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.
“When you get 800 résumés for every job ad, you need to weed them out somehow,”said Suzanne Manzagol, executive recruiter at Cardinal Recruiting Group, which does headhunting for administrative positions at Busch, Slipakoff & Schuh and other firms in the Atlanta area.
ATLANTA —The college degree is becoming the new high school diploma: the new minimum requirement, albeit an expensive one, for getting even the lowest-level job.
Consider the 45-person law firm of Busch, Slipakoff & Schuh here in Atlanta, a place that has seen tremendous growth in the college-educated population. Like other employers across the country, the firm hires only people with a bachelor’s degree, even for jobs that do not require college-level skills.
This prerequisite applies to everyone, including the receptionist, paralegals, administrative assistants and file clerks. Even the office “runner” — the in-house courier who, for $10 an hour, ferries documents back and forth between the courthouse and the office — went to a four-year school.
“College graduates are just more career-oriented,” said Adam Slipakoff, the firm’s managing partner. “Going to college means they are making a real commitment to their futures. They’re not just looking for a paycheck.”
Connecticut officials are proposing legislation that would require state investigations of children on an unprecedented level, critics contend, by calling for a “confidential behavioral health assessment” of every public school student in sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grades, as well as every homeschooled student aged 12, 14 and 17.
The proposed legislation, called Bill 374, has been labeled by critics as little more than a shocking home invasion measure, WorldNetDaily reported.
“It’s outrageous that state officials could come into private homes and potentially remove children if they are assessed as a threat as a result of the investigation,” Dee Black, senior counsel to the Home School Legal Defense Association, told the website. “Regardless of what state officials claim, I don’t believe the results [of the investigations] will be held confidential.” Continue reading »
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama visited a preschool in Georgia on Thursday to unveil details about his new plan to ensure that all 4-year-olds – including those whose families struggle to make ends meet – receive the same opportunities for a high quality early education.
Funded by federal and state tax dollars, the president’s plan would be a dramatic expansion of education for 4-year-olds, by making a year of optional preschool free for low- and moderate-income children.
“Hope is found in what works,” Obama said at the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center in Decatur, part of Georgia’s widely available preschool program, funded by the state lottery. “This works. We know it works. If you’re looking for a good bang for your educational buck, this is it, right here.”
In Mississippi, if kindergarteners violate the dress code or act out in class, they may end up in the back of a police car.
A story about one five-year-old particularly stands out. The little boy was required to wear black shoes to school. Because he didn’t have black shoes, his mom used a marker to cover up his white and red sneakers. A bit of red and white were still noticeable, so the child was taken home by the cops.
The child was escorted out of school so he and his mother would be taught a lesson.
Some thought the irony of a Treasury Secretary who cheated on his taxes was extreme but Germany has gone one better as the nation’s Education Minister has just been stripped of her PhD due to plagiarism. As Spiegel Online reports, the University of Düsseldorf has revoked German Education Minister Annette Schavan’s degree because “she systematically and deliberately presented intellectual efforts throughout her entire dissertation that were not her own.” As such, she was guilty of “intentional deception through plagiarism.” Allegations that parts of her dissertation were not consistent with academic standards were first raised last spring and were hardened in October when a blogger released detailed findings of citation shortcomings he had found in the education minister’s dissertation. Of course, she has taken the political route to this problem – denial – admitting merely to “oversights,” and adding that “There was no cheating involved.” The university voted 12 to 2 to revoke her degree and invalidate her academic title. Schavan is yet to resign from Merkel’s Cabinet. What next? A skeet-shooting gun tzar, a job tzar responsible for thousands of jobs losses while in the private sector, or a Nobel Peace Prize winner building a drone army. Via Spiegel Online,
Merkel’s Education Minister Has Ph.D. Title Revoked
German Education Minister Annette Schavan has long been dogged by accusations that she had plagiarized parts of her Ph.D. thesis. Now, the University of Düsseldorf has revoked her degree. She may be forced to resign from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet.
Now obviously, anyone with any common sense would react to this story with immediate shock and disbelief. The 5 year old child merely discussed “shooting bubbles” with a bubble gun she didn’t even have with her, and she is immediately suspended? How does this compute? Have school districts gone completely insane? Actually, I believe they are quite aware and cognizant of what they are doing…
“A 5-year-old girl was suspended from school earlier this week after she made what the school called a “terrorist threat.”
Her weapon of choice? A small, Hello Kitty automatic bubble blower.
What a year 2012 has been! The mainstream media continues to tell us what a “great job” the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve are doing of managing the economy, but meanwhile things just continue to get even worse for the poor and the middle class. It is imperative that we educate the American people about the true condition of our economy and about why all of this is happening. If nothing is done, our debt problems will continue to get worse, millions of jobs will continue to leave the country, small businesses will continue to be suffocated, the middle class will continue to collapse, and poverty in the United States will continue to explode. Just “tweaking” things slightly is not going to fix our economy. We need a fundamental change in direction. Right now we are living in a bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity that allows us to continue to consume far more wealth than we produce, but when that bubble bursts we are going to experience the most painful economic “adjustment” that America has ever gone through. We need to be able to explain to our fellow Americans what is coming, why it is coming and what needs to be done. Hopefully the crazy economic numbers that I have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.
The end of the year is a time when people tend to gather with family and friends more than they do during the rest of the year. Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help start some conversations about the coming economic collapse with your loved ones. Sadly, most Americans still tend to doubt that we are heading into economic oblivion. So if you have someone among your family and friends that believes that everything is going to be “just fine”, just show them these numbers. They are a good summary of the problems that the U.S. economy is currently facing.
The following are 50 economic numbers from 2012 that are almost too crazy to believe…Continue reading »
… at least statistically speaking. Yes, outlier cases will always exist and there will always be a rags to Geology 101 to riches story somewhere, but as the following fascinating and very much damning (the entire higher learning industry of the US) diagram from Reuters demonstrates, colleges, in their once vaunted role of a “great equalizer for the classes” as defined over a century ago by Horace Mann, no longer exist.The chart in question?
What does the above chart imply? Nothing more than that for the vast majority of people, college degrees are the modern-day equivalent of very, very expensive snake oil.
The number of homeless students in America topped one million for the first time last year as a result of the economic recession, a number that has risen 57 percent since 2007.
The US Department of Education found that of these 1,065,794 children, many lived in abandoned homes, cheap hotels, stations, church basements and hospitals. Some spent their time sleeping over at the houses of various friends whenever they could. Others fell victim to drugs and sexual abuse, in some cases trading sexual acts for food, clothing and shelter or selling illegal drugs.