Currently Browsing: Education

Principal Redefines “Tolerance” And “Diversity.”

Chick-Fil-A-Diversity-ROH Imagine that you are part of an athletic booster club who is looking to raise money to support athletics at your local high school. You find a local business that is willing to donate 200 meals that you can sell in order to help raise money.

The amount of money raised? About $1600.

Great deal, eh?

Not according to Ventura High School Principal Val Wyatt.

Back in 2012, the CEO of Chick-Fil-A gave an interview to the Baptist Press and was asked about his stance on traditional marriage.

Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

The backlash from his statement was swift and immediate. People called for the removal of Chick-Fil-A’s from college campuses. The mayor of Boston said he would block any Chick-Fil-A from opening in the city. Even the Muppets said they would no longer partner with Chick-Fil-A on anything such as toy give-aways.

Share the Hoecakes

You Can’t Have That Here.

Confederate-Flag-Grunge-Wall-ROHA student at Glenelg High School in Harford County, Maryland has been disciplined for displaying a Confederate flag at a high school football game.

(Our information on this story is a little unclear, but we are going to assume that the student displayed the “Confederate battle flag” and not the “flag of the Confederate States of America.”)

Ah yes. The intolerance of intolerance raises its ugly head.

In Tinker v. Des Moines School District, the Supreme Court ruled that school administrations had the right to limit speech which may “materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.”

While we are not sure that a football game is a place for academics, we can understand the school not wanting the flag to be displayed.

In 2007, the Supreme Court decided a case where the school may have been given more justification for removing the flag. The case is Morse v. Frederick and concerned a student who was attending a school sponsored event and who held up a sign that read “Bong Hits for Jesus.” The student was told to lower the sign and he refused. The student was then disciplined for his actions. The school argued that the sign advocated illegal drug use and the Supreme Court agreed that the school had a legitimate interest in restricting speech and signs that advocated illegal activities.

The Tinker case and the Morse case join together to make a fairly powerful statement that a school administration can restrict speech that may reasonable be seen to cause a disruption at school events. We agree that the Confederate Battle flag may be a symbol or speech that would cause a disruption at a school event such as a football game.

We do not have an issue with the school demanding the student take the flag down and not display it.

We do have an issue with the student being disciplined for displaying the flag to begin with.

Howard County School Superintendent Renee Foose said the incident was a “teachable moment.”

Of Candy Canes And Football Helmets.

Candy-Cane-Holly-ROHLast December, first grade student Isaiah Martinez took candy canes to give as gifts to his classmates at Merced Elementary in the West Covina Unified School District (CA).

Isaiah seems to have been fascinated by the “legend of the candy cane” and printed a card that he attached to each candy cane. The card read:

A candy maker wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the CHRISTmas Candy Cane to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.

He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White, to symbolize the Virgin Birth, the sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the church, and firmness of the promises of God.

The candy maker made the candy in the form of a “J” to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our savior. It also represents the staff of the “Good Shepherd” with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.

The candy maker stained it with red stripes. He used the three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Jesus on the Cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life, if only we put our faith and trust in Him.

Unfortunately, the candy became known as a Candy Cane — a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the meaning is still there for those who “have eyes to see and ears to hear”.

I pray that this symbol will again be used to witness to the Wonder of Jesus and His Great Love that came down at Christmas and remains the ultimate and dominant force in the universe today.

When Isaiah turned in his candy canes for the Christmas party, his teacher noticed the card attached to the candy canes. The teacher took possession of the candy canes and proceeded to confer with the school principal.

Advocates for Faith & Freedom,” a group who represents Isaiah and his family, describes what happened next:

On approximately December 18, 2013 [Isaiah's teacher] Ms. Lu spoke to [school principal] Mr. Pfitzer who instructed Ms. Lu that Isaiah was not permitted to distribute his Christmas gift because it contained a religious message. Ms. Lu then spoke to Isaiah and told him that “Jesus is not allowed at school.” In fear that he was in some sort of trouble, Isaiah then watched as Ms. Lu proceeded to rip the candy cane legend off of each candy cane and then throw the Christian messages back in to the box. He then watched as the box and messages were thrown into the trash by Ms. Lu. She then told Isaiah that he could distribute the candy canes now that the Christian messages were eliminated. (emphasis ours)

Isaiah’s 21 year old sister talked with her brother and then got involved.

Common Sense In Schools Takes Another Blow – And Cannot Go Bach.

Allow us to introduce you to 13 year of Avery Gagliano, a musical prodigy.

The prodigy, who just turned 13, was one of 12 musicians selected from across the globe to play at a prestigious event in Munich last year and has won competitions and headlined with orchestras nationwide.

Avery has the type of talent that many of us can only dream about. In interviews we have seen of her, she is bright, energetic, loves playing classical music on the piano and violin, and is what every parent wants their 13 year old daughter to be. For not only is Avery a musical prodigy, she is also a straight A student in her Washington, DC middle school.

