SCHOOL OF SHOCKEight states are sending autistic, mentally retarded, and emotionally troubled kids to a facility that punishes them with painful electric shocks. How many times do you have to zap a child before it's torture? In this eye-opening article in Mother Jones, Jennifer Gonnerman details a year-long investigation of the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, located in Canton, Mass., 20 miles outside Boston. The facility, which calls itself a "special needs school," takes in all kinds of troubled kids -- severely autistic, mentally retarded, schizophrenic, bipolar, emotionally disturbed -- and attempts to change their behavior with a complex system of rewards and punishments, including painful electric shocks to the torso and limbs. Of the 234 current residents, about half are wired to receive shocks, including some as young as nine or ten. Nearly 60 percent come from New York, a quarter from Massachusetts, the rest from six other states and Washington, D.C. The Rotenberg Center, which has 900 employees and annual revenues exceeding $56 million, charges $220,000 a year for each student. States and school districts pick up the tab. The Rotenberg Center is the only facility in the country that disciplines students by shocking them, a form of punishment not inflicted on serial killers or child molesters or any of the 2.2 million inmates now incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons. Over its 36-year history, six children have died in its care, prompting numerous lawsuits and government investigations. Last year, New York state investigators filed a blistering report that made the place sound like a high school version of Abu Ghraib. Yet the program continues to thrive -- in large part because no one except desperate parents, and a few state legislators, seems to care about what happens to the hundreds of kids who pass through its gates.
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/09/school_of_shock.html SCHOOL DEATHS, SCHOOL SHOOTINGS, and HIGH-PROFILE INCIDENTS OF SCHOOL VIOLENCE School Crime Facts and how the weasel out of reporting them. http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Teachers/safe.html SCHOOL DISTRICTS FIND LOOPHOLES IN NCLBThe No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law on Jan. 8, 2002, is widely viewed as the most sweeping federal education bill in more than 40 years. "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" education special correspondent John Merrow looked into how some teachers and school districts are handling the federal education law and states' execution of it in a three-part series: Part I: School Districts Find Loopholes in No Child Left Behind. Part II: Failing San Diego Schools Work to Meet Standards. Part III: Teachers Grapple with Attaining Education Law's Goals. In Part I, Merrow examines how some schools are dealing with, and trying to avoid, requirements of the law. No Child Left Behind demands that states raise test scores or their schools could face firings and eventually be shut down. But as Merrow details, states have discovered creative ways to win, to make their schools seem better than they actually are. Some examples of the accountability shell game played by some states include lowering standards, and not including the test scores of some minority students by manipulating the size of subgroups. As No Child Left Behind ratchets up the pressure on schools, states may have more incentive to look for shortcuts.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/july-dec07/nclb_08-14.html EDUCATION & INDOCTRINATION: THERE IS A DIFFERENCEIn Brooklyn, N.Y., a new school opened amidst controversy: The Khalil Gibran International Academy. This first-of-its-kind bilingual public school will conduct studies in both Arabic and English. Standard curricula includes all the "Rs" plus sciences, physical education, the arts and more. Concomitant with language study comes Arab culture study: the Alhambra (Granada, Spain), the House of Wisdom (Baghdad's great library and learning center destroyed by the Mongols in 1258), the development of algebra, astronomy, and medical sciences. In Hollywood, Fla., the Ben Gamla Charter School is now open. There, Hebrew language and Jewish culture will be emphasized: for example, the teachings of Maimonides, the great 12th century philosopher who flourished in Cairo as chief rabbi and physician to the sultan and author of "The Guide to the Perplexed." Some observers are not in favor of these lessons being taught to public or charter school students. There is a place for the study of religion in our public schools, writes Anisa Mehdi for The American Muslim. Education is not the same as indoctrination. When we study art history, we see works from churches and mosques. When we study music history, we hear great masses and requiems. When we study literature, we need to know Bible and Qur'anic stories as well as other mythologies in order to understand themes and references. The study of religion is essential for a well-rounded and well-grounded civilization, says Mehdi.
http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/fears_of_arab_school_in_new_york_unjustified/0014571 COPING WITH CYBERBULLYINGOne of the best ways to prevent cyberbullying is to empower the bystanders. Teens really do have the ability to make a difference.
http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Teachers/cyberbully.html SCHOOL UNIFORM AND THE DRESS CODE http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Teachers/dresscode.html ARE YOUR JEANS SAGGING? GO DIRECTLY TO JAILJamarcus Marshall, a 17-year-old high school sophomore in Mansfield, La., believes that no one should be able to tell him how low to wear his jeans. "It's up to the person who's wearing the pants," he said. Mr. Marshall's sagging pants, a style popularized in the early 1990s by hip-hop artists, are becoming a criminal offense in a growing number of communities, including his own. Starting in Louisiana, an intensifying push by lawmakers has determined pants worn low enough to expose underwear poses a threat to the public, and they have enacted indecency ordinances to stop it. Since June 11, sagging pants have been against the law in Delcambre, La., a town of 2,231 that is 80 miles southwest of Baton Rouge. The style carries a fine of as much as $500 or up to a six-month sentence, reports Niko Koppel for The New York Times. "We used to wear long hair, but I don't think our trends were ever as bad as sagging," said Mayor Carol Broussard. An ordinance in Mansfield, a town of 5,496 near Shreveport, subjects offenders to a fine (as much as $150 plus court costs) or jail time (up to 15 days). Police Chief Don English said the law, which takes effect Sept. 15, will set a good civic image. Behind the indecency laws may be the real issue -- the hip-hop style itself, which critics say is worn as a badge of delinquency, with its distinctive walk conveying thuggish swagger and a disrespect for authority. Also at work is the larger issue of freedom of expression and the questions raised when fashion moves from being merely objectionable to illegal. Sagging began in prison, where oversized uniforms were issued without belts to prevent suicide and their use as weapons. The style spread through rappers and music videos, from the ghetto to the suburbs and around the world. Following a pattern of past fashion bans, the sagging prohibitions are seen by some as racially motivated because the wearers are young, predominantly African-American men. Yet, this legislation has been proposed largely by African-American officials.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/30/fashion/30baggy.html FOR-PROFIT EDUCATION COMPANIES TAKE PUBLIC MONEY, PROVIDE LITTLE INFORMATION"Profiles of For-Profit Education Management Organizations: 2006-2007" released by the Arizona State University Commercialism in Education and Education Policy Research Units finds that, despite repeated requests, several large publicly funded Education Management Organizations (EMOs) failed to provide information about their schools or finances when queried by researchers. The data collected in the report suggest that the number of charter schools overall has increased and the number of EMO-run charter schools has stabilized or declined slightly. The number of students enrolled in charter schools has shown a slight decrease. Large-size Education Management Organizations appear to have increased the percentage of charter school students educated in their schools. EMO enrollments are heavily concentrated in the primary grades and EMO-run charter primary schools are likely to be larger than the national average enrollment for charter primary schools. The report finds that: (1) A significant number of students attending charter schools (about 25 percent) are enrolled in schools run by EMOs; (2) Large-size EMOs dominate the for-profit education management industry; (3) EMOs focus on charter primary schools; and (4) A significant percentage (about 89 percent) of students enrolled in EMO-run charter primary schools will be in a school larger than the national average. Professor Alex Molnar, a co-author of the report, suggests that policy makers take a close look at the business models as well as the education models of EMOs: "For-profit firms are cashing checks worth a lot of taxpayer dollars. They do so while withholding as much information as possible from the public. This does not seem like a situation likely to benefit taxpayers and school children either financially or educationally."
http://epsl.asu.edu/ceru/CERU_2007_emo.htm GRANTS http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Teachers/grants.html "Breakthroughs in Inclusive Education"The TASH Breakthroughs in Inclusive Education Awards program honors important contributions of individuals and school districts in advancing inclusive education and equitable opportunities for students in grades K-12, particularly those with the most significant disabilities and support needs. Awardees will be selected from these categories: Inclusive Education Administrator of the Year; Inclusive Education Teacher of the Year; Inclusive Education Advocate of the Year; Most Promising Inclusive School; and, Most Promising Inclusive School District. Maximum Award: recognition; a library of books about inclusive best practices from Brookes Publishing. Eligibility: school districts and education professionals that work inclusively with students K-12 with disabilities. Deadline: September 20, 2007.
http://www.tash.org/2007tash/Awards.htm "Awards Recognize School District Best Practices"American School Board Journal (ASBJ) is accepting nominations online for the 2008 Magna Awards through October 1, 2007. Presented in cooperation with Sodexho School Services, winners of the Magna Awards receive national recognition in a special supplement to ASBJ and are honored at a luncheon at the National School Boards Association's annual conference. Awards are handed out in three enrollment categories -- under 5,000, 5,001 to 20,000, and more than 20,000. Grand prize winners in each category receive a $3,500 cash award from Sodexho. Nominations this year are being accepted only on an online basis. For more information, call (703) 838-6739.
http://www.asbj.com/magna/ "Youth Service America Harris Wofford Awards"Youth Service America Harris Wofford awards annually honor exceptional individuals, institutions, and media figures who actively contribute to this nation's spirit of service. Eligibility: Youth (ages 5-25), Organization (nonprofit, corporate, foundation), and Media (organization or individual). Maximum Award: $500 individual award and a $500 award for the nonprofit organization of his/her choice. Deadline: October 19, 2007.
http://servenet.org/DesktopModules/iBN%20News%20Articles/Download.aspx?AttachmentID=44 "U.S. News & World Report and AXA Foundation AXA Achievement Scholarships"U.S. News & World Report and AXA Foundation AXA Achievement Scholarships, provide resources that help make college possible for qualified students. Maximum Award: $15,000; a laptop computer; the offer of an AXA Financial Services internship. Eligibility: high school students from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico who will graduate in 2008. Deadline: December 15, 2007.
