Friday, September 28, 2012

Officer Assaults and Arrests 9-Year-Old Boy with Autism in Public School Classroom

Putting unruly kids into normal classrooms is the real problem here.  People are bound to get impatient with them from time to time.  They should be put in special schools  -- but that would upset the "all men are equal" dogma

At Baldwin South Intermediate School in Quincy, Illinois a school official called the police to deal with a “meltdown” of an autistic 9-year-old boy named Roger Parker, Jr this past Friday. Roger was sent to a specific area to calm down by school officials. When Roger decided to climb a dividing wall, instead of calling a parent to come and pick up the child, the school officials made the decision to call the police. Calling the police almost always makes situations worse.

The officer who arrived, Officer Bill Calkins, pulled Roger by his arms and legs, in an attempt to physically remove him from the wall. The officer pulled him in a manner which caused Roger to hit his eye against the divider.

After causing injury to Roger’s eye, the officer tried to restrain him. In response to the natural instinct to get away from an attacker, or someone inflicting harm, “Roger swung around and kicked the officer in his nose,” according to Brandi Kirchner, Roger’s mother.

Roger was pulled to the floor, handcuffed, and taken to the police station where his mother was told that he was being fingerprinted, photographed, and booked for aggravated battery to a police officer.

Quincy Public School District interim superintendent Cal Lee said the school is conducting an investigation, but that details of that investigation or actions taken will not be released to the public.

Kirchner stated that she recently discussed a plan on how to handle her son if he has an outburst, and is upset that it was not followed and that her son was placed in handcuffs before she was ever contacted.

Roger’s mother plans to request an investigation by the Quincy Police Department, although unfortunately it will probably be stated that the officer’s actions were justified; they certainly were not.

Quincy Police Chief Rob Copley shared more details on Tuesday:

Roger was, according to Copley, not fingerprinted or photographed, but paperwork was filled out and sent to the juvenile probation office.

As they ought to, many parents have questioned the actions of the officer against the child with special needs.

Lee, the superintendent, said that the school has plans in place for students with special needs, and in many classrooms, teacher assistants called “Star Guides” who are also there to help. There were Star Guides in the room during the interaction on Friday.

The arresting officer, Bill Calkins remains on duty and faces no repercussions. Meanwhile, Kirchner removed her son Roger from the Quincy Public School system and is investigating home schooling options.


More than  235,000 British six-year-old pupils fail 'back to basics' reading test after struggling with words like 'farm' and 'goat'

Not quite as saddening as the fact that many California High School graduates would do no better

Four in ten six-year-olds failed a back-to-basics reading test after struggling with words such as ‘farm’, ‘goat’ and ‘shine’.

Pupils were tested for the first time this summer on how well they use the traditional phonics method of reading, where children learn the letter sounds of English and how to blend them.

Forty per cent – nearly 237,000 children – were below the pass mark. They were unable to read 32 words correctly out of 40.

While nine per cent scored full marks, 21 per cent failed to scrape half marks, according to results released yesterday by the Department for Education.

Boys are already trailing behind girls, achieving a 54 per cent pass rate against their female classmates’ 62 per cent.

Only 37 per cent of white boys on free school meals [What about the white boys NOT on free school meals?] reached the standard, making them the worst-performing of all groups apart from pupils from gipsy and traveller families.

Figures show that 58 per cent of the 592,010 youngsters aged five and six who were entered for the new test at the end of Year 1 met the required standard. Two per cent were allowed not to take it.

The Coalition introduced the test in an attempt to identify pupils at risk of falling behind in reading at an early stage.

It was also intended to help establish phonics – credited with virtually wiping out illiteracy where it is used systematically – as the prime technique for teaching reading in primary schools. As well as reading 20 real words, youngsters are expected to decode 20 made-up words, such as ‘pib’, ‘queep’ and ‘groiks’.

Those who failed to reach the required standard will be given extra support and put in for the assessment again next year.

The test has proved controversial, with critics claiming it merely shows how well children can decode words, rather than their ability to understand words in context.

There have also been warnings that bright pupils attempt to convert the nonsense words in the test into proper English, for example ‘strom’ into ‘storm’.

Phonics is intended to replace the discredited ‘look and say’ method of teaching reading, which has been used widely in various guises since the 1960s.

Nick Gibb, the Tory former schools minister who championed the use of phonics, said: ‘Learning how to decode is a necessary condition for reading.  ‘Of course comprehension is crucial, but without the ability to decode, children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, will never have the confidence to read for pleasure.’

He said yesterday’s results showed significant improvement on a trial test last year, where only around a third passed.

The Government also published levels achieved by seven-year-olds in teacher assessments in reading, writing, speaking, listening, maths and science.

Eighty-seven per cent of the Year 2 children achieved the national standard – level two – in reading and 83 per cent in writing, with both up two percentage points on last year.

Speaking and listening also improved, to 88 per cent, as did maths, to 91 per cent, while science stayed the same as in 2011 on 89 per cent.


