized possessions.

Horrified, she ran to his bedroom praying he had not taken his own life.   In fact, Wesley was sleeping soundly in bed – and the death note turned out to be the result of a creative writing assignment set by his teachers.

Last night his parents demanded an apology from the school, furious that teachers could have set such a piece of work without informing them. But while the Discovery Academy in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, apologised, staff insist the task was justified as an exercise in ‘expressive art’ and an opportunity for pupils to tell their mothers that they love them.  The school said it would ‘review how we communicate to parents in the future’.

Mrs Walker, 42, and her husband Mark described the horrifying moment they read the note at their home in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent and thought their son might be about to commit suicide. Mr Walker, 52, a warehouse worker, said: ‘Wesley came down before going to bed and handed his mum this piece of paper.  ‘He said goodnight and then off he went back upstairs to bed.

‘Vicki read it – and the colour just drained from her face. She just froze stiff and handed me this paper with her hands shaking.

‘She burst into his bedroom and expected to see him hanging there – she was horrified. The poor lad almost jumped out of his skin. It really has shaken us up.’ Wesley was set the task last month in his Expressive Arts class, a subject – also offered at GCSE – which aims to ‘develop pupils’ creativity and imagination’.

Children were asked to imagine they had a terminal illness and express thanks to loved ones. Wesley said: ‘I just thought it was like any other piece of work. I just got on with it.’

In the letter, which is littered with spelling errors, he asked family and friends to wear bright colours at his funeral and apologised for being ‘a pain’ at times. ‘I don’t want you to be sad,’ it said. ‘I’m with Nan and Grandad now so I love you and goodbye.’

Pupils were then told to take the letters home but no warning was given to parents about the notes.

‘I couldn’t believe the school did not warn us they were doing such a sick exercise,’ Mr Walker said. ‘They could have written something on top of the work.’ He added that the assignment could have been harmful to vulnerable teens. ‘It could give some kids the wrong ideas,’ he said. Mrs Walker, a teaching assistant, added: ‘Wesley is a lively boy and to see this made me think there was something seriously wrong.’

Last night the school said many parents and pupils found the exercise ‘valuable’, adding that it was in line with the national curriculum.

A spokesman said: ‘The purpose was to enable young people to explore their feelings and emotions and celebrate the many good things with their loved ones that are usually left unsaid.’


Australia: The charter school revolution comes to Qld.

In Britain they have also recently taken off -- where they're called "academies" or "free schools" -- but the idea, as in America,  is to get them out from under bureaucratic control while remaining government-funded

QUEENSLAND state schools have been invited to apply to become independent public schools next year and qualify for an extra $50,000 in funding.

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek today visited Rainworth State School in Brisbane's inner west to spruik the benefits of moving out from his department's control.  He said public independent schools would have autonomy in decision-making, face less red tape and fewer layers of management.

"Independent public schools will have the freedom to directly recruit teachers and to build a team that is able to deliver innovative educational practices and have more autonomy to manage infrastructure and financial resources," Mr Langbroek said.

"Research tells us that parent and community engagement with schools can have a powerful impact on student achievement."

He said schools that already had significant community input would be in a good position to apply, but he would not expand on other criteria for selection.

"We're not going to use the NAPLAN table as a league table to determine whether someone should become an independent school," Mr Langbroek said.

Schools will have the freedom to pull out after a year, and those that remain in the program will have their involvement reviewed after four years.

The Minister said it would not cost parents any more to send their children to an independent public schools, but there would be some opportunities for business sponsorship.

"This is not going to be a case of businesses being able to come in and plaster schools with commercial advertising simply because they're working with schools to deliver the program," he said.

In the first year 30 schools in metropolitan and regional areas will be selected to become independent public schools with that figure rising to 120 in four years.

The Queensland Teachers Union has previously raised concerns about the program, saying it will ruin the state school system, and create real concerns about job security for teachers.


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