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Let’s Have A Skit On Ferguson!

Death-In-Ferguson-ROHAn unnamed sixth grade teacher in Selma, Alabama’s Brantley Elementary School got the bright idea that as a part of the class’ discussion on current events, they would talk about the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Jessica Baughn, mother of an 11 year old in the class, posted the story on Facebook after her son seemed upset when he came home that day.

[Jimmy] Griffin, a sixth-grader at Brantley Elementary School in Selma, told his mother the teacher asked his class to research and re-enact the shooting that took place in Ferguson, Mo. earlier this month, as well as the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida nearly two years ago.

……

Baughn posted what happened on the Sound Off Selma Facebook group, which has brought media attention to the situation. It received nearly 200 “shares” and more than 240 “likes.”

The post said white students were asked to play the roles of police officers, and black played the roles of Martin and Brown. They also had to research where

the men were shot, and how many times, Baughn said in the post.

Baughn’s son also told her that the teacher, who is black, told students that black children can’t walk in their own neighborhoods without being shot by white people.

We cannot imagine why any teacher would think that with the situation so fluid and so many facts unknown in the death of Michael Brown that re-inacting the event would be a good idea. After all, we don’t know precisely what happened in the shooting to begin with.

On top of that, to make a statement that “black children can’t walk in their own neighborhoods without being shot by white people” sets the class up for a divide along racial lines. What kind of message is this teacher trying to send to their students? That some kids in the class have to worry about being shot by the others?

What a great message that is.

The idiocy doesn’t stop there.
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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?
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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).
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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.




Required Parenting Classes?

Vader-Parenting-Skills-ROH

Our friend Walter Olson at Overlawyed.com notes a bill proposed by Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-South Bronx) in New York. New York Senate Bill S-142 would require parents to attend a minimum of four days of “parent instructional programs” during the child’s elementary school education years in order for the child to be allowed to graduate or progress to seventh grade.

The state would be required to develop twelve workshops of which at least one would “relate to the subject of physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children.”

In addition, the bill would require employers to allow one paid day of leave per year for the parent to attend the classes.

Huh?
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You Have To Be This Educated To Be This Stupid. Again.

Photo courtesy Advocates for Faith & Freedom

Photo courtesy Advocates for Faith & Freedom

Brynn Williams is a first grade student at the Helen Hunt-Jackson Elementary School in the Temecula Valley Unified School District in Riverside County. California. On December 19, 2013, Williams’s class was asked by their teacher to make presentations to the class as to family traditions their families have surrounding the holidays.

In response to the assignment, student Brynn Williams took the “Star of Bethlehem” ornament from the top of her family’s Christmas tree “to represent her family’s tradition of remembering why Christmas is celebrated,” and worked diligently on a one-minute presentation in order to explain to the class that her family’s tradition is to remember the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas time, attorneys said.

The following day, attorneys say Brynn began her presentation with the following statement: “Our Christmas tradition is to put a star on top of our tree. The star is named the Star of Bethlehem. The 3 kings followed the star to find baby Jesus, the Savior of the world. John…”

According to attorneys, at that point during the presentation, Brynn’s teacher said, “Stop right there! Go take your seat!” and Brynn was not allowed to finish her presentation, which included reciting a Bible verse from the Gospel of John, John 3:16.

Robert Tyler, the general counsel for Advocates for Faith & Freedom, is representing the Williams’ family.

Tyler said the little girl was the only student in the class not allowed to finish her presentation.

“After Brynn took her seat, the teacher explained to Brynn in front of all the other students that she was not allowed to talk about the Bible or share its verses,” Tyler said.

Williams’s mother found out about the incident after school the same day when her daughter was upset and had to be convinced she had done nothing wrong.

The next day, Gina Williams met with the principal to discuss the incident.
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New Jersey Takes An Interesting Educational Path.

New-Jersey-Bookshelf-ROHIf you live in the City of Camden, New Jersey and have children, the news on the education front is rather depressing.

The new school superintendent in Camden, N.J., says it was a “kick-in-the-stomach moment” when he learned that only three district high school students who took the SAT this year scored as college-ready.

Paymon Rouhanifard on Tuesday told the school board and the community what he learned on a “listening tour” after he was named to the post in August.

He told the city’s Board of Education that low college readiness shows the district must do better.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the superintendent also says he also heard about safety problems in the district. He says one action he’s taking immediately is waiving the $75 background check fee for parents who want to volunteer in the schools.

We do not believe that everyone should go to college as there are some people who are better suited for blue collar jobs which do not require a college degree. But it is difficult for us to imagine the complete, total failure and cratering of an educational system that cannot turn out more than three college ready kids in a school year.

According to the Camden City School District, there are 15,000 kids in the school system, which very roughly equates to about 1,000 kids per grade level. Three college ready kids is 0.3%.

Clearly this is a long term problem and we like the idea of waiving the dubious “background check” fee for volunteers. In fact, we would go a little further and say that people on public assistance should help in schools as a condition of receiving assistance. That help could be in the form of a teacher’s aide, maintenance, food preparation, lunch room monitoring (freeing up teachers to plan lessons, grade tests, etc.), working in a day care center for both them and teens with children, and a host of other things that could be accomplished.

Instead, we suspect that there will be a new call for more money into the system because teacher unions often believe that money solves everything.

In the meantime, even if one were to call for more money, the State of New Jersey has just passed its version of the “Dream Act,” which allows illegal immigrants living in the state for three years to receive in state tuition rates at New Jersey public colleges.
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Teachers, Leave Those Schools Alone!

A teacher’s union in Louisiana, the “Louisiana Association of Educators” has taken to threatening legal action against schools that accept educational vouchers from the state.

Schools that are accepting vouchers received a letter (seen below) from attorney Brian Blackwell of Blackwell and Associates in Baton Rouge.

The letter asserts that voucher program, known as the “Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence” is “blatantly unconstitutional” which is an odd claim to make as just two weeks ago, Judge Tim Kelley denied an injunction sough by Blackwell and Associates on behalf of the teacher’s union to stop the program. Blackwell and the union are appealing and the case is headed to the 19th Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The teachers union lost the fight to prevent a voucher system in Louisiana so now they have taken to the courts to prevent what the parents, students and citizenry of Louisiana want – a good education for the children of the state. How bad is the education system in Louisiana?

The American Legislative Exchange Council ranks Louisiana 49th out of 51 states and the District of Columbia when it comes to performance of schools. The US Department of Education ranks Louisiana in the bottom 10 states in the union when it comes to education. All this is in spite of of Louisiana having more teachers per capita than the national average, as well as having an average class size of 14.2 students compared to the national average of 15.6 students per classroom according to the NEA.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the state of education in Louisiana is deplorable and instead of being held accountable for their failures, the union is seeking to blame those who wish to have a quality education for their children.

Instead of fixing the issue of quality education, the union went out and hired Blackwell and Associates who sent the letter to schools enrolled in the voucher program basically threatening them with legal action (based on what theory he never explains) but Blackwell is “kind” enough to include a form letter the school can send to the John White, the Superintendent of the School System opting out of the voucher program. As long as the school sends White the letter and sends a copy to Blackwell, the union won’t include the school in any sort of legal action.

Isn’t that nice of Blackwell? /sarcasm off

Many people are shocked by this action taken by Blackwell and Associates and the teacher’s union.
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