Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Texas education officials finally OK Mexican-American studies course

After four years of battles over ethnic studies textbooks and courses in a state with a booming Latino population, state education officials gave final approval to adopt a Mexican-American studies course that can be taught statewide.

Although the State Board of Education OK’d the course with no discussion at its board meeting Friday in Austin, the issue of teaching Texas students about the influence of Mexican-Americans has dominated much of the board’s discussion for more than four years.

The board has gone to blows over adopting a textbook that critics describe as offensive for describing Mexican-Americans as lazy and omitting or downplaying contributions of Mexican-Americans. Later, the board tentatively agreed to create the framework for a Mexican-American studies course — although teachers could already teach such a class — but fought over the name of it after conservative board members wanted to change the name of the course to “Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent.” The final title is “Ethnic Studies: Mexican American Studies.”

Standards for the high school social studies elective course will go into effect in the 2019 school year.

The board also gave initial approval to a slate of changes to the social studies curricula, including reinserting references to the “heroism” of the defenders of the Alamo and ensuring Moses remains in the section on influences of America’s founding.

Sections tentatively removed include the mandatory teaching of Helen Keller in the section on citizenship and “holding public officials to their word” in a civics section.


NZ: Students stage mass walkout over principal’s truancy speech

The minority who walked out obviously could see that she was referring to them.  I'm guessing that they were mostly Polynesians

MORE than 100 high school students have stormed out of class in protest of their principal’s comments about truancy at school.

Graffiti reading “f*** you Mrs Crawford” had also sprung up since the speech by principal Virginia Crawford last week at the school in Hamilton, on New Zealand’s North Island.

According to the New Zealand Herald, last Thursday Ms Crawford gave a speech saying students who wagged were “highly likely to go to prison, either commit domestic violence or be a victim of domestic violence, be illiterate, be a rape victim, be a suicide victim, be unemployed for the majority of their life, have a major health problem, die at an early age, have an addiction, gambling, drugs or smoking”.

The speech was secretly recorded by a student and uploaded to YouTube where it quickly went viral.

There have also been reports of unrest, with graffiti and vandalising of school property.

Student Cody Barron, 16, said the speech had since divided the school, with people either supporting her or upset at what she said.

“It’s definitely divided the school. Everyone’s split apart. Some people are setting off fire alarms, costing the school like $3500.” He said it had only happened once — on Friday — but he expected it to happen again.

“There’s also been a lot of tagging. Targeting Ms Crawford. “The graffiti read “f*** you Mrs Crawford,” he said.

However, while many disagreed with her sentiments, some senior students have backed the principal, stating her message has been misunderstood by students.

Older students at the school gates said she used “shock tactic” language to get her message across.

Lauese Faaosofia, 17, said he was embarrassed by the protest as it made the school look bad.

“These guys are making our school look bad, smoking, what the hell? Our school is good, it’s the people, as you can see, wagging. She was trying to give us a message not to wag. These kids here, Year 9, they don’t even know what they’re here for.”

The Year 13 student said he supported the message Ms Crawford was trying to send about not wagging school.

Fellow Year 13 student Carlos Tuimavave was also frustrated by the protest, stating a lot of the students were younger and just looking to get attention.

He believed students had misinterpreted Ma Crawford’s speech and said she had to use emotive language to get her message across.

“I support Ms Crawford … most of these kids here are juniors. What they didn’t understand about [the principal’s] speech was the message she was sending. She could have used better context within her speech with the use of consequences and stuff … but if she said something like, ‘you wag and you’re gonna get a detention’, no one would care. No one would listen.

“Obviously she got her point across if this is the outcome. Obviously her point got across to every student here.

He said the students should “just be grateful that we have a principal who cares about us enough to worry about our futures”.


Australia: Leyonhjelm wins on income-based school funding

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm has welcomed the Government’s decision to fund non-government schools based on the income of parents, rather than the average wealth of the parents’ neighbours.

“For several years I have been outlining to education ministers how funding for private schools can and should be based on the income of parents rather than the average wealth of the parents’ neighbours.  I have also outlined how taxpayer privacy can be maintained.

“I am delighted that the Government has finally worked it out.

“Income-based funding improves the degree to which school funding is needs-based.  The schools educating poor kids will get more than schools educating rich kids.

“The fact that the additional funding favours non-government schools over government schools also enhances needs-based funding.

“Currently a non-government school whose students are poorer and more disadvantaged than a government school receives only 80 per cent of the funding of the government school.  Any move that whittles away at this baseless bias against non-government schools is great.

“The Government should go further and completely eliminate this rule. A non‑government school whose students are poorer and more disadvantaged than a government school should never receive less taxpayer-funding just because it is a non-government school.

“The Government should also start funding government schools based on the income of parents, and rich parents who send their children to government schools need to be charged meaningful school fees.

“This is fair, and would achieve more education bang for the taxpayer buck.

“The Government is moving towards the Liberal Democrats’ policy of schooling vouchers that are sector-blind, means‑tested and needs-based.  It should go all the way.”

Media release

No comments: