Zero Tolerance Policies don’t Prevent Violence at Schools

by Casey Quinlan – There is no reason for schools to abandon behavioral interventions and rely on suspension as a deterrent. In Upstate New York’s Syracuse School District, the stabbing of a teacher has sparked debate over the district’s approach toward student discipline. The district changed its policy shortly before the incident in an effort to keep students engaged at school and reduce racial disparities in student discipline, after an investigation from the New York attorney general’s office. But the stabbing of a teacher by a student in May has reinvigorated opposition to the school’s discipline approach — even though there isn’t any evidence to suggest that the school’s former policy would have prevented a serious incident such as this one. There were already many critics of Syracuse’s plan, part of a four-year agreement with the attorney general, to change its approach to focus on using restorative practices to resolve conflicts, teaching staff about cultural competency and implicit...

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Allowing Guns in Schools is a Bad Idea

by Steven Singer – Guns were not allowed at Donald Trump’s inauguration. They were not allowed at his speech to the National Rifle Association (NRA). Nor were they allowed at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) or at most of his hotels, golf courses and other properties. But he wants them to be allowed at our public schools. He promised to eliminate gun free zones at schools around the country on day one of his presidency. With all the tweeting about crowd size, he didn’t get around to it. But he may – soon. Press Secretary Sean Spicer promised in February that the President has an executive order in the works to address the issue. Before running for Chief Executive, Trump had been much more moderate on guns. But since then he has echoed the NRA’s official position several times, saying that there are fewer shootings in areas where guns are...

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Vouchers don’t Help Disadvantaged Students, Regardless of what Betsy DeVos Thinks

by Casey Quinlan – A new report finds little to praise in school vouchers. Education secretary Betsy DeVos has been a champion of school vouchers for decades, and has claimed students don’t benefit from better funding of public schools. But a new report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that vouchers do not improve student achievement in any meaningful way. A significant body of research on vouchers over the past 15 years has found that there is not enough evidence to support the claim that vouchers significantly improve student achievement, wrote Martin Carnoy, Vida Jacks Professor of Education and Economics at Stanford University. In some cases, vouchers exacerbate issues that hurt students’ quality of education, such as racial and economic school segregation and a flow of inexperienced young teachers into schools. Research on voucher experiments in New York City, Dayton, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. showed that there were no significant improvements...

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Apple CEO Wants Schools to Help Fix the World’s Fake News Problem

by Lauren C. Williams – In Telegraph interview, Tim Cook said battling fake news needs to be “ingrained in the schools” because “it’s killing people’s minds.” For Apple CEO Tim Cook, fake news isn’t just a social media phenomenon, it’s a societal problem that needs to be addressed in every corner of our culture, starting with the education system. “It has to be ingrained in the schools, it has to be ingrained in the public,” Cook told the UK’s Telegraph in an exclusive interview. “There has to be a massive campaign.” The rise of fake news is a “short-term thing” that people don’t want, Cook said, emphasizing that a problem which is “killing people’s minds” can only be solved by educating children who will then push their parents to act. “It’s almost as if a new course is required for the modern kid, for the digital kid,” he said. “In some ways...

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Your Kids Might Be Attending ‘After School Satan Clubs’ This Fall – And It’s All The Christians’ Fault

by Shannon Barber – Christians have long lobbied for the ability to peddle their religion in the public square. This includes public schools, despite the fact that this is patently illegal, per the Constitution. However, all of that changed when, in 2001, when they had the Supreme Court on their side, and were able to have Good News Clubs and the like open the door to proselytizing to impressionable school children. Well, that “victory” is coming to bite these idiots in the ass, because if they allow one religion access, they must allow all. Now, the worst nightmare of right-wing Christians everywhere is coming true. Those wonderful rabble-rousers at the Satanic Temple are at it again, and this time they are offering “After School Satan Clubs” to elementary school children, and they might be in schools in some U.S. states as early as the coming school year. Now, of course,...

