Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Dress Code: Public School Prohibits Wearing Cross on Graduation Cap

The principal of a Florida high school says the controversy over a Christian cross on a graduation cap was overblown.

According to the Gainesville Sun, a cap with a cross decoration was not worn at Chiefland High School’s commencement ceremony Friday, after the senior was told she wouldn’t be allowed to wear it when getting her diploma, which angered some in the audience.

Principal Matt McLelland confirmed that a student, who was not identified, had a decorated cap. She was given a plain cap before the ceremony because of restrictions on decorating graduation caps.

“We have a dress code for graduation,” which indicates what colors and styles of clothing students can wear, and what they can put on their caps, McLelland said.

The only decorations the school allows are the student’s graduating class and the school’s initials -- this year, “Class of 2015” or “CHS” only.

He said the policy has been in place for several years, and letters about the dress code went home with students.

“It had absolutely nothing to do with religion,” McLelland told the Gainesville Sun.


Common Core Update: State and Federal

As the Senate prepares to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), a bill which could have big implications for the American education system, state legislatures and governors have been busy tackling their own reforms to Common Core education standards. Here’s what’s been going on in several key states.


The Louisiana legislature is currently working on a three bill “compromise package” that supporters are saying would allow for the repeal of Common Core standards in that state. However, there are concerns that this package is toothless, merely calling for review of the standards without clear prohibitions on adoption and implementation of federal mandates.

Governor Jindal, who opposes Common Core, was initially wary of the package, saying that it didn’t go far enough, but he has since agreed to support it. Since the State Superintendent of Education supports Common Core, it seems unlikely that the review process will yield any very strong reforms.

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, a bill prohibiting the state department of education from requiring Common Core standards passed the legislature in May, only to be vetoed by Governor Maggie Hassan. Gov. Hassan is the first governor in the nation to actually sign a veto of Common Core repeal, although the bill in question would probably not have accomplished all that much anyway, as it lacked specific prohibitions on adopting the standards.


Governor Haslam has signed HB 1035 into law, a bill which was being branded as a Common Core repeal. I’ve written before about how this bill was actually fairly weak, and accomplishes little more than a rebranding of the standards, rather than a meaningful repeal. Let’s hope that this is seen as a first step towards better reforms, and not a “mission accomplished” kind of moment. The danger is that the legislature and governor will consider their job done and move on to other issues, when in fact, there is much more work to be done.

The ESEA reauthorization bill, known as the Every Child Achieves Act, currently contains language that would prevent the federal government from being able to coerce states into accepting common standards, and would make it easier for states like Tennessee to pass more meaningful reforms, instead of falling into the rebranding trap to continue to collect federal dollars.

Unfortunately, the Every Child Achieves Act also contains unacceptable federal testing standards and a number of other provisions that undermine state autonomy in education. FreedomWorks opposes any federal involvement in education, having looked in vain for any such authorization in the U.S. Constitution.


UK: Top girls' public school set to ban homework - because it's making teenagers DEPRESSED

Cheltenham Ladies' College is making wellbeing as important as grades.    Meditation sessions, long walks between classes and no homework? It sounds like most children’s dream education.

But it could become a reality at a top independent school trying to combat teenage mental illness.

Hoping to ward off early signs of depression and anxiety, Cheltenham Ladies’ College is making their students’ wellbeing as important as their grades.

The school’s principal, Eve Jardine-Young, told The Times she was even considering abolishing homework in a bid to improve her students’ welfare.

'What we’ve been reflecting on a lot in the last few years are the big national trends in the worsening states of adolescent mental health,' she said.

'We’ve created this epidemic of anxiety for ourselves as a society, and if our obligation as educators is to try to the best of our ability to set young people up as best we can, then to ignore this whole area or to trivialise it is really irresponsible.'

From September, students at the 162-year-old school will go to weekly meditation classes and have twice as long to wander between classes.

It is also considering university-style ‘fliplearning’, where pupils read up on a subject before the lesson.

Meanwhile, an independent school in Perthshire [Scotland], Morrison’s Academy, has banned cricket because of wet weather and overly ‘complicated’ rules. It said the pressures of exams were also a factor. [More Scottish hatred of all things English]


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