Do teachers really know what students go through? To find out, one teacher followed two students for two days and was amazed at what she found. Her report is in following post, which appeared on the blog of Grant Wiggins, the co-author of “Understanding by Design” and the author of “Educative Assessment” and numerous articles on education. A high school teacher for 14 years, he is now the president of Authentic Education, in Hopewell, New Jersey, which provides professional development and other services to schools aimed at improving student learning. You can read more about him and his work at the AE site. Continue reading »
DYKER HEIGHTS — Three days a week, Madeline Scotto walks across the street from her home to St. Ephrem’s elementary school, where she was part of the first graduating class.
She climbs the stairs to her classroom, where she works to prepare students for the math bee. She pores over photocopied worksheets with complicated problems, coaching kids on how to stay calm on stage while multiplying and dividing in their head.
She’s just like any other teacher at the school — except for one thing: She’s 100 years old. Continue reading »
We’ve put all our hopes, dreams and chips on Plan A, as if security flows from institutional promises rather than from being adaptable, resilient and able to create value in a variety of circumstances.
Setting aside monsters under the bed, the Ebola virus and fanatical terrorists bent on our destruction–what are we so afraid of? It must be something, because fear is the ever-present backdrop in America.
If you don’t get a college degree, it’s widely assumed that you’re doomed to a life of involuntary poverty of part-time toil in a coffee bar or big-box retailer–if you’re lucky enough to find a job at all.Continue reading »
Are people dumber than they used to be? Were previous generations mentally sharper than us? You may have suspected that people are getting stupider for quite some time, but now we actually have scientific evidence that this is the case. As you will read about below, average IQs are dropping all over the globe, SAT scores in the U.S. have been declining for decades, and scientists have even discovered that our brains have been getting smaller over time. So if it seems on some days like you woke up in the middle of the movie “Idiocracy”, you might not be too far off. Much of the stuff that they put in our junk food is not good for brain development, our education system is a total joke and most Americans are absolutely addicted to mindless entertainment. Fortunately we have a lot of technology that does much of our thinking for us these days, because if we had to depend on our own mental capabilities most of us would be in a tremendous amount of trouble. Continue reading »
Half of Britain’s 150 universities must close down if the system is to remain viable, according to a senior academic.
Sir Roderick Floud has proposed a plan for mass redundancies and closures to be adopted by the government in which he criticised the “messy, muddled non-system of higher education” as “inefficient” and in need of root-and-branch reform. Floud is the former head of Universities UK, an advocate for universities, and has run several universities. Continue reading »
Our condolences to students in Arizona, who have seen a near doubling of their college tuition in just 5 short years.
In fact our condolences to students in the six states where tuition have risen by more than 60%, in the ten states where it has increased by more than 40%, and in the 29, or more than half of all states, where college tuitions have risen by more than 10 times the Fed’s inflation target of 2% per year.
If you look around America today, mathematical mental illness is found everywhere. It’s found in the federal budget, where numbers only mean what we are told they mean, not what they really mean. Mental illness is also found in medicine, where mentally ill victims of mercury in vaccines viciously attack parents who seek to protect their children from those very same vaccines. It’s also found in the new “Common Core” curriculum, spearheaded by the federal government, which seems intentionally designed to make children mentally ill and as confused as possible.
Case in point: See this homework assignment from an elementary school in New York. The “mathematics” exercise instructs children to “Draw the cubes you colored in the number bond” and then “Show the hidden partners on your fingers to an adult.”
The final instruction asks students to “Color the fingers you showed.”
Just in case you had any lingering doubt about the uselessness of many U.S. public schools, I bring to you Marinette Middle School. Yes, the administrators of this school thought it would be a fantastic idea to gather sixth graders around and ask them in front of all their classmates questions like; if their parents are alcoholics, use drugs or are divorced.
While I understand the need for parents to pay for their children’s lunches, what do you think the appropriate response should be by adults running an elementary school upon realizing that some young children with unpaid balances had already been served a full hot meal?
Personally, I would assume that any reasonable human being would allow the children to eat the lunches while at the same time calling up their parents to sort out the problem. However, that’s not the action deemed appropriate by the “child-nutrition manager” that visited Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City this past Tuesday. Nope, this person decided that the best course of action was to seize already served lunches and throw them in the trash in front of the victim’s classmates. Mind you, this person is called a “child-nutrition manager.” So someone in charge of “child nutrition” thinks he or she is doing their job by ensuring malnourishment due to unpaid balances.
Up to 40 kids at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City picked up their lunches Tuesday, then watched as the meals were taken and thrown away because of outstanding balances on their accounts — a move that shocked and angered parents.
A quarter and a nickel. Three dimes. Six nickels. Thirty pennies. All equal 30 cents. This is the pocket change that a school punished a six grade boy for not having by taking away his breakfast and trashing it. Sound heartless? That’s because it is.
A 12-year-old boy was forced to sit in embarrassment at the breakfast table at Barber Middle School in Dickinson ISD when cafeteria workers took his food away and threw it in the garbage. Why? Because the boy’s account was short a measly 30 cents. As a result, the hungry child didn’t get to start the day with a meal in his belly.
Instead of allowing the child to finish his meal, school officials tossed it and made him call his mother to have her bring money to the school. But even after calling his mom, the school refused to let him eat until they got their money. Basically, this was a shake down. The boy’s mom, Jennifer Castilleja, described what happened and expressed disappointment that the school didn’t deal with the situation differently.
“My son called me and asked me if I could bring him some money because they took his breakfast from him and he needed money for breakfast,” Castilleja told KTRK.
“I said, ‘Well, I’m on my way, I’ll pay for it. And she said no, I would have to bring some money before he could have breakfast. There were kids all around him. I think he may have been a little embarrassed and upset and, of course, hungry. Telling the child, we are going to feed you, but go to the office and call your parent and let them know that you need money. Anything than sending them to class hungry.”
Schools deny meals to kids too often in this country.
Almost exactly one year ago we wrote “The Next Subprime Crisis Is Here: Over $120 Billion In Federal Student Loans In Default” in which we took the latest (2009 three year cohort) loan default data on Federal Student Loans released by the Department of Education and applied it to the total amount of student loans outstanding, which back then was $914 billion. Yesterday, ED.gov provided its annual update - this time to the 2010 three year and 2011 two year cohorts – and to nobody’s major surprise, learned that things just got even worse. To wit: “The national two-year cohort default rate rose from 9.1 percent for FY 2010 to 10 percent for FY 2011. The three-year cohort default rate rose from 13.4 percent for FY 2009 to 14.7 percent for FY 2010.” Putting this in context, according to Bloombergdefaults have risen to the highest level since 1995. The irony that this is happening in the aftermath of Bernanke’s disastrous ZIRP policy is not lost on anyone.
Quantifying this percentage, recall the NY Fed reported in its second quarter household credit update that the amount of total outstanding student loans has now risen to $994 billion, or $80 billion more in just one year:
… one can calculate that the current amount of non-performing loans originated in 2010 is now a whopping $146 billion (the full total amount of student loans owed is $1.2 trillion when including private loans from the likes of Sallie Mae – this sum surpasses all other kinds of consumer borrowing expect for mortgages). Unfortunately, as the economic situation has only deteriorated since then especially for student-age Americans, the real blended amount of student loans in default is almost certainly substantially higher as of this moment.
Faber begins by noting that “a deflationary bust, whenever it may happen (tomorrow or 10 years), is inevitable; and is the opposite of an increase in prices from inflation.” Of course, it is the central banks’ response to even the fears of that bust (e.g. whether it washes around the world – from EM to DM) that will turn an asset-deflationary bust into a hyperinflationary collapse in fiat currencies; and focused on the long-term, ‘Gloom, Boom, & Doom Report’s’ Marc Faber looks at how to preserve wealth through this as he ranges from the obsolescence risk of equities to the political risk of real estate and banking risks of cash and deposits. Faber reflects on various lessons from the past (hyperinflations, wars, banking crises) and geographies as he moves from asset class to asset class highlighting the pros and cons of each. Preferring a mix of gold and diversified real estate (and not government bonds), Faber warns investors to be highly skeptical of anyone who believes they can forecast what is going to happen over the next 5-10 years.
Starting at around 3:35, Faber begins to focus on wealth preservation… (the preceding discussion of higher education’s failings are also worth the time).
HSLDA Founder and Chairman Mike Farris meets with the Wunderlich family during the Global Home Education Conference held in Berlin, Germany in October 2012. Farris is asking homeschoolers to contact German officials on behalf of the Wunderlichs.
At 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 29, 2013, in what has been called a “brutal and vicious act,” a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, forcibly removing all four of the family’s children (ages 7-14). The sole grounds for removal were that the parents, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.
The children were taken to unknown locations. Officials ominously promised the parents that they would not be seeing their children “anytime soon.”
HSLDA obtained and translated the court documents that authorized this use of force to seize the children. The only legal grounds for removal were the family’s continuation of homeschooling their children. The papers contain no other allegations of abuse or neglect. Moreover, Germany has not even alleged educational neglect for failing to provide an adequate education. The law ignores the educational progress of the child; attendance—and not learning—is the object of the German law.
The president gave a speech on August 22 in Buffalo outlining his proposal to “reform” the student loan program. He acknowledged that the program has some problems, but assured the audience they are easily fixed. Just take the principles behind Obamacare and apply them to education. The president personally “guaranteed” that his proposals would make college more affordable.
So, what are some Detroit women doing to offset their struggles in the classroom? Well, they’re becoming “sugar babies” of course — seeking financial assistance from wealthy men online.
In the Detroit School District alone, 201 teachers are moonlighting as sugar babies to offset wage cuts and job losses, according to dating website SeekingArrangement.com.
Brandon Wade, the website’s founder and CEO, said the average public school teacher registered on the site is between the ages of 28- and 33-years-old, and asks for approximately $3,000 a month in financial assistance from her sugar daddy.
While the number of Detroit school teachers registered on the website might be shocking to some, it’s actually less than the national average. Wade said the Philadelphia City School District has the highest number of teachers registered on the website at 674, followed by Miami-Dade School District with 507.
The interest rate on government-backed student loans is going to jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent Monday.
Republicans, Democrats and the Obama administration could not agree on a plan to keep it from happening. Lawmakers say a deal is still possible after the July 4 recess. But if they don’t agree on a plan soon, 7 million students expected to take out new Stafford loans could be stuck with a much bigger bill when they start paying the money back.
Since January, under pressure from the Fed, the Education Department has flagged 126,000 applicants attempting to pocket federal loans and grants without any intent of going to school. As the WSJ reports, officials are cracking down on fraud in student-aid programs after evidence of recipients – acting alone or as part of organized crime rings – misusing funds. “What we find are very poor students academically that are borrowing to the max, getting the maximum in their Pell grant and just going from school to school,” noted one director of financial aid, with roughly $829 million in Pell grants as “improper payments,” in the last year. Rather stunningly, more than 34,000 participants in crime rings improperly received federal student aid last year, up 82% from 2009. “We started seeing student borrowing that was just over the top with no explanation for why,” another director noted, adding “it’s not so much about the education, it’s the money.”
Most federal student aid requires no credit check and comes with few restrictions on how the money is spent and Federal officials say the Internet has helped fuel student aid fraud.
Federal officials are cracking down on fraud in student-aid programs, responding to evidence that a growing number of recipients—acting alone or as part of organized crime rings—are pocketing federal loans and grants without any intent of going to school.
Since January, the agency said it has flagged 126,000 applicants, about 1% of all those seeking aid for the 2013-2014 school year.
Would you like to know what America’s young people are actually learning while they are away at college? It isn’t pretty. Yes, there are some very highly technical fields where students are being taught some very important skills, but for the most part U.S. college students are learning very little that they will actually use out in the real world when they graduate. Some of the college courses listed below are funny, others are truly bizarre, others are just plain outrageous, but all of them are a waste of money. If we are going to continue to have a system where we insist that our young people invest several years of their lives and tens of thousands of dollars getting a “college education”, they might as well be learning some useful skills in the process. This is especially true considering how much student loan debt many of our young people are piling up. Sadly, the truth is that right now college education in the United States is a total joke. I know – I spent eight years in the system. Most college courses are so easy that they could be passed by the family dog, and many of these courses “study” some of the most absurd things imaginable.
Listed below are 20 completely ridiculous college courses being offered at U.S. universities. The description following each course title either comes directly from the official course description or from a news story about the course… Continue reading »
Parents in Polk County, Florida are outraged after learning that students in area schools had their irises scanned as part of a new security program without obtaining proper permission.
Students at three facilities — an elementary school, a grade school and a high school — had their eyeballs scanned earlier this month as part of a ‘student safety’ pilot program being carried out by Stanley Convergent Security Solutions.
“It simply takes a picture of the iris, which is unique to every individual,” Rob Davis, the school board’s senior director of support services, wrote home to parents in a letter dated May 23. “With this program, we will be able to identify when and where a student gets on the bus, when they arrive at their school location, when and what bus the student boards and disembarks in the afternoon. This is an effort to further enhance the safety of our students. The EyeSwipe-Nano is an ideal replacement for the card based system since your child will not have to be responsible for carrying an identification card,” he added.
Rather than being reprimanded, Illinois high school teacher John Dryden, should be held up as an example of what it truly means to be a teacher. When confronted with a situation where he knew his students might be giving up their Fifth Amendment rights, the social studies teacher did what he believed was the right and moral thing to do. For that action, he may be disciplined.