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Republicans Want Guns In Schools But Not At Their National Convention

by JUDD LEGUM – In response to an epidemic of gun violence in America, Republicans reject any effort to control gun use. The solution, instead, is more guns. “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” the expression goes. It’s available as a t-shirt from the NRA. CREDIT: NRASTORE.COM One idea that is subject to particular derision is the idea of “gun-free zones.” Instead of creating safe spaces, Republicans argue, gun-free zones just create attractive targets for criminals. Here is Donald Trump deriding the idea at a rally earlier this month: So it might come as some surprise that this year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland will completely ban guns. The event will be held at the Quicken Loans Arena where “firearms and other weapons of any kind are strictly forbidden.” (Guns were banned at the 2012 Republican National...

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Guns In Schools Advocate Slammed By BBC Host (AUDIO)

by MARCUS AURELIUS – During an interview with a BBC Live Host, a Texas gun advocate defended his state’s new gun law policies by saying that the only way to stop gun violence is to arm more people. C.J. Grisham, president of the gun advocacy group Open Carry Texas and a candidate for the state senate believes that law-abiding citizens should be able to access guns easily in order to counter those who have them illegally. He said: “You can pass all the background checks you want, but a criminal gang member in Chicago isn’t going to run a background check on another gang member.” The host then interrupted Grisham and asked: “Sorry. How many of the mass college shootings were carried out by criminal gang members?” Grisham responds, “Well they were all carried out by criminals, not licensed carriers.” The host then asks, “So how did those people manage...

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In One Month, Colorado Sold $34 Million In Marijuana: $3.4 Million Went To Schools, And Crime Decreased By 15%

by Amanda Froelich – Since Colorado legalized weed in 2012, sales have continued to increase while crime rates have plummeted Here’s a recap: If you’re still ‘undecided’ on the cannabis debate, Joe Rogan brilliantly summarizes why hemp was made illegal in the first place. In addition, the number of people experiencing extreme benefit from including high-quality cannabis extract(s) into their regime are sky-rocketing – causing a large number to question why the recreational use of marijuana is still under prohibition. Whatever way you look at it, the benefits of using cannabis far extend those derived from ‘legal’ substances, such as alcohol. And now, three years after marijuana was made legal in Colorado, the state is continuing to report massive economic improvement and reduced crime rate. For starters, just in recreational sales of marijuana in 2014, Colorado sold over $34 million in the month of August. $3.4 million of that (10%) went straight to...

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Georgia is Segregating Troublesome Kids in Schools Used During Jim Crow

By Marian Wang, ProPublica – Georgia has been illegally and unnecessarily segregating thousands of students with behavioral issues and disabilities, isolating them in run-down facilities and providing them with subpar education, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Some of the students in the program were schooled in the same inferior buildings that served black children in the days of Jim Crow. The investigation found that many of the buildings lack gyms, cafeterias, libraries, labs, playgrounds and other amenities. “It’s a warehouse for kids the school system doesn’t want or know how to deal with,” a parent told the Justice Department of the program. The Justice Department detailed its findings in a letter earlier this month to Georgia’s governor and attorney general. Federal law mandates that schools educate students with disabilities in the “least restrictive environment” in which they can learn and thrive. More broadly, public entities...

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Wall Street’s Solution to Puerto Rico Debt Crisis? Shutter Schools, Fire Workers

Report by bondholders and hedge fund managers calls for sweeping austerity measures By Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams – Hedge fund managers and bondholders are pressing the government of Puerto Rico to drive through a series of punishing austerity measures, including dramatic cuts to public education and workers’ rights protections, to “solve” the crisis of debt and poverty gripping the Caribbean island. A group representing $5.2 billion of debt held by 38 investment managers paid three former economists for the International Monetary Fund, who now are employed by the firm Centennial Group International, to devise policy recommendations in response to Governor Alejandro García Padilla’s claim last month that Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt is “not payable.” Entitled For Puerto Rico, There is a Better Way, the report urges the government to increase tax collection and then use this money to pay back creditors while at the same time severely slashing public programs —...

