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Education: What The Heck?

What the heck?

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — An investigation into an embattled Daytona Beach high school principal revealed she claimed to teach a class that never existed.

[….]

An investigation into [Mainland High School Principal Cheryl] Salerno said she was assigned to teach a two semester speech course, but that course never existed.

According to the investigation, nine students enrolled in the class and received A’s, but there was no evidence the class ever met or that any course work was assigned.

When challenged, officials said Salerno told them she would produce the students work, but never did.

In addition, Volusia County School Board Chair Carl Persis said Salerno hired two people as guidance counselors who were not certified or qualified for the job.

This woman was a principal? Teaching kids?

Teaching them what? How to lie and deceive their way through life?
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Why Are Some Of The Dumbest People Hired By School Districts?

Someone in the Wyoming Valley West School District in Pennsylvania thought that it would be a good idea to threaten parents with the loss of their children if the parents did not pay an outstanding bill for lunch fees that was owed.

You read that right. Someone thought that it would be a good idea that in order to re-coup funds owed to the school lunches that the school would tell parent “pay up” or “give up” their children and turn them over to Child Protective Services.

School officials said the letter was at least their third attempt to contact the parents who were the worst offenders.

“Your child has been sent to school every day without money and without a breakfast and/or lunch,” the 200-word letter read. “This is a failure to provide your child with proper nutrition and you can be sent to Dependency Court for neglecting your child’s right to food. If you are taken to Dependency court, the result may be your child being removed from your home and placed in foster care.”

Leaders in Luzerne County, which runs the local foster-care system, denounced the letter and chastised the school district, saying foster care is to be used only when children are being abused or are otherwise in danger.

“This isn’t what we do, this isn’t who we are,” County Manager David Pedri said in an interview. “This letter was used to weaponize and terrorize, and to strike fear in parents to pay bills. In no way, shape or form are we the boogeyman coming to take your kids away in the middle of the night.”
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Airsoft Gun, Facebook Post, Kid And A School. You Can See Where This Is Going.

Classic Army DT4 Double-Barrel M4 Airsoft Rifle

A middle-schooler at a private school in Maryland for kids with language disabilities was suspended for the final three weeks of school and not allowed to graduate.

Here’s what the father said happened:

I recently received an unexpected phone call from the principal at my son’s small private school for kids with language-based learning disabilities in Maryland. My son, 14, was lurking in the background of a video made by another boy toting a gun — not a real gun, a disabled airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets.

My son’s school investigated and found that, in addition to the other boy’s video, my son had taken a selfie of the other kid holding him in a headlock pointing the fake gun at my son’s head. My son then shared it, without comment, with 13 friends on Snapchat.

“This is very, very serious,” the principal said. She informed me that my son would be suspended for the remainder of the year — three weeks.

Full stop.

The father had us at that point.

Clearly the school overreacted to some kids goofing around. There was no harm done to anyone. There was no threat to anyone, yet somehow the kid got suspended for a social media post that was off school grounds and had nothing to do with the school.

Unfortunately, the father jumps the shark a bit too:
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Truth To Power? Valedictorian Gives Awkward Speech That School Didn’t Like.

There are speeches and then there are memorable speeches.

(The fun starts at roughly 1:20 into the video.)

San Ysidro High senior Nataly Buhr’s speech began the way most valedictorian addresses begin: She thanked her parents for their love and support, her friends for the memories she will cherish, and a few select teachers for helping her achieve success.

Then Buhr broke from tradition when she thanked a school counselor who she said was regularly unavailable to students. She didn’t name the counselor.

“To my counselor, thanks for teaching me to fend for myself,” Buhr said. “You were always unavailable to my parents and I, despite appointments. Only in these past few weeks, with the awards ceremonies and graduation coming up, did you begin making your appearance.”

Buhr went on to thank the school’s main office staff for teaching her to be “resourceful.”

“Your negligence to inform me of several scholarships until the day before they were due potentially caused me to miss out on thousands of dollars,” she said.
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School Board Tells Parents to “Shut Up Or Else.”

We write a great deal about the First Amendment and the protection it must have in a free society. This is one of those cases where applicable Canadian laws are the same as American laws, which means that this could happen here.

It starts out innocently enough over concerns an elementary school near Calgary:

A number of families with children at Red Deer Lake School, just south of Calgary, say their children are struggling in a large, combined Grade 2 class — and with no end in sight, they’re pulling their kids from the school.

Parents say they showed up on the first day of school, in September, to find a removable wall taken down between two classrooms, leaving 47 children in the same large room with two teachers.

“There had been no advance notice to parents … and so many of us were concerned when we saw this, ” said Yael Moussadji, one of several parents who questioned school officials at the time but were given assurances the co-teaching model would work.

Over the following few months, Moussadji noticed changes in her seven-year-old daughter’s behaviour.

“When she came home, she was completely overwhelmed and required significant amount of time to decompress and settle after a school day,” said Moussadji, who watched as her daughter went from loving school to wanting to avoid it.

CBC News has spoken with 11 other families who have similar concerns.

Funny thing is that we remember this being tried when were were growing up. Schools had “moveable walls” that allowed classes to be combined. The idea was supposed to make it so the best teachers on one a particular subject taught that subject to more kids. The idea was that kids would be exposed to more ideas from other kids. The idea was that kids would learn to behave in groups. The idea was was that with one teacher teaching, the other teacher could circulate amongst the kids, looking for discipline issues and helping kids that were struggling.

The plan failed.