A high school social studies teacher in Batavia, Illinois, faces disciplinary action for informing students of their Fifth Amendment rights in connection with a survey asking about illegal drug use.The survey, ostensibly aimed at assessing the needs of students at Batavia High School, was distributed on April 18. After picking up the survey forms from his mailbox about 10 minutes before his first class of the day, John Dryden noticed that they had students’ names on them and that they asked about drinking and drug use, among other subjects. Dryden, who had just finished teaching a unit on the Bill of Rights, worried that students might feel obliged to incriminate themselves—an especially ticklish situation given the police officer stationed at the school. Since there was no time to confer with administrators, he says, he decided to tell his students that they did not have to complete the forms if doing so involved admitting illegal behavior. Tomorrow the school board will consider whether and how to punish Dryden for taking advantage of this teachable moment.
I suppose it makes sense. In the gulag, ghetto of injustice America has become only crooked IRS agents should be able to plead the 5th.
The petition to support John Dryden has well over 5,000 signatures, with the most recent recent one being mine. It can be found here.
Eton, the elite boarding school just west of London, attended by Prince William, Prince Harry and current UK Prime Minister David Cameron asked a very interesting question on a recent scholarship questionnaire. Specifically, 13 year old boys were asked to justify the army killing 25 protestors in oil-price related civil unrest.
It’s all hypothetical to be sure. Just as hypothetical as the DHS buying billions of rounds of ammunition and assault weapons. For hypothetical use, against hypothetical protestors when the hypothetical ponzi financial system collapses due to hypothetical theft by hypothetical oligarchs. Got that?
Across the globe, predatory capitalism spreads its gospel of power, greed, commodification, gentrification, and inequality. Through the combined forces of a market driven ideology, policy, and mode of governance, the apostles of free-market capitalism are doing their best to dismantle historically guaranteed social provisions provided by the welfare state, define the accumulation of capital as the only obligation of democracy, increase the role of corporate money in politics, wage an assault on unions, expand the military-security state, increase inequalities in wealth and income, foster the erosion of civil liberties, and undercut public faith in the defining institutions of democracy. As market mentalities and moralities tighten their grip on all aspects of society, democratic institutions and public spheres are being downsized, if not altogether disappearing. As these institutions vanish—from public schools to health care centers—there is also a serious erosion of the discourses of community, justice, equality, public values, and the common good. One does not have to look too far to see what happens in America’s neoliberal educational culture to see how ruthlessly the inequality of wealth, income, and power bears down on those young people and brave teachers who are struggling every day to save the schools, unions, and modes of pedagogy that offer hope at a time when schools have become just another commodity, students are reduced to clients or disposable populations, and teachers and their unions are demonized.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s current attempt to close down 54 public schools largely inhabited by poor minorities is one more example of a savage, racist neoliberal system at work that uses the politics of austerity and consolidation to further disenfranchise the unskilled young of the inner city. The hidden curriculum in this instance is not so invisible. Closing schools will result in massive layoffs, weakening the teachers unions. It will free up land that can be gentrified to attract middle class voters, and it will once again prove that poor minority students regardless of the hardships, if not danger, they will face as a result of such closings are viewed as disposable—human waste to be relegated to the zones of terminal exclusion. Not only are many teachers and parents concerned about displacing thousands of students to schools that do not offer any hope of educational improvement, but they are also concerned about the safety of the displaced children, many of whom “will have to walk through violent neighborhoods, and go to school with other students who are considered enemies.” Brian Sturgis, a Chicago high school senior and organizer with the group Chicago Students Organizing to Save our Schools declared in an op-ed that Chicago students are prepared to fight for their schools. He writes: Continue reading »
In December 2012, vaccine tragedy hit the small village of Gouro, Chad, Africa, situated on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Five hundred children were locked into their school, threatened that if they did not agree to being force-vaccinated with a meningitis A vaccine, they would receive no further education. These children were vaccinated without their parents’ knowledge. This vaccine was an unlicensed product still going through the third and fourth phases of testing.
Within hours, one hundred six children began to suffer from headaches, vomiting, severe uncontrollable convulsions and paralysis. The children’s wait for a doctor began. They had to wait one full week for a doctor to arrive while the team of vaccinators just carried on vaccinating others from the village. More children became sick.
When the doctor finally came, he could do nothing for the children. The team of vaccinators, upon seeing what had happened, fled the village in fear.
BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A shuttered Michigan school district that says it can’t afford to pay its teachers plans to remain closed until further notice.The update is posted on the website of Buena Vista School District, located near Saginaw. It hasn’t held classes since May 3.
The district laid off teachers and all but three employees May 7. The district has said it wouldn’t be able to make payroll May 24 because the state put a hold on its funding to recoup about $580,000 for a juvenile detention education program the district no longer operates.
Meanwhile, MLive.com reports Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee of Flint says91 percent of the district’s students get federal food assistance through free and reduced lunch programs, and he wants to ensure the shutdown doesn’t affect their nutrition.