http://www.axaonline.com/rs/axa/about-us/33a_National_Initiatives.html "Awards Recognize School District Best Practices"American School Board Journal (ASBJ) is accepting nominations online for the 2008 Magna Awards through October 1, 2007. Presented in cooperation with Sodexho School Services, winners of the Magna Awards receive national recognition in a special supplement to ASBJ and are honored at a luncheon at the National School Boards Association's annual conference. Awards are handed out in three enrollment categories -- under 5,000, 5,001 to 20,000, and more than 20,000. Grand prize winners in each category receive a $3,500 cash award from Sodexho. Nominations this year are being accepted only online. For more information, call (703) 838-6739.
http://www.asbj.com/magna/ "Prudential Spirit of Community AwardsThe Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honor young people in grades 5 through 12 who have demonstrated exemplary voluntary service to their communities. Maximum Award: $5,000. Eligibility: Students grades 5-12 who have conducted a volunteer service activity within the past year. Deadline: October 31, 2007.
http://www.prudential.com/spirit "International Reading Association Regie Routman Teacher Recognition"The International Reading Association Regie Routman Teacher Recognition Award honors an outstanding elementary teacher of reading and language arts dedicated to improving teaching and learning through reflective writing about his or her teaching and learning process. Maximum Award: $1,000. Eligibility: regular classroom elementary teachers of reading and language arts grades K-6; must be IRA members. Deadline: November 1, 2007.
http://www.reading.org/association/awards/teachers_routman.html "National Schools of Character Awards Program"The 2008 National Schools of Character Awards Program names public and private schools and districts (K-12) as National Schools of Character (NSOC) for their outstanding work in character education. The program honors recipients, showcases their work, and helps them to inspire and lead others. Maximum Award: $20,000. Eligibility: schools engaged in character education for a minimum of three full years, starting no later than December 2004, and having a minimum of 175 students; districts engaged in character education for a minimum of four full years, starting no later than December 2003. Deadline: December 3, 2007.
http://www.character.org/site/c.gwKUJhNYJrF/b.2766927/k.58C8/National_Schools_of_Character_Awards.htm "Grants to Support Job Skills & Education"The Staples Foundation for Learning provides funding to programs that support or provide job skills and/or education for all people, with an emphasis on disadvantaged youth. Maximum Award: $25,000. Eligibility: 501(c)3 organizations. Deadline: December 7, 2007.
http://www.staplesfoundation.org/foundapplication.html "Grants Target Improving Family Literacy"The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy's grant-making program seeks to develop or expand projects designed to support the development of literacy skills for adult primary care givers and their children. Maximum Award: $65,000. Eligibility: organizations that have operated an instructional literacy program in existence for at least two years that includes literacy for adults, parent education, pre-literacy or literacy instruction for children pre-K to grade 3, or intergenerational literacy activities (Parent and Child Together time or P.A.C.T. time). Deadline: September 7, 2007.
http://www.barbarabushfoundation.com/pdf/08GrantApplicationGuidelines.doc "Awards Recognize School District Best Practices"American School Board Journal (ASBJ) is accepting nominations online for the 2008 Magna Awards through October 1, 2007. Presented in cooperation with Sodexho School Services, winners of the Magna Awards receive national recognition in a special supplement to ASBJ and are honored at a luncheon at the National School Boards Association's annual conference. Awards are made in three enrollment categories -- fewer than 5,000, 5,001 to 20,000, and more than 20,000. Grand prize winners in each category receive a $3,500 cash award from Sodexho. Nominations this year are being accepted only online. For more information, call (703) 838-6739.
http://www.asbj.com/magna/ "Awards Recognize Outstanding Contributions to Science Education"The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Distinguished Fellow Award recognizes extraordinary contributions to science education through personal commitment to science teaching or science and through significant contributions to the profession that reflect dedication to NSTA as well as the entire educational community. Maximum Award: Recognition. Eligibility: NSTA members of at least 10 years. Deadline: October 15, 2007.
http://www3.nsta.org/fellow "Middle Level and High School Science Teaching Awards"Ciba Specialty Chemicals Exemplary Middle Level and High School Science Teaching Awards recognize teachers who have demonstrated exemplary science teaching in one or more of the following areas: creativity using science teaching materials; design and use of innovative teaching plans and ideas; and development and implementation of department, school, or school-community programs that improve science instruction and/or stimulate interest in science and the learning of science. Maximum Award: $2,000. Eligibility: full-time classroom teachers. Deadline: October 15, 2007.
http://www3.nsta.org/cibateacher "The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards"The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honor young people in grades 5 through 12 who have demonstrated exemplary voluntary service to their communities. Maximum Award: $5,000. Eligibility: Students in grades 5-12 who have conducted a volunteer service activity within the past year. Deadline: October 31, 2007.