Friday, October 19, 2012

Virginia Teacher Charged With Assault: Girl’s Hand Cut in Forced ‘Islamic Hand Sign’ Drill‏

An elementary school teacher in Chesapeake, Va. has been charged with simple assault after a parent claimed her daughter’s hand was cut open as a result of the teacher yanking her arm aggressively while trying to teach students an “Islamic hand sign.”

Officer Leo Kosinski, a spokesman for the Chesapeake Police Department, told TheBlaze that Tara Harris was criminally charged with a misdemeanor on Oct. 11 and released on a summons. The case is currently under investigation.

“It’s still a criminal charge. It happened at the school and it involved a student,” Kosinski said. The police department could not release any additional information.

Stephanie Bennett, the mother of the 10-year-old girl who was allegedly assaulted at Butts Road Intermediate School, told TheBlaze in an emotional phone interview that Harris has a disturbing trend of “indoctrinating” students with Islamic teachings. She also said the teacher openly campaigns for President Barack Obama in the classroom.

The incident of alleged assault occurred on October 2, according to Bennett.

“The teacher was going over Islamic hand signs with the children — she stayed on this issue for two days straight during their reading and math class,” she said.

Bennett’s daughter suffers from a processing disorder, making it difficult for her to quickly grasp things like hand signs. “Not that she’s uneducated or anything. It’s just a processing problem,” the mother said.
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When Bennett’s daughter was unable to do the Islamic hand sign correctly after two days of instruction, Harris became frustrated and attempted to twist the girl’s fingers to make the Islamic gesture meaning “power and strength.” The way Bennett described it, it sounds like an upside A-OK hand gesture. It is unclear exactly which “Islamic hand sign” was being promoted as the source information comes from children.

“When she didn’t get it right, [Harris] went over and yanked her hand out of her desk and my daughter’s hand got hung up on the metal wire on her file folder and the skin got caught on it,” the mother explained, her voice cracking with emotion. “The other children saw my daughter’s hand dripping with blood after the teacher had gotten so mad that she went to twist my daughter’s hand into an Islamic sign.”

After her child came home with the cut on her hand and she learned what had happened, Bennett immediately filed a police report. She claims to have pictures of her daughter’s injuries. She has agreed to share the pictures with TheBlaze, however, they were unable to be sent digitally late Wednesday night.

She says the day after the incident school officials informed her that Harris had been placed on administrative leave. On Tuesday, she was then informed that the teacher had been terminated from the Chesapeake Public School system all together. Her termination can not be independently confirmed as the messages left with multiple officials with the school system have not been returned. Attempts to contact Harris were also unsuccessful.

The mother said her daughter told her that Harris “prays to Allah in Arabic” around five times a day in front of students and teaches them about Islam and how it is superior to other religions. Bennett claims other parents have confirmed her suspicions after talking with their kids.

One of those parents, Nita Redditt, told TheBlaze that her young son confirmed Bennett’s story. The boy said he was “scared” to go back to school the next day after she found out, she added.

“I think he was intimidated,” Redditt said. “I couldn’t believe what was going on in the classroom in regards to this teacher praying to Allah and having them pray with her.”

Bennett said she wants the Chesapeake Police Department to conduct a full investigation into Harris’s actions. She also wants to know why she wasn’t notified immediately when another parent complained to Butts Road Intermediate School officials about Harris campaigning for Obama in the classroom and bashing Republican GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Bennett said a school resource officer intially told her that “speaking in Arabic wasn’t against school policy.”

“Kids can’t stand up and fight for themselves. Someone’s got to fight for them,” Bennett said. “Why didn’t someone call me? Why weren’t any of the parents notified?”

What is strange is that no local news outlets appear to be reporting on the incident — not even the fact that a public school teacher was charged with assault.

Chesapeake Public Schools is still reeling from fresh allegations of criminal activity against one of its teachers. WAVY-TV reports that Bryan Carter, an assistant principal at Indian River High School, was arrested earlier this month and charged with abduction, burglary, attempted robbery and assault and battery., which serves the Chesapeake area, also reported on Wednesday that a Virginia Beach piano teacher had been charged with sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy.

So why are local media not covering the story involving Harris, who has been with the school since September, allegedly assaulting a 10-year-old student and forcing her class to learn Islamic hand signs? What makes this story different?


President of France Wants to Ban Homework Because It's "Not Fair" to Disadvantaged

I wish I was making this up, and it certainly sounds like it's something straight out of The Onion, yet here it is, on a Washington Post headline: French president pushing homework ban as part of ed reforms.

Reason for the homework ban?

Francois Hollande doesn’t think it is fair that some kids get homework help from their parents while children who come from disadvantaged families don’t.

Instead, Hollande wants to hire more teachers without saying where the money will come from (but you know the answer is tax hikes).

He also wants to increase the length of the school week from four days to four-and-a-half days. Note that school days in France start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m.

Socialist Nutcase

If you were looking for further proof that Hollande was a socialist nutcase you have it.

Rather than focusing on the problem (parents not spending enough time with their kids), Hollande wants government to address the system, which in the mind of any socialist means more government intervention and spending to make sure nothing is "unfair".

Other Unfair Things

Here are some other things that are as least as "unfair" for the exact same reason that Hollande used in his proposal to ban homework.

Hiring tutors
Music lessons
Educational games like Scrabble

Why stop there? All kinds of things in life might be considered "unfair". Do the poor eat T-bone steaks? Go to movies as often? Should we ban those too?

Does everyone have an air conditioner who arguably needs one? If not, is the solution to ban them?

Nah. Hollande just wants to raise taxes so that everyone has the exact same stuff, same teachers, same cars, same food, same clothes, same movies.

That is the socialist definition of "fair".

Government spending is already 54% of French GDP. Clearly that is not too much in the eyes of Hollande. For comparison purposes, please see US Government Spending as Percentage of GDP.

Expect more nonsensical socialist solutions from Hollande, because they are coming.


A chain reaction that would fix Britain's failing schools

The pace of reform must be stepped up to tackle mediocrity in our education system.  David Cameron could not have put it more clearly in his conference speech last week: Britain has reached its hour of reckoning, when we either do or decline. He promised to slay the three modern “giants” holding this country back – the debt strangling our economy, welfare dependency, and the educational mediocrity that prevents so many young people from flourishing. Of these challenges, none is more important to the fulfilment of our common potential than sorting out the chronic weakness that affects England’s schools.

Consider these facts: in 40 per cent of schools teaching is no better than satisfactory, and 6,000 schools provide only a satisfactory level of education. Earlier this year Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector of schools and an outstanding headteacher in his day, confirmed what everyone knew – that “satisfactory” in education is anything but. It is now clear that the problems run much deeper than we thought. So what can this Government do about it?

The first piece of good news is that the academy programme is working. According to both the National Audit Office and the London School of Economics, failing schools that have been turned into academies under new sponsors are performing better than those that did not. So the expansion of the academies programme will help raise standards, as will the influence of innovative new free schools. But ultimately this policy was designed to turn round a few hundred schools, not for helping the thousands of schools that now need to improve.

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, needs more ways to raise standards, so he should take advantage of an even more effective form of educational organisation that has emerged over the past 10 years – federations or chains of academies. Chains are charitable groups of schools with a single educational vision, bound together legally, financially and operationally. They work by spreading the benefits of a successful approach to schooling: a “no excuses” culture, strong leadership, high expectations and robust discipline.

The emerging evidence suggests that, on average, their standards are even higher than single academies because they provide exactly the kind of opportunities for collaboration, within a competitive marketplace, that schools need to flourish. Chains show that a proper market in state schooling is at last starting to develop.

Academy chains have many different roots. Some of the original academy sponsors like the United Learning Trust have come from the independent sector and are now running several academies. I am currently working with Wellington College to create a chain, and academy chains based around successful state schools or colleges can now be found across the country: the Kemnal Academies Trust on the South Coast, the Harris Federation in London, and the Barnfield Federation in Luton. Others, such as ARK Schools, were started by philanthropists.

We need to harness the power of these academy chains to deal with what the Prime Minister has called the “hidden crisis” of coasting schools. That means encouraging the creation and growth of chains – by part-funding their expansion and giving the best chains more influence by making them centres of teacher training – as well as giving them opportunities to innovate, such as by paying their governing bodies. It means explicitly using them to sort out failure. If turning a weak school into a stand-alone academy fails to improve results, then that school should be handed over to a successful chain. We also need to create a network of local school commissioners who, under the direction of central government, will intervene in the thousands of underperforming schools and turn them over to an academy sponsor or successful chain.

These changes can take us a long way, but the scale of the challenge is so big that even dramatically increasing the number and size of academy chains may not be enough. This is where the private sector should be asked to contribute. If turning a school into an academy and then handing it on to a chain haven’t been enough to break the cycle of underachievement, the governing body should be obliged to appoint an external provider to run it. The school and its assets would stay in the charitable sector, but they would be able to access the expertise of private providers who would be paid by results. Any objections to the private sector trying where the state and voluntary sectors have failed should be dismissed for what they are – ideological prejudice. There are countless examples of the private sector delivering excellent services to citizens across the public sector, from the NHS to special educational needs provision. Mainstream schooling should be no different.

The consequences I am proposing for underperforming schools are robust; they will not be universally popular. But as Sir Michael Wilshaw has said: “We have tolerated mediocrity for too long… Without radical change now, we will see more social and economic division in this country.” There is no time to waste. Creating a world-class education system means calling on the best chains, independent schools and private providers to raise standards in the weakest schools. It is time to sink or swim.


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