Category Archives: Education

Chicago Teachers Union to Mayor Rahm: Improving failed schools full of black kids is racist

lewis

Chicago Teachers Union Karen Lewis

Daily Caller: In late March, the Chicago Board of Education announced an ambitious plan to implement its “turnaround” model for three low-performing elementary schools in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods.

The turnaround process involves the sacking of every teacher and staffer at each of the schools, according to an email from the Chicago Teachers Union obtained by The Daily Caller.

Naturally, the union bosses aren’t happy that the nation’s third-largest school district is employing such sweeping measures to improve some of its worst schools.

Still reeling from the closure of 50 schools in 2013, embattled Chicago Teachers Union Karen Lewis called the turnaround plan “a slap in the face to those of us who are attempting to negotiate for more resources” and “nothing more than school closings by another name.”

The email from the teachers union also suggested that the effort to improve the schools is an effort spearheaded by Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to damage black children and black families.

“This is an attack on Black schools that continues the assault carried out by” Byrd-Bennett “last year, when she closed 50 schools (claiming they were the last closings for at least five years).” Byrd-Bennett is black.

“After closing 50 schools, now we find three campuses more on the chopping block while the mayor continues his televised propaganda campaign of promoting these disastrous policies,” Lewis, a Dartmouth graduate, fulminated.

In a CPS press release, Byrd-Bennett countered by saying that the city is committed to fixing schools that aren’t adequately educating students.

“The power of a high school diploma is great and the power of a college diploma is even greater,” said the CEO. “Our children have one chance at a high-quality education and we are committed to doing everything we can to provide our students with the tools they need to be successful.”

One of the three schools facing turnaround plans is Ronald E. McNair Elementary School, which has been on academic probation for the past 14 years. Another school is Dvorak Technology Academy, which has been on academic probation for the past 7 years. The third school is Walter Q. Gresham Elementary School, which has been on academic probation for the past 6 years.

If the Board of Education approves the plan at its board meeting on April 23, the three schools will be managed by the Academy for Urban School Learning (AUSL), a nonprofit organization which already manages 29 public schools in Chicago where over 17,000 students are enrolled.

The turnaround process involves bringing in teachers and staffers who have been specifically trained to work in low-performing schools. It would begin in the fall of 2014 for all three schools.

DCG

Was Sandy Hook Elementary School already abandoned before the massacre?

In his recent interview with Wolfgang Halbig, the school safety consultant and former state trooper who calls the Dec. 14, 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting “a contrived scripted event” in the planning for 2-2½ years, Infowars reporter Dan Bidondi said something very intriguing (beginning at the 50:45 mark in the video below):

Bidondi said: “Was this whole thing [Sandy Hook shooting] staged? Was it real? You have neighbors reporting the school’s been closed down for God knows how long…. They can’t understand why there were kids in that building because it was condemned.”

Indeed, according to local paper The Newtown Bee, nearly 10 months after the shooting on October 5, 2013, a city referendum passed by over 90% authorizing Newtown to move forward with the demolition and rebuilding of Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES) with a $49.25 million grant from the State of Connecticut. The Bee says: “Anticipating the referendum would pass, town officials already filed environmental paperwork with the state to move forward with asbestos abatement at the former school, which will dovetail with demolition crews who could be on site by the last week in October.”

What this means is that even without the alleged massacre, the school would have been demolished because of asbestos contamination.

In fact, a search of Newtown Bee‘s archives shows that the town had known about the school’s environmental problems for many years:

  • On October 2, 2002, The Bee reports that “The Newtown School District could be looking at a $29.5 million price tag to upgrade its mechanical systems and bring them to code at the four elementary schools and middle school over the next five to six years. Consulting Engineering Services (CES) was hired by the district to study the mechanical systems at Hawley School, Head O’ Meadow School, Middle Gate School, Newtown Middle School, and Sandy Hook School to evaluate the heating and ventilating infrastructure, temperature control, and to see what renovations would need to be performed to upgrade ventilation systems to meet indoor air quality codes. Sandy Hook School … is being recommended by CES to be worked on in 2010 over a nine-month period. It is estimated to cost $4.5 million for heating and ventilation and $400,000 for air conditioning.” That comes to about $5 million, which is puny compared to the $49.25 million state grant Newtown received after the alleged shooting massacre for the demolition and rebuilding of the school. 
  • On April 7, 2003, the Bee reported that “Some studies suggest that as many as 68 percent of school district’s have ‘sick’ buildings ranging from mold to asbestos, radon, pesticides, and the use of improperly ventilated areas as classroom space. For the past five years, teachers in Connecticut have had the highest rate of occupational asthma when compared to other professions.
  • On March 26, 2004 , the Bee reported that “the Board of Education … received the bad news that there were serious problems with the Sandy Hook elementary school roof.”
  • And then there’s this curious Newtown Bee article of November 7, 2008, 4 years before the alleged shooting massacre: “The asbestos levels in Newtown schools pose no threat to the health or safety of those using the schools, according to Superintendent John Reed. The areas in the schools where there is evidence of asbestos … are also considered acceptable and safe.”
  • On October 12, 2012, two months before the alleged school shooting, there’s this curious letter from reader Charles Hepp to The Newtown Bee about a plan to close an elementary school due to declining enrollment. Hepp wrote, “Six months ago, in April 2012, our Board of Ed voted unanimously to accept a study which laid out a plan for closing an elementary school … the study found that, should our elementary school population fall below 1,500, the BOE should look towards closing an elementary school. We are currently at approximately 1,650 elementary school students.”
  • But then a year after the alleged massacre and after the school had been completely torn down with the demolition workers sworn to confidentiality, The Bee reported on Dec. 2, 2013 that Public Building & Site Commission Chairman Robert Mitchell issued a report that directly contradicts the earlier 2008 assessment that asbestos levels in Newtown’s schools posed no threat to health. Mitchell’s report said “had the town decided to reoccupy the [Sandy Hook Elementary] school on Dickinson Drive, it would have faced a daunting and possibly insurmountable challenge regarding the presence of hazardous materials” because “PCBs were not only discovered in concrete block, but under terrazzo flooring and in sulfur block used in the foundations and footings. In addition, vinyl asbestos tile was discovered under carpeted areas, along with asbestos in the mastic holding insulation to the subfloor tunnel ductwork.”

