May 19, 2013
We have problems wrapping our heads around situations like this. We’ll let CBS station WNEW out of Washington DC explain what happened:
SUFFOLK, Va. — Two Suffolk second graders have been suspended for making shooting noises while pointing pencils at each other.
Media outlets report the 7-year-old boys were suspended for two days for a violation of the Suffolk school system’s zero-tolerance policy on weapons. They were playing with one another in class Friday at Driver Elementary.
One of the boys told his father they were playing a game where one of them was a Marine and the other was a bad guy.
But Suffolk Public Schools spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw said a pencil is considered a weapon when it’s pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made.
If the kids are playing and they both know they are playing, how is the pointing of a pencil in a “threatening way” possible? (We would even argue that it is impossible to point a pencil in a threatening manner, but that is a post for another day.)
How can these people defend these brain dead policies?
Bradshaw continued to display her lack of critical thinking:
Feb 16, 2013
See a need – fill a need.
That is what the parents and staff at the Stratford Landing Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia thought when they looked at the playground upon which their kids were having recess.
The school’s PTA, along with the staff of the school, decided to upgrade the playground equipment for the 870 kids that attend the school. A massive fund raising effort of bake sales, raffles, and door to door sales resulted in $35,000 which would purchase a monstrous, climbing apparatus which seems to be the dream of every kid that has ever stepped on a playground.
All along the way, the PTA and staff consulted with the Facilities Department of the Fairfax School Board. The parents got approved vendors for equipment, submitted proposals, contractors, prices and most importantly, the money to pay for the whole thing.
The Facilities Department agreed and in the fall of last year:
With input from students, the PTA bought a climbing obstacle developed by Landscape Structures, a Minnesota-based playground equipment manufacturer. The group chose the popular Evos system, with arching spans of tubes that more closely resemble a modernist sculpture than the wooden platform playground equipment of yore.
The PTA then hired Isaac Sparks, a construction manager for Sparks @ Play, a playgrounds specialist based in Owings Mills, Md., to install the structure. By early November, the students were romping all over it.
If things had ended there, we wouldn’t be writing about this other than to note how parents and citizens made a difference. We look at the structure and think it is awesome.
However, things didn’t end there.
Oct 12, 2011
When President Obama signed the “Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010” last December, one of the provisions was schools have water available for children in cafeterias.
Now you might think the idea of water for kids is a no-brainer.
You would be wrong.
Many schools do not have water fountains in their cafeterias. This can be for a variety of reasons. First, up until now, no one ever thought that kids would choose water over milk or juices. Secondly, the cafeteria of many schools is actually a multi-purpose area, which is used for from food, dances, meetings, etc.
Most schools put water fountains outside bathrooms, which are frequently not in cafeterias, but outside in adjacent hallways.
Schools have to install water fountains in the cafeteria.
Not surprisingly there are schools which are struggling to meet financial obligations as it is and are balking at another unfunded mandate.
The solution isn’t as simple as pointing kids toward the nearest water fountain. Just ask Brian Giles, food services senior administrator at the Houston Independent School District, the nation’s seventh-largest district, with more than 202,000 students and almost 300 campuses:
“The majority of our schools do not have drinking fountains or ready access to water in the lunchroom,” he said.
To comply, he’s spent $60,000 to buy 3.5-gallon water coolers for each school cafeteria. In the lunch line, students can choose milk or juice, or a cup for water.
“Every kid needs access to water,” he said. “It would have been nice if the feds allocated some money for it.”
Think about this for a moment. Milk comes in a closed container. Juice comes in a closed container. Does anyone but us think an open cup of water is going to lead to more problems?
Two words: FOOD FIGHT!
Perhaps schools can go a different route:
Oct 5, 2011
Another in our series of quick comments on stories in and around the world.
UPDATED TO REFLECT NEW INFORMATION ON THE AFT / DOJ “FAST AND FURIOUS” CASE.
ABC News reports the government has paid benefits people that are deceased. The amount is staggering.
The federal government has doled out more than $600 million in benefit payments to dead people over the past five years, a watchdog report says.
Such payments are meant for retired or disabled federal workers, but sometimes the checks keep going out even after the former employees pass away and the deaths are not reported, according to the report this week from the Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general, Patrick McFarland.
It is important to note that this is not a failure of the Obama administration. It is not a failure of the Bush administration. This is a failure of the Federal government – the same group of folks that says it need more and more tax dollars in order to keep paying benefits to (dead) people.
This type of failure of the system is not isolated and is an on-going and continuing issue:
Last year, government investigators found that more than 89,000 stimulus payments of $250 each from the massive economic recovery package went to people who were either dead or in prison.
While the amount is small in the total of the budget, (both in percentage and dollar amount) this is the type of waste conservatives look at and say “there is no need to raise more taxes when we should be working on eliminating the waste first.
There is no way to sugar coat the next story. Attorney General Eric Holder lied to Congress.
New documents obtained by CBS News show Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial Fast and Furious operation as far back as July 2010. That directly contradicts his statement to Congress.
On May 3, 2011, Holder told a Judiciary Committee hearing, “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”
Yet internal Justice Department documents show that at least ten months before that hearing, Holder began receiving frequent memos discussing Fast and Furious.
The referenced memos are below:
Sep 23, 2011
It is one fear of many parents today – the innocence of their children being taken away by an sexual predator adult or an abduction by an adult.