Miserably.
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Sunk By A Toilet?

After the last two days of serious topics and lots of writing, we thought we’d take a bit of a break and highlight something a little “lighter.”

This is the story of the U-1206, a World War II U-boat (submarine) that was lost due to toilet.

One of the last U-Boats produced by Germany in the Second World War had all the most advanced technology, including a new “high pressure toilet.”

Imagine having to explain that your boat was taken out of action and scuttled because of a toilet. Of course, it could be said that the design was a “crappy” one but we digress.
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The “N-Word” Debate. Again.

(click image for larger version. Courtesy JHallComics.com)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: We struggled with a graphic for this post. Nothing new or fresh came to mind and we didn’t want to use the word that we find offensive. We found the above cartoon and feel that it illustrates the issue of this post rather well. And we say that as proud nerds.)

Principal Shannon McParland of Metcalf Middle School in Burnside, Minnesota (and is a white middle aged woman) after being cursed at and verbally abused by a student asked the student a relevant, rhetorical question:

In the email, she described the exchange with the student in which “the student directed profanities and racial epithets toward me and other staff members.”

In a video circulating online, McParland is shown asking someone if he or she is going to call her the N-word following an expletive.

“Are you seriously going to call me a f—- — n—–?” she says in the recording.

McParland is the only person shown in a seven-second clip that appears to be taken from a longer recording.

Let the angst and calls for her firing begin.

Generally speaking, we are against the use of the “n-word.” While we are for protecting speech – even speech that is highly offensive as the “n-word” is – we know that once people start throwing the word around, you lose the audience. By that we mean that words are not just things we say to create noise in our ears. Words and languages are something that convey messages and ideas. For the most part, when you use the “n-word,” you are going to have the listeners stop listening to any ideas you may be putting forth. In other words, of you are out, talking and conversing and you throw the “n-word” out there, people are going to close their ears off to you. Perhaps rightfully so.
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Tales Of Two Teachers.

Two stories about two different teachers caught our eye. In some ways, we are at a loss to describe what happened in both cases.

The first story is out of Milwaukee. Wisconsin.

MILWAUKEE — A teacher at Ronald Reagan High School in Milwaukee faces multiple charges for allegedly having inappropriate communication with students at the school. The accused is Kenneth Chu, 26. He faces the following criminal charges:

  • Causing a child 13-18 years of age to view or listen to sexual activity
  • Exposing a child to harmful material (three counts)

According to the criminal complaint, school officials received a complaint from an alumni that Chu “was reaching out to recent graduates and flirting with them.” He had apparently “created several fake social media accounts to follow and chat with female graduates.”

Chu reportedly sent her dozens of X-rated images and videos through Snapchat — then demanded she send back nude photos of herself. Police said Chu “kept threatening her, saying he had the power to suspend her.”

Authorities interviewed two other teen girls about the teacher — one of whom claimed Chu used Snapchat to ask her what she wears to bed. Another said Chu asked if she was “spontaneous” then asked if she wanted to go on a trip to Chicago with him.

Charming fellow.

We are fairly sure that using a school to meet young girls that you want to “hook up with” is crossing a line. Sending nude pictures definitely crosses that line.
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Christian Teacher Fired For Incorrect Pronoun Usage.

A Christian teacher in West Point, Virginia, has been fired for using the “incorrect” pronoun when referring to a transgendered student.

Peter Vlaming, a teacher within the school system for seven years, was fired from his position Thursday night after a five-and-a-half hour public hearing with the school board.

Vlaming’s attorney fought the Superintendent’s recommendation to dismiss the teacher based on claims of insubordination and repeated refusal to comply with directives made by WPPS administrators.

[….]

“Tolerance is a two-way street,” said Shawn Voyles, Vlaming’s attorney. “My client respects this student’s rights; he is simply asking that his rights be respected as well… The student is absolutely free to identify as the student pleases. The school board adopted one viewpoint and required Mr. Vlaming, at the cost of his job, to repeat that ideology, repeat that viewpoint. That’s where it’s compelled speech. That’s where it violates his First Amendment right he still retains as a public employee.”

This issue came to a crux during a virtual reality exercise back in October, where Vlaming said he called out “don’t let her walk into the wall” as the transgender student walked in that direction.

Vlaming claimed it was a slip of the tongue.

Vlaming says he often uses the students names in the classroom and not pronouns. He says he used the student’s new name, but says “out of good conscious and faith he could not use the male pronouns”. #VAnews #NBC12
— Karina Bolster (@KarinaNBC12) December 6, 2018

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And Now Veggie Tales Are “Racist.”

According to Wikipedia, Veggie Tales is:

VeggieTales is an American series of children’s computer animated television shows, videos, and feature films featuring anthropomorphic fruits and vegetables in stories conveying moral themes based on Christian culture. The show is aimed at children aged three to eight. The episodes frequently retell and re-create Bible stories anachronistically reframed and include humorous references to pop culture.

Yet according to The College Fix, the cartoons were labeled as “racist” in a recently held forum at Cal State San Marcos.

These are some of the arguments made by students at a “Whiteness Forum” held at Cal State San Marcos on Thursday that aimed to take a “critical look at whiteness,” according to organizers.

The two-hour event took place in a large multipurpose room, with more than a dozen poster board projects lined up in a circle around the room for viewers to review.

The forum is a result of Professor Dreama Moon’s Communications 454 class titled “The Communication of Whiteness,” with the annual event serving as a showcase of students’ final projects for the class.
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