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Judges Revive Claim that AT&T Overcharged Schools for Internet Service

By Jeff Gerth, ProPublica – For seven years, a Wisconsin telecom consultant has waged an unsuccessful legal fight against AT&T, alleging that the company long defrauded a federal program by overcharging the nation’s schools and libraries for Internet and telephone services. Now an appeals court in the District of Columbia has given new life to his case. The little-noticed June 23 ruling concluded that the complaint by Todd Heath was properly filed under the U.S. False Claims Act – a decision that could lead to the disclosure of AT&T’s internal records about the federal program known as E-Rate. E-Rate was set up in 1997, at the dawn of the Internet era, to avert a digital divide between rich and poor students by subsidizing telecommunications services to schools and libraries. Its multibillion-dollar budget comes from fees added to the bills of most people with cellular or landline phone contracts. At issue...

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Syrian Refugees Describe ISIL-run Schools as Recruitment Centers

Teachers in Turkey say signs of brainwashing already evident in students from Raqqa and Deir El-Zor By Lauren Williams, Al Jazeera – SANLIURFA, Turkey — Abdelbasset Al-Hussein battled for two years to keep his and other schools in the Syrian province of Raqqa open, despite constant upheaval caused by fighting and the loss of funding after the province fell to anti-government rebels in 2013. But when fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (ISIL, also known as ISIS) took over the city of Raqqa, implementing a new curriculum and forcing teachers to sign a document of “repentance,” the math teacher at the Obai bin Kaab school for girls knew his battle was lost. Hussein fled Raqqa, and now teaches at a school for Syrians in the southern Turkish city of Sanliurfa, where tens of thousands from the north and eastern provinces of Raqqa and Deir El-Zor...

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Vince Vaughn Just Became The New Spokesperson For Tinfoil Hat Wearing Ammosexuals

by SARAH – Who knew the really tall goofy guy from all the moderately funny comedies was actually a tinfoil hat wearing, anti-government, pro-guns everywhere kind of guy? In the upcoming issue of British GQ, Vince Vaughn revealed quite a lot about himself regarding the American government and his feelings towards guns. When it comes to the American government, Vaughn considers Edward Snowden a hero. We should’ve seen this coming considering he is an ardent supporter of Ron Paul. Vaughn said: “I like what he did. My idea of treason is that you sell secrets to the enemy. He gave information to the American people. Snowden didn’t take information for money or dogmas. Governments claim to write endless laws to protect us, a law for this, a law for that, but are they working? I don’t think so. The consequences are that there is a staggering loss of freedom for the...

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Colbert Shocks South Carolina Schools by Funding Every Single Teacher-Requested Grant

By Jen Hayden, Daily Kos – Wow. Just wow: Comedian Stephen Colbert announced Thursday that he would fund every existing grant request South Carolina public school teachers have made on the education crowdfunding website DonorsChoose.org. Colbert made the announcement on a live video feed Thursday at a surprise event at Alexander Elementary School in Greenville. Colbert partnered with Share Fair Nation and ScanSource to fund nearly 1,000 projects for more than 800 teachers at over 375 schools, totaling $800,000. There are certainly a lot of teachers in South Carolina celebrating this week. Thank you, Stephen Colbert! 1:38 PM PT: Video of Stephen Colbert and Donorschoose.org reps making the “flash fund” announcement to SC schools: Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos  

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Kansas Server Tells Gov. Brownback Just Where To Stick His Tip… Public Schools

By DYLAN HOCK, Addicting Info – Okay, it’s your last day waiting tables at Boss Hawg’s Barbeque in Topeka, Kansas, after having turned in your resignation, and who sits down in your section, last table of the night, but the very governor you’ve been cursing for the last four years, Sam Brownback and family – what do you do? Well, after a bit of thought and some help from friends on social media, 22-year-old Chloe Hough knew just what to do. She refused Brownback’s tip. She went one better than that, too. Hough dropped the mic when she also scratched out the tip line on the bill and wrote next to it, instead: “Tip the schools.” She then posted the image to Facebook with the status: “MIC DROP” You can see a close-up of the tip Chloe left for Brownback, below: KSNT News reports Hough stating: “It was my last shift at the restaurant, as I had quit, so...