To combat this, governments and groups – everything from states to Little League – have passed laws and rules requiring that people who come in contact with children have background checks performed on them.
The theory is performing a background check will eliminate child predators. Yet as with most things, theory is one thing, practice is another.
In the Sunshine State of Florida, if you step onto a school campus in any other capacity other than a parent and have contact with children, you must have a background check done on your life. If you are a teacher, you must have a background check. If you are a maintenance worker, you must have a background check. Here in our county, if you are a contractor, your employees must have background checks. If you are a volunteer mother or father working on a bake sale, you must have a background check. If you volunteer for a school field trip, you must have a background check. If you go to talk to your child’s teacher, you don’t need a background check. But if you volunteer to help as a teacher’s aid, you need a background check.
The fees for the background checks themselves range anywhere from $70 – $115, depending on a variety of factors. Some schools and programs will help pay for the cost of the background check. Others require the would-be volunteer to foot the entire cost. If you are a teacher, the school system pays for your background check.
That, of course, leads to the strange situation where a person who is looking to donate their time and efforts have to pay for the privilege, while a person who will be making money from working at the school has their background fees paid by the government.
Aside from the costs of the background checks, one has to question their effectiveness.
There are literally hundreds of sites dedicated to teachers as sexual predators.
The site “School Teacher News” has lists and interactive maps describing and showing the locations of the 411 scandals involving teachers in 2010, the 464 scandals in 2009, the 478 scandals in 2008 and the 263 scandals to date in 2011.
Aug 22, 2011
It’s been awhile since we did a “Quick Hits” post, and today is just as good as any.
Remember that “new civility” that Obama keeps pushing for everyone but Democrats to follow? Well, Maxine Waters got the message and decided to take the idea of “civil discourse” to a new level:
“I’m not afraid of anybody,” said Waters. “This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned, the ‘tea party’ can go straight to hell.”
Sorry Maxine, we visited hell and didn’t like the way you were running the place.
At the time of her remarks, Waters was taking part in a meeting with constituents on unemployment in California.
The event occurred a day after new statistics were released showing that California’s jobless rate last month went up to 12%, from 11.8%. California now has the second-highest rate of unemployment in the nation, trailing only Nevada at 12.9%, and its jobless rate is well above the U.S. average of 9.1%.
According to the Employment Development Department, California employers added just 4,500 new jobs last month, a steep drop from the revised 30,400 jobs added in June.
You would think that after all these years that Waters would realize the basics of job creation.
Congress is not the solution.
Congress is the problem.
Good news for parents and educators in Santa Monica and Malibu!
The school board of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has solved all their educational issues and are going to vote this week on whether to ban chocolate milk from schools.
This follows the Los Angeles Unified School District’s ban on chocolate flavored drinks which accomplished nothing other than banning drinks kids liked.
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is scheduled to vote this week on whether students need sugar to make healthy choices. Of course, the vote won’t be structured that way, but sugar is what’s at stake. The school board will vote on whether the district should eliminate sugared milk from its lunchtime offerings.
We “teach” kids to make “healthy choices” by eliminating any choice that someone feels is not healthy! That way, as kids grow up, they will know that any choice they make is government approved and good for them.
That is the role of government, right? To make choices for us?
Aug 2, 2011
Once in awhile, we like to go back and “follow up” on certain posts we have made in the past to see how issues are being resolved, where they are now, and what is happening. In this day and age of 24 hour a day news spoon fed to us in seven minute segments, we often forget what has been said before.
For example, we had mentioned that despite increased costs to all and religious reservations of some, the Institute of Medicine had made recommendations to the Obama administration that health insurers should be required to carry birth control for women without co-payments. Today, President Obama announced that starting in 2013, insurers will have to do just that.
Health insurance plans must cover birth control as preventive care for women, with no copays, the Obama administration said Monday in a decision with far-reaching implications for health care as well as social mores.
The requirement is part of a broad expansion of coverage for women’s preventive care under President Barack Obama’s health care law. Also to be covered without copays are breast pumps for nursing mothers, an annual “well-woman” physical, screening for the virus that causes cervical cancer and for diabetes during pregnancy, counseling on domestic violence, and other services.
Once again, the Obama administration is forcing something on companies and trying to control the market. If a company or individual does not want to pay for contraceptives, why should they be forced to do so? And yes, we said “individual.”
Jul 7, 2011
We have argued recently on the dangers of allowing the state to make decisions for parents. Whether the parent agrees or disagrees with the actual decision is not the issue. The issue is the state stepping in and taking parental rights absent of any “harm,” (physical, psychological or emotional) to the child of that parent. The fact that we have allowed the state to do leads to the inescapable position that if the state can restrict what you do with your child that is not harmful, then the state will say that it is allowed to do what it wants in regards to the child – even if the parents argue that “harm” is being done to the child or the parent / child relationship.
This idea is manifested in a new California law:
California lawmakers pass bill to teach gay history
SACRAMENTO, Calif (Reuters) – A bill to require California public schools to teach the historical accomplishments of gay men and lesbians passed the state Legislature on Tuesday in what supporters call a first for the nation.
Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has not said publicly whether he supports the bill, which he has 12 days to sign or veto once it reaches his desk later this month. If he takes no action, the measure would become law automatically.
California already requires public schools to teach the contributions made to society by women and by racial and ethnic groups that were historically discriminated against, such as blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.