Or at least she was.

Because of her talent and schedule, Avery missed ten days of school last year. Despite Avery being a straight A student and the trips were for competitions around the world, the DC School District labeled Avery a “truant” and had a truant officer contact her parents.

Although administrators at [Alice Deal Middle School] were supportive of Avery’s budding career and her new role as an ambassador for an international music foundation, the question of whether her absences violated the District’s truancy rules and law had to be kicked up to the main office. And despite requests, no one from the school system wanted to go on the record explaining its refusal to consider her performance-related absences as excused instead of unexcused.

Avery’s parents say they did everything they could to persuade the school system. They created a portfolio of her musical achievements and academic record and drafted an independent study plan for the days she’d miss while touring the world as one of the star pianists selected by a prestigious Lang Lang Music Foundation, run by Chinese pianist Lang Lang, who handpicked Avery to be an international music ambassador.

Common Core. We Dare Ya.

Commom-Core-ROHWe have somewhat stayed out of the Common Core issue here on Raised on Hoecakes. It is not that we don’t have concerns and think that the Common Core plan / system is ridiculous, but rather that there are a lot of other sites that explain the issues better than we can.

While there is much to be concerned with over Common Core, a set of videos on new teaching methods within Common Core gives a look that leaves one shaking their head in disbelief.

Television station WGRZ out of Buffalo, NY has a set of “Homework Helpers” for parents.

We dare ya to watch them.

Go ahead. Watch ‘em.

We’ll even make it easy for you and put the first one here. It’s an easy example of teaching a simple addition problem of “9 + 6 = ?”:

We may be a little old fashioned, but we can honestly say that in our entire lives we have never heard of a child being scared by the number 6, or scared by the number 9.

Brevard County Schools And Sexual Predators.

Child-in-corner-ROH(Editor’s Note: We cannot express how deeply we despise those who harm children and who are sexual predators. There are times we wish we had a supply of millstones to donate.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” – Matthew 18:6 NIV)

Last week, the Florida Today wrote that a new security system was being “rolled out” in Brevard County schools.

A new security system in Brevard Public Schools will run an automatic sexual predator check when volunteers and visitors sign in on campus.

Individuals will scan their driver’s license, and new KeepnTrack software will run a check through a sexual predator database from all 50 states.

According to the “KeepnTrack” software site, the software is written by COMPanion Corporation and will use another product – COMPanion’s CBC (Criminal Background Check) database.

The KeepnTrack software not only integrates with the CBC database, but also allows for tracking of staff (including teachers,) tracking of students, and tracking of vendors on school campuses.

(One wonders whether the new software will replace current staff and vendor tracking software or whether the school district will keep the current software for staff and vendors as well as paying for the new KeepnTrack software.)

According to the article, the cost of the KeepnTrack software and license scanners for schools is $136,000. The software will also cost the district $31,500 per year to run.

The background check will cost people $20 every three years.

The idea sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Just Right?

Coin-Stacks---ROHWe here in Brevard County, Florida are in the midst of a debate as to whether to increase the sales tax by one half of one percent with the additional money going to the education budget. That debate will be settled by the voters in November, but as children return to the classroom, we expect to hear comments from many people, particularly candidates running for County Commissioner and for seats on the School Board on the level of pay for teachers.

The debate on teachers’ pay has raged forever. Some say that teachers are grossly underpaid because of the hours they put in during the school year. Others say that the rate of pay is too high for a job where a person is working only part of the year.

Now an article on the Forbes website written by economist Jeffrey Dorfman has come out and says that the pay level is “just right.”

First, the facts about what teachers actually get paid. Teachers make much more than most people think. If one uses a less detailed data source, like the Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics data set, you would think teachers are severely underpaid. With that data, the best category you can get is for elementary and secondary schools. You would find such employees making and average of $2,913 per month during the school year, suggesting pay of perhaps under $30,000 on average, given that teachers do not get paid year-round in most cases. However, that category is all workers at elementary and secondary schools, not just teachers.

Using the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Occupational Employment Wage Estimates, we get quite a different picture. Now we can be much more detailed in the categories we study. For example, preschool, primary, secondary, and special education teachers earn an average of $54,740 per year. If we drop the preschool teachers, salaries rise even more. Elementary and middle school teachers average $56,420 per year and secondary (high school) teachers earn an average of $58,170. These figures place teachers comfortably above the national average of $46,440 reported by the BLS (link at the top of the list here).

Teachers Unions vs. Students.

Another short video from the Prager University.

There is a dilemma in American education. On the one hand, teachers are essential to student achievement. On the other, teachers unions promote self-interests of their members which are antithetical to the interests of students. So, how do we fix this problem? In five minutes, Terry Moe, Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, delineates this quandary and offers solutions.

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