Wednesday, July 17, 2013

NY: Shool district issues reading list riddled with errors, including “Great Gypsy”

A Long Island school district has released a summer reading list riddled with spelling errors.  F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is misspelled as "The Great Gypsy." And author Emily Bronte is listed as Emily Bonte.

According to Newsday and News 12 Long Island, those are just a few of the more than 30 errors on the list provided by the Hempstead Public Schools.

In a statement, a member of the New York State Department of Education's Board of Regents said the mistakes indicated that a stable administration was essential for children to get a good education. The statement said, "Hempstead has not had a stable administration for a long time and the kids are suffering."

Hempstead Superintendent Susan Johnson didn't immediately return a call for comment.


British government blocks flagship Islamic free school following links to terrorism

A flagship free school has been blocked by Michael Gove following claims that it is linked to Islamic extremism.

The Education Secretary pulled the plug on the Muslim-inspired Northern Lights primary school in Halifax, Yorkshire, following a three-month investigation.

Ministers ordered the inquiry after complaints that a local Islamic centre had circulated a leaflet suggesting that Muslim parents who failed to support the free school would be condemned.

The leaflet said: ‘If it was said to us, “If you do not attend this meeting your child will die,” I am certain we would all make sure we attend the meeting.  ‘What I am about to address... is even more serious than death and that is for us and our children to be safe on the Day  of Judgment.’

Free schools are state-funded but operate independently of town halls and Northern Lights, which was to be run with a Muslim ethos, was due to open in September.

However, despite its denials that it endorsed the leaflet or extremist views, Ministers voiced worries about ‘inclusiveness and governance’.

Calderdale Council had written to Mr Gove warning about the ‘close links’ between the Sunniyy Islamic Centre and the school.

And David Whalley, the council’s Head of Learning, said: ‘The potential risk of a negative impact on community relations within the area is high.’

The Sunniyy Centre, which also runs an Islamic school and is said to hold hard-line theological views, apologised for the leaflet, which went out in December, saying it was ‘in parts poorly expressed and indelicate’.

The Department for Education said: ‘We judged that the capacity and capability of the group was not sufficient for the project to proceed.’

The school said: ‘We are devastated for the pupils, parents and staff.’


Forcing kids to read the classics puts them off books, says new Children's Laureate

She's got a point.  A mix is needed

Children are falling out of love with reading because schools are forcing them to read the classics, the new Children’s Laureate has said.

Malorie Blackman, who was appointed to the role last month, said it was ‘dangerous’ for schools to draw up reading lists and that children should be encouraged to seek out books they like.

Her remarks set her on a collision course with Education Secretary Michael Gove, who last month lamented that teenagers were more likely to read the Twilight vampire books by Stephenie Meyer than George Eliot’s Middlemarch.

He said: ‘There is a great tradition of English literature, a canon of transcendent works, and [Twilight novel] Breaking Dawn is not part of it.’

But Mrs Blackman, 51, author of the Noughts & Crosses novels, said: ‘Children find prescriptive reading lists daunting and they are a dangerous thing to have in schools.

'If a child wants to read Twilight over Middlemarch they should be encouraged – the important thing is to get them reading in the first place.’

Speaking from the London Evening Standard’s Get Reading festival in Central London – whose star guests Hugh Grant, Rupert Everett, and Lily Cole all read from their favourite books –she added that she would like teachers to read to pupils for at least ten minutes a day.  ‘When I was a child, we used to look forward to the end of the day when we would hear another ten minutes of a story.’


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