In a video that you can watch on YouTube, a man who calls himself “Jungle Surfer” claims to have found “proof” that Sandy Hook Elementary School was closed 5 years before the alleged massacre. Using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, Jungle Surfer says he found no Internet activity from the location of SHES at 12 Dickenson Dr, Sandy Hook, CT 06482.

Below is a screenshot I took of the Wayback Machine showing the school’s lack of Internet activity since the beginning of the year 2008 through 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. You can also see it for yourself by going here.

Click image to enlarge

SHES on Wayback MachineReader “Christopher Marlowe” wrote this comment on March 7, 2014, on a blog that posted Jungle Surfer’s video on the Wayback Machine:

The proof is sublime. The wayback machine isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t lie. The site was accessed each year, from 2000 to 2008, and then NOTHING until 2013.

The wayback machine uses the googlebot crawls to preserve pictures of the site on a given day. (Brief research reveals that the bots record a snapshot when the site is updated, but my own testing shows that there is a heavy tie-in to the amount of web traffic….)

Other dead sites show a drop-off similar to what we see in the sandy hoax school:
social.fm; kozmo.com; webvan.com; urbanfetch.com

Or let’s compare apples to apples, shall we?
https://web.archive.org/web/20100822170242*/http://fairfield.k12.ct.us/
https://web.archive.org/web/20140108075830*/http://www.windham.k12.ct.us/
https://web.archive.org/web/20140215224832*/http://www.westport.k12.ct.us/
https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.wilton.k12.ct.us/
https://web.archive.org/web/20130909145706*/http://www.wethersfield.k12.ct.us/
https://web.archive.org/web/20130922181029*/http://www.tolland.k12.ct.us/

Another indicator of whether Sandy Hook Elementary School had been abandoned BEFORE the alleged massacre are photos taken by the crime scene investigators of the interior of the school.

What follows is a sample of photographs of the alleged crime which I’d culled from “22 Assorted Files” on the (Connecticut) Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s website on Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Reports. (An easier way to view the photos is to go to the Sandy Hoax Facebook page. Click here.)

The following crime scene photos will be interspersed with relevant quotes from the State of Connecticut’s Final_Report on Sandy Hook published on Nov. 25, 2013, titled Report of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury on the Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda Street, Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. All page references are to the Final Report.

1. The photos were taken at the crime scene in the course of 7 days beginning on the day of the shooting:

On the afternoon of December 14, 2012, the WDMC (Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime) and CDMC (Central District Major Crime) van units began documenting the crime scene and collecting evidence. The units could not begin this process until the scene was declared safe. The scene processing took seven days. The scene was thoroughly processed, with the WDMC van unit handling the interior of SHES and the CDMC van unit covering the exterior. This processing included extensive written documentation as well as taking videos and thousands of photographs and measurements. In addition to the recovery of evidence, bullet trajectories were analyzed and documented.” (p. 16)

2. The Final Report’s “Executive Summary” states:

“On the morning of December 14, 2012, the shooter [Adam Lanza], age 20, heavily armed, went to Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES) in Newtown, where he shot his way into the locked school building with a Bushmaster Model XM15-E2S rifle. He then shot and killed the principal and school psychologist as they were in the north hallway of the school responding to the noise of the shooter coming into the school. The shooter also shot and injured two other staff members who were also in the hallway.

The shooter then went into the main office, apparently did not see the staff who were hiding there, and returned to the hallway.

After leaving the main office, the shooter then went down the same hallway in which he had just killed two people and entered first grade classrooms 8 and 10, the order in which is unknown. While in those rooