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School watch

 
 
Reply Mon 9 Sep, 2013 03:28 pm
I thought I'd start this thread to keep track of stories from the school yard.

Here's one to start: An 11 year old boy is facing charges for making up list of schoolmates he wanted to hurt. He's going to be charged even though the police think it was just a fantasy and that he had no way of actually carrying out an attack: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Fifth-Grade-Boy-Plot-Kill-Classmates-Columbine-Newtown-Charges-Pending-222735921.html. (I especially like the discrepancy in their headline and sub-head.)

Quote:
Police are expected to file charges against an 11-year-old New Jersey boy after an investigation uncovered an alleged plot to kill 40 classmates, authorities say.

The boy was in the fifth grade at Central Elementary School in Wall Township when school officials found a note containing violent threats in April. Subsequent investigation by police uncovered a more elaborate plan on the boy's computer targeting 40 students, officials said.

The boy was suspended and barred from enrolling in the district intermediate school for upcoming academic year.

Police said the boy was planning an event "similar to a Columbine or Newtown" at the intermediate school, but that it wasn't something he was capable of carrying out, calling it a "fantasy."

They added at least one member of the student's family has weapons, but the boy never had access to them.

In a letter to parents Wednesday, interim superintendent Stephanie Bilenker said "the matter is firmly under control by the law enforcement officials and no present threat exists," she said.

Bilenker said juvenile charges are expected to be filed against the boy "in the very near future" and that district school officials and police are taking additional steps to ensure students were safe.


What are they going to charge him with? Terrorist threats? Thinking bad thoughts? Being an 11 year old boy?
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Sep, 2013 03:34 pm
In other school news:

A new study once again shows that homework has little to no benefit and too much of it can be bad for kids: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/tjFWEVdRsSytUxh4Gh3Z/full#preview

Quote:
The discussion addresses how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students’ advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement, and well-being.


This is a timely report for Oregon since our schools have a new grading policy:

Quote:
Starting this term, every public school student in Oregon is supposed to be graded solely by whether they have mastered the academic skills covered in class.

Turning everything in neat and on time, bringing back signed forms and racking up extra credit won't boost grades. Turning assignments in late, skipping homework and talking during class won't hurt, as long as the student can demonstrate the key skills and knowledge covered in the course.


School behavior can't be factored into grades either.

More: http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2013/09/missing_homework_late_assignme.html
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Sep, 2013 08:38 am
Quote:
A Virginia teen has been suspended from school and is facing possible expulsion after he fired an airsoft gun outside his own house.

Khalid Caraballo and some friends were shooting "Zombie Hunter" airsoft guns at targets and at each other in the front yard of the 13-year-old's Virginia Beach home, when a neighbor, the mother of one of the kids playing in the "airsoft gun war," called the cops to complain.

"This is not a real [gun], but it makes people uncomfortable," the unidentified woman later told WAVY. "I know that it makes me (uncomfortable), as a mom, to see a boy pointing a gun."

That 911 call set off a chain reaction that resulted in Khalid getting suspended from Larkspur Middle School along with two other boys.

Now he and his friend Aidan Clark are being threatened with expulsion for the remainder of the school year for "possession, handling and use of a firearm."

Khalid acknowledges hitting a boy with one of the gun's plastic pellets, but says the claim that he fired at the school bus station that is located 70 yards from his home is false.

"t's unfair because we were in our yard," he said. "This had nothing to do with school. I didn't have anything at school at anytime."

Khalid's mom Solangel agrees with her son.

"My son is my private property," she said. "He does not become the school's property until he goes to the bus stop, gets on the bus, and goes to school."

Solangel admits her son disobeyed her by using the gun without her permission, but insists she should be the one to punish him.

A Virginia Beach Police rep said the "juveniles" involved would be in violation of the city code if there were not exercising "reasonable care" while firing the "pneumatic gun."

The code defines "reasonable care" as ensuring that all projectiles are "contained on the property by a fence or backstop."

The 911 caller acknowledged that Khalid was using a net to catch the pellets.

"It's terrible," Khalid said. "I won't get the chance to go to a good college. It's on your school record. The school said I had possession of a firearm. They aren't going to ask me any questions. They are going to think it was a real gun, and I was trying to hurt someone. They will say 'oh, we can't accept you.'"
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 01:19 am
sorry Boomer that I did not find the right thread, but you will absolutely want to read in the Oct Atlantic a great article about abusive homework assignment taskings.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 01:42 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me
What happens when a father, alarmed by his 13-year-old daughter's nightly workload, tries to do her homework for a week

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/10/my-daughters-homework-is-killing-me/309514/
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 08:23 am
@hawkeye10,
I did read that. Crazy.

I remember a conversation with Mo's 4th grade teacher about homework. She said her assignments could be completed in 40 (in accordance to the PTA guidline of 10 minutes per grade)minutes. I pointed out that her busy work assignments could but that she also required them to read for 30 minutes and the music teacher required 15 minutes of practice each day meaning that an 8 year old was being given 85 minutes of homework each and every night.

And on weekends.

And on holidays.

That's the year we quit homework.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 11:00 am
@boomerang,
I say work smart not hard, but the current crop of education experts clearly dont agree with me.

boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 11:25 am
@hawkeye10,
Actually the education experts do agree with you. It's the politicians and businessmen who disagree.
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 11:38 am
Not an article, but a recent school situation. My newly high schooler took an elective course in Accounting. I think the draw of the class is part of your time you are supposed to work in the school store and is supposed to teach you about running a business as well.

Any way, her teacher was unexpectly out for the first couple of weeks of school. According to the head of the department, the substite was supposed to be knowlegeable and be teaching them. After a couple of weeks my daughter (someone that rarely complains) let me know how horrible he was. He did not teach them - he told them to read and them do the worksheets.

I found out personally how bad he was - when I took her out early one Friday as we were going away and knew this class stunk with the sub any way. So she had to do the days classwork during the weekend.

Having accounting knowlege, she asked me for help. We had to refer to a previous worksheet to carryforward data into a balance sheet. She said they did it in class together. I looked at the worksheet and could not make heads or tales out of it (and we are talking basic bookkeeping stuff).

I had her erase the entire worksheet they did in class, I spent 15 minutes tops and explained what was going on. She then said, I should teach the class - that 15 minutes taught her what she had not learned in 2 weeks in the classroom.

We have open house tonight and plan on hunting down the department head to discuss as the department head's frequent emails stated this sub was very experienced and well respected (not by students that is).
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 11:56 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

Actually the education experts do agree with you. It's the politicians and businessmen who disagree.
what are we teaching? answer: school sucks, learning sucks. but then we are told that more than ever success in this economy requires commitment to life long learning. seems to me that the schools are doing it backwards. I am also not thrilled with all the preachy poorly constructed books that get assigned for
reading only because they sell the "right" message. what we should want is for kids to read a wide range of stuff and to enjoy reading. we are here spending $20k per student per year on the schools when the facilities budget is included, how about we make some minimal effort to get value for our money? is that too much to ask?
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 12:16 pm
@hawkeye10,
read somewhere recently an opinion peice that it is high time for educators to stop accepting and conforming to short attention spans, that what they should be doing is stretching the ability to concentrate. right on, but it will not happen. we just had another teacher awarded a prize because the students say he makes class fun, he is a funny guy, this makes him teacher of the year. teachers are expected to conform to the students, the idiots now run the asylum in a lot of ways. it is no wonder that so little gets done in a lot of schools.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 12:41 pm
@Linkat,
Oh lord. Are your kids in public school now? Mo had a substitute for 3 months at the start of the 4th grade (his teacher had a baby on the first day of school) who had never taught before. She was lovely but it was a disaster.

I hope you get some answers at your meeting tonight. Let us know how it goes.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 12:48 pm
@hawkeye10,
I was just reading an article the other day about a book being pulled some some city's schools because a parent objected that it dealt with high school kids getting bullied because they were poor.

This sounds like the exact kind of book kids need to be reading.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 12:50 pm
@hawkeye10,
I guess they'd better stop ringing a bell every 50 minutes so that kids have to stop what they're doing and move on to some other class...
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Sep, 2013 02:35 pm
@boomerang,
Yeah we are in public now. My older daughter actually had good success last year (her first year in public). She was very fortunate - her math and science teachers were fantastic and they went out of their way to help my daughter adjust. We had lots of conversations with them. I think that is the key to remain in close communication with their teachers - there are some good ones out there so you need to take advantage of them.

My younger didn't fair as well - her teacher was very sweet, but I think the academics was lacking. I tried talking with her and met with her but it was so hard to figure how my daughter was really doing - seems the grading is just along the lines of average/above average/below - not called that but like with checks so pretty much eveyone got averages even though she was bringing home 100s and As and the teacher would tell me she was improving the grades were the same.

Any way - as it is an elective and I can teach this to my daughter in 15 minute lessons once a week, I'm not too worried. But I will see if I get any where - I'm worried too, because this teacher is pregnant and will be out for a portion of the year.

I looked up this sub because my daughter said he claimed to write books - I found him - he is like 74 years old and he had a text book about insurance/finance so he should be able to teach the subject.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Sep, 2013 07:13 am
@boomerang,
So when we had the open house, it was set up so you were to go to your child's class as a regular scheduled day with 10 minutes in each class for the teacher to describe the class, expectations and grading. First was the infamous class - the teacher had already emailed saying she wouldn't be there, but I figured I had nothing else to do for the 10 minutes so I'd wonder over - met some other parents and we discussed the sub.

I didn't see the director, but the asst principal was in the hallway so we (me and another set of parents) decided to approach him and express our concerns. Especially seeing this teacher is supposed to go on maternity leave as well during the school year. We made it clear that this sub did not teach and we hoped they would have an appropriate teacher to replace while she was on leave. He did back pedal a bit, but did state they were looking for a qualified sub.

Not sure how it will work - but I figure I will have to read the text book and be available to teach. If it does come down to some difficulty I might look at this as an opportunity for tutoring and make a little side cash!
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2013 11:22 am
@boomerang,
Save the children from these dangerous things!

No longer allowed at the Weber Middle School in Port Washington, New York: footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, lacrosse balls and any other hardballs that could injure a child. Also off limits: rough games of tag and cartwheels unless an adult supervisor is on hand.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/09/living/parents-middle-school-bans-balls-recess/index.html?hpt=hp_t3
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2013 11:44 am
@Linkat,
I suppose running could make them get overheated too (my mother believed that, but then I'm on the old side). Wonder if this is primarily fear of lawsuit stuff.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2013 12:49 pm
Just read that homework article. Daaaang.

My kid still doesn't have much on this front. Many days she has no homework at all, when she does it's rarely more than an hour. 20 minutes is the most common, if she has anything.

She did just have a big project that meant she had to show up at school ~30 minutes early every day for a week, but I think that's more about the perfectionist tendencies of another girl in the group than actual required homework.

This whole homework thing is also making me feel better about not sending her to a local STEM school that she is being urged to attend. It looks awesome in many ways but the homework load is LARGE. She really appreciates having time for sports and time for friends and time for doing nothing in particular.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2013 01:19 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:
I had her erase the entire worksheet they did in class, I spent 15 minutes tops and explained what was going on. She then said, I should teach the class - that 15 minutes taught her what she had not learned in 2 weeks in the classroom.

Now you know why homeschooled kids do so much better on the SAT.
 

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