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No, Yoga In Public Schools Is NOT Turning Kids Into Hindus, Says California Appeals Court

By DEBORAH MONTESANO, Addicting Info – Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, from the wealthy San Diego suburb of Encinitas, California, have been trying for two years to make their public schools stop teaching yoga to their vulnerable little children. The parents fear that their sweeties will be lured down the path of Hinduism because, apparently, their Christian faith isn’t enough to hold the little ones fast. In 2013, the Sedlocks sued the superintendent and the trustees of the Encinitas Unified School District. They wanted to force a halt to a yoga program that replaced some of the district’s more traditional physical education classes. Their original complaint alleged that: unlawfully promotes and advances religion, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Western metaphysics. The mother claimed not only that yoga conflicted with “the Christian religious beliefs” that the family practiced at home, but “captive” students were being indoctrinated. Yoga poses were being taught that represented “Hindu...

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The Erasure of US History Starts in Texas

by Patrick O. Strickland, Truthout | Op-Ed – Combating racist tendencies starts in the classroom. Already an uphill battle, the struggle against xenophobia and discrimination is rendered impossible without a progressive curriculum and historically accurate textbooks Famous for the Alamo, the Dallas Cowboys, cold beer and oil, the Lone Star State is considered by many to be a hub of southern hospitality. The second most populous state in the US, Texas has also long been the frontline of a right-wing offensive against historical accuracy in the United States. Since the 1990s, the conservative establishment, which exerts significant control in the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), has labored to instill a markedly jingoistic understanding of history in state curriculum. Because Texas is one of the largest purchasers of textbooks in the country, the effects ripple throughout the US: Publishers are obliged to produce textbooks that meet the SBOE’s standards because...

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Video Shows Cop Choking Child Until He Goes Limp; Child Left with Brain Injury

By Cassandra Rules, The Free Thought Project – Louisville, KY– Louisville Metro Police Officer Jonathan Hardin, 31, has been arrested for assaulting a child at the school where he was working as a resource officer. Surveillance video released after it was played during a probable cause hearing on Thursday shows Hardin choking out a 13-year-old student back in January. This was only five days after the officer allegedly assaulted another 13-year-old student in an unrelated incident. Hardin was also named in a civil suit with two other officers who have been accused of verbally and physically abusing children during a summer program. Surveillance cameras at the middle school also caught the first incident that took place in the cafeteria on January 22.  The footage reportedly shows the officer punch a student in the face so hard that he is knocked to the ground, after accusing him of cutting in line. The boy was subsequently...

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Newly Unveiled Texas School ‘Reform’ Proposals In Step With Right-Wing Agenda

By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams – Following a national trend, Texas Senate leaders last week announced an ambitious and ideologically driven education-reform agenda, which critics say is aimed at undermining public schools and advancing privatization. Among the provisions laid out on Tuesday, according to Austin’s American-Statesman: Giving letter grades (A-F) to public school campuses each year based on their performance to put “pressure” on districts and parents to improve low performers. A stronger “parent empowerment” or “trigger law” that would allow parents to petition for new management at school districts that have been failing for two years, rather than five. Creating an “opportunity” or “achievement” school district, which could be run by a private entity, that would manage the state’s low-performing schools. Easing limits on full-time virtual schools and online courses. Tying teacher compensation to performance, rather than just years of service, and other changes to the evaluation system. The...

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Parents, Teachers and Students Ask School Districts to Go 100% Renewable Energy

By Stefanie Spear, EcoWatch – Now that solar is cheaper than electricity from the grid in 42 of 50 largest U.S. cities, it’s no wonder that a coalition of education, health, labor and environmental organizations launched a campaign to encourage North Carolina’s public school districts to transition to 100 percent renewable energy. Repower Our Schools was launched today calling for the Charlotte and Durham, North Carolina school boards to pass a resolution committing to run their schools on renewable energy this year. According to a recent report from The Solar Foundation, school districts across the country could each save more than $1 million over 30 years by installing a solar system. “As utility rates continue to rise across North Carolina, solar continues to get cheaper — providing an affordable alternative for the school districts,” said Greenpeace Charlotte field organizer Michael Zytkow. “Repowering Our Schools stands to save money that can be reinvested in the classroom. By making this...

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