British private schools warn of 'shocking' failure of exams system

Tens of thousands of pupils are receiving the wrong grades in GCSEs and A-levels because of “truly shocking” failings in the way exams are marked, Britain’s leading independent schools have warned.

In a damning report, it was claimed that the exams system had been undermined by a series of “systematic” weaknesses including poor quality marking, inconsistencies between competing test boards, wildly fluctuating grade boundaries and dumbed down questions.

The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) insisted that problems went “far deeper” than the fiasco surrounding the grading of GCSE English exams this summer, when as many as 67,000 pupils are believed to have received the wrong mark.

Researchers said that subjects such as English literature, history, drama and foreign languages had all been hit by “seemingly random and largely unexplained” problems over the past five years.

They quoted figures showing that one-in-five teachers believe as many as a quarter of students get the wrong GCSE grades in any one year.

It insisted that the Government’s planned overhaul of the exams system – including axing GCSEs in favour of new-style “English Baccalaureate Certificates” – would fail because it amounts to little more than “houses built on sand”.

In today’s report, they called for an urgent investigation by Ofqual, the exams watchdog, into marking standards to ensure examiners have the necessary qualifications and expertise needed to properly accredit pupils’ work.

Headmasters also demanded a sharp cut in the number of exams taken by secondary school pupils to minimise the scope for problems.

The comments come amid continuing concerns over the examination and assessment system.

Last week, the Government announced that competition between multiple exam boards was to be axed amid claims that it created a “race to the bottom”.

Commenting on the latest findings, Christopher Ray, HMC chairman and High Master of Manchester Grammar School, said: “The state of the examinations industry is truly shocking and is clearly no longer fit for purpose.

“The problems go far deeper than this year’s disastrous mishandling of the English language GCSE grades. We are publishing this evidence on behalf of all students in state and independent schools in England who do not receive the marks or grades that accurately reflect their performance and achievement”.

The Department for Education said it agreed that there were “serious problems with marking and quality control”.

The study by HMC, which represents 252 schools including Eton, Harrow, St Paul’s, Winchester and Charterhouse, was based on surveys of members and an analysis of existing research into the issue of exam marking between 2007 and 2012.

The report – published before HMC’s annual conference in Belfast next week – warned of seven failings of the “examinations industry”.

It told of significant year-on-year variations in the number of good grades being awarded. One-in-five members reported increases or drops of 10 per cent or more in the proportion of students gaining A* or A grades in GCSE English last summer compared with 2010 – even though the same staff have been teaching pupils with very similar abilities.

Researchers also complained of “erratic and inconsistent” marking of exam scripts, with “significant problems” being reported with one or more particular examinations each year. This year, one-in-five HMC schools complained over marking standards in A-level history.

HMC also said that exam boards were too secretive when schools attempt to challenge poor marking through the appeals process, allowing examiners to "hide behind protocol" rather than address failures.

In a further disclosure, the report criticised varying standards between England's three biggest exam boards – the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, Edexcel and OCR. The proportion of A*s awarded to HMC schools ranged from 14 per cent for one board to as many as 23.3 per cent by another, it emerged.

HMC also attacked the “dumbing down” of exam questions, claiming that boards penalised pupils for coming up with imaginative answers.

William Richardson, the organisation’s general secretary, said: “You have to coach your brightest students to dumb down their answers to get an A*.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "We have been clear that the exams system is in desperate need of a thorough overhaul.

"That's why we are consulting on EBCs, new, more rigorous exams for 16-year-olds, and why we are reforming A-levels, with universities and employers responsible for their design.

“We agree with HMC that there are serious problems with marking and quality control.”

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "This is not about reforming exams at 16 but about getting the basics right. Marking and grading are fundamental to any exam system and these issues need to be addressed or problems like the ones we have seen this summer are likely continue regardless of whether we have GCSEs or EBaccs, modular or linear exams.

"We strongly hope that Ofqual and the government will work together with teachers and leaders in all sectors, who really understand where the problems are, to make sure that these issues are investigated properly and thoroughly.

"A remedy needs to be found and implemented as soon as possible so that new qualifications are built on a solid foundation, rather than one of sand."

Mark Dawe, chief executive of OCR, said “We continually work to improve teacher-examiner marking and have made significant investment in systems to support and improve marking quality - but there is further work to be done.

"One method which could lead to immediate improvement would be for fee-paying schools to encourage more teachers to take up assessment, helping ensure the high quality consistent marking as called for by the HMC."

An Ofqual spokeswoman said: "There are some important challenges and questions in the report which we want to explore further and discuss with HMC. It is vital that marking is accurate and students get the right results.

"Senior staff at Ofqual have had regular discussions with HMC over a number of years.

"We have spent time discussing with them how the exam system works, and listening to their concerns, including on some of the issues raised in the report.

"We have looked at the data they have provided, for example in September last year, and asked for more detailed information to help us understand what the data are telling us. We will continue to work with them as we look into exam marking.”


No comments: