Sunday, November 04, 2012

Georgia Teacher Makes Student Deliver Campaign Signs During Class Time

Among the many education-related ballot proposals this election is Amendment 1 in Georgia. The proposed constitutional amendment would reauthorize an independent board to approve charter schools. Currently, school districts are able to regulate charters, thereby limiting their competition. reported on some of the dirty tactics being employed by the education establishment:

In some areas, school employees are reportedly using taxpayer funds and work time to campaign against Amendment 1, possibly violating state law.

“I had a lady come to me … who substitute teaches who said when she walked in to teach the GAE was serving donuts and telling teachers to vote no and to tell their students to vote no,” [Georgia Americans for Prosperity director Virginia] Galloway said.

Opponents also “had an hour-long training session at the Georgia School Boards Association, which is a taxpayer funded training session … on how to defeat the amendment,” she said.

Reports involving students are even more troubling.

Kelly Cadman, vice president of school services for the Georgia Charter Schools Association, said public school teachers have recruited students to deliver campaign signs opposing Amendment 1 during class time.

“A teacher at Brighten (charter school) called me tonight to let me know that her son, who is in the IB program at the local high school, was sent on an errand … by one of his teachers,” Cadman wrote in a recent email to fellow education reformers. “The errand (during his language arts class time) was to deliver several Vote No yard signs to other teachers.

“He didn’t find out what the signs were about (didn’t know what Amendment 1 was) until he got to the last teacher and she told him – the kid was aghast, as he knows this impacts his mom,” Cadman wrote. “Obviously, his mom (the charter school teacher) is furious.”

Can you imagine the hell a Tea Party-minded teacher would catch if she did a similar thing? But union-minded teachers don’t give it a second thought, and schools ignore the bald-faced politicking activist teachers engage in on a routine basis.


An alternative 'facts' curriculum for Britain: Younger pupils ‘must focus on names, dates and places, not vague themes’

Children would go back to learning about landmark events and the great figures of history under an alternative national curriculum drawn up by campaigners.

In a move away from vague themes and topics, pupils would concentrate on names, dates, places and scientific concepts as well as classic art, music and literature.

The lessons, spelled out in a series of primers from the think-tank Civitas, are designed to put knowledge back at the heart of teaching and complement a curriculum expected to be launched by Michael Gove early next year.

A draft of the Education Secretary’s plan requires pupils to study a narrative of British history including key figures such as Winston Churchill, and in geography, show an understanding of the countries of the world.

The primers created by Civitas are designed to fit into Mr Gove’s framework and stretch primary age children.

While rejecting rote learning, the think-tank says a ‘significant body of enduring knowledge and skills’ should ‘form the foundation of a strong curriculum’.

David Green of Civitas said he wanted to help reverse a trend that has seen children taught broad topics such as ‘the seashore’. ‘You could count ships in maths,’ he said. ‘But there’s a limit to how far you can deploy the seashore effectively as a theme for all those lessons.’

He said low expectations of youngsters – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds – had been a ‘terrible weakness’ in education for a generation.

He said the new curriculum would end the narrowing of education driven by a ‘corrupted’ regime of ‘teaching to the test’ – drilling to pass primary school tests.

Civitas has published two books in its series, covering what children in years one and two at primary school need to know. The next four are in development.

As well as a guide for teachers, the books are aimed at parents and grandparents to help them deepen children’s knowledge.

Schools, including the proposed West London Primary Free School, backed by journalist Toby Young, have expressed an interest in using the series of books.

However, the Civitas syllabus is likely to meet resistance from some teachers who claim that the rise of the internet and search engines such as Google are rendering the need to teach knowledge in schools increasingly obsolete.

The books are based on the ideas  of E.D. Hirsch, an influential American educationalist who says the key duty of schooling is to give children access to the common knowledge that draws their society together.  His theory is that the more knowledge a person has, the more sticks – like a snowball.

Mr Gove and former schools minister Nick Gibb, the architect of the Government’s curriculum review, have spoken of their admiration for Mr Hirsch’s work.

Under the Civitas scheme, pupils will leave primary school having studied a broad range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, songs, music, great works of art and speeches by key historical figures.

In geography, children would begin by identifying the countries of the UK on a map and build up to in-depth studies of the continents.


Australian mother outraged over hugging ban:  Letter to paper

(Stupid Fascist school Principal:   If something is a problem, don't deal with it.  Ban it!)

Heidi Rome

I am writing this to you as a concerned parent.

My daughter is in year six and is in the Academic Class of Excellence.   She is a well-mannered, bright and caring person who her teacher thinks highly of her and she would never do anything to hurt another person.

 Last Friday she received detention from the principal, the reason she received this was because she gave her classmate (female) a friendly hug goodbye after the end of day bell had gone.

I have since spoke to the school and the principal and apparently there is a rule at the school that the students are not allowed to hug one another.

I have never heard of this before and I read nearly all of the schools newsletters.

I asked why such a harsh punishment and her reply was because she had only just spoken to the whole school about this issue two hours previously so she was taking a stance on the matter. Well I think this is way over the top to punish a child for a friendly hug.

 My concern is the harsh punishment and the fact kids are no longer able to be kids and hug one another. Her reasoning for this rule that was bought in was to stop boyfriend / girlfriend hugging (some parents had complained about it) and the students that were running across the schoolyard and slamming into one another.

So everyone suffers now because of a few silly children, I asked her why not teach those children appropriate behavior instead of banning hugs altogether.

What is that teaching the children instead, that hugs are inappropriate and wrong?

I have also asked the question have they spoken to a child physiologist regarding the effect on giving the impression to the students that they must not hug your friends?

The answer was no, but I can if I want too. Also siblings are not allowed to hug each other, so how can you explain to a five year old that they cant hug their older brother or sister.

 According to theorist regarding child development this is a natural development of children and I certainly don't want my children not to be able to hug friends or family.

I have spoken to a number of parents from this school and teachers from other schools and they completely agree me and are outraged about this rule.

Research has also shown that in this day and age where communication is ruled by technology children need to have more affection and be encouraged to have human empathy.

Schools should be a comforting place for kids and be all warm and fuzzy as for some children it may be the only bit they get.

I hope this matter can be bought to the attention of other parents out there and something done about it as I do not want my younger primary aged children being bought up in a society that says hugs between friends and siblings are inappropriate at school and also the school is not going to change this rule.


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