May 23, 2013
An anti-bullying bill
in the throngs of state legislature in Minnesota
recently passed a major hurdle. The Minnesota House approved the bill designed to strengthen schools’ responses to bullying, in a vote that mostly ran along party lines. While many applaud this step forward as a way to more effectively protect children from damaging behavior in school, others have voiced concern that state lawmakers are overstretching their reach to the public school system.
About the Bill
According to TwinCities.com
, the new anti-bullying bill was introduced by House representative Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis). Davnie says that bill is necessary, because the current 37-word anti-bullying law for the state is inadequate in protecting bullied victims
. Davnie asserts that if his bill is passed, it would take Minnesota from being one of the weakest states in the country on bullying to “instead, being a leader in building safe and supportive school climates for all students.”
One of the most important features of the bill, according to a report at Minnesota Public Radio
, is the fact that it defines what bullying is. Davnie explains, “It established clear definitions of bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment and intimidation, and then sets a high bar for school involvement.”
In the new bill, bullying is identified as any word or action that “disrupts a student’s education.” It also lists bullying based on student race, sexual identity, disability or social status. If the bill passes, school employees will be required to attend training that teaches them how to identify bullies...read more
April 30, 2013
is a rite of passage for many high school students; a chance to celebrate with friends before everyone heads in different directions after graduation. For students at some Georgia high schools
, the evening celebrations were restricted according to the color of a student’s skin. Segregated proms have been going on in some areas of Georgia for decades, since the schools backed out of sponsoring the events. In the hands of parents and students, proms have become an “invitation only” event, with black students hosting one party and white students hosting another.
Change is in the Air
This year, four students at Wilcox County High School
decided it was time for a change. The female students, two white and two black, have decided it is time for their school to have an integrated prom. The students created an Integrated Prom Facebook page, where they wrote, “We live in rural south Georgia, where not too many things change. Well, as a group of adamant high school seniors, we want to make a difference in our community. For the first time in the history of our county, we plan to have an integrated prom.”
The four friends began their campaign when they decided they all wanted to be able to enjoy their senior prom together. One of the girls, Quanesha Wallace, had been elected homecoming queen for her school in the fall. However, she was unable to attend the white homecoming dance, since she is a black student. Instead, Wallace enjoyed...read more
April 25, 2013
has come under fire in recent months for introducing what has become the most controversial curriculum in the country to public school children. Known as CSCOPE, this “instructional material” has become the source of much debate in Texas and nationwide. Is CSCOPE, as some proponents assert, simply a way for state schools to ensure full instruction of the educational standards for Texas? Or is it something more sinister – propaganda to indoctrinate Texas youth in the ways of Muslimism, communism and terrorism? The answer to those questions may depend on which side of the political aisle you seek your answers.
What is CSCOPE?
According to the website
, CSCOPE is “a comprehensive online curriculum management system.” It was developed by the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC). TESCCC is comprised of all 20 education service centers in the state, which oversee a particular region of the state. The curriculum framework is designed to align with the standards for all academic areas in accordance with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
CSCOPE was first implemented into Texas classrooms during the 2006-2007 school year. At that time, there were 182 active districts using the CSCOPE system. As of last fall, 875 school districts are using CSCOPE in their classrooms. The extensive use of the system throughout the state has also resulted in additional scrutiny from Texas parents, educators and lawmakers, as well as interested parties across the country.
No school district in Texas is required to use CSCOPE. However, many...read more
April 15, 2013
has never been a consistent part of school science curriculum. Some teachers have touched on the subject, but few have delved into the matter with the depth it requires for thorough understanding. Sometimes it is presented as a controversial theory, and at other times it is taught as irrefutable fact. Now, new national science standards are due out that could streamline the educational approach to the subject of climatic shift.
About the New Standards
The new science standards were created as a result of a partnership between the National Research Council and the National Science Foundation
, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and National Science Teachers Association. The non-profit group Achieve was also a part of the collaboration. Standards introduce the concept of climate change at a much younger grade, and continue to expand on the subject throughout middle and high school. Mark McCaffrey, programs and policy director for the National Science Foundation, called the new standards “revolutionary.”
Until now, the only effort to establish national science standards was in 1996, when the National Science Education Standards were published by the National Research Council. However, few states did much to bring those standards into the classroom. In 2010, a new effort was launched to produce standards in science, and the National Research Council recruited the other entities to provide a collaborative approach to their creation. The new standards now present more comprehensive information about climate change that gives students a full picture of how it is...read more
April 01, 2013
The right to a free public education has been hotly contested in California public schools
in recent years. The addition of multiple fees for classroom and extracurricular activities has created a serious financial quandary for many families in the state. As a result, state lawmakers have passed a new law that addresses the issues of high fees, which include guidelines on the fees that can be required and how to help low-income families participate. Unfortunately, the law so full of good intentions has created a whole new set of problems for parents, students and school staff.
The Problem with School Fees
Issues with school fees have been reported by parents and students in the California school system for some time. An investigation by the ACLU in 2010 revealed that many schools were requiring students to purchase workbooks, textbooks and other essentials in school districts across the state. Investigators also discovered that students who were unable to pay were sometimes singled out from the rest of their classmates, according to a report at the Los Angeles Times
In some of those cases, students were told to shell out hundreds of dollars for graphing calculators, athletic uniforms
– even uniforms required for physical education classes at the school. Although many of these fees had previously been ruled illegal in litigation, schools were continuing to assess them. They were presenting a particular hardship for low-income students, who either had to go without important supplies or activities, or come forward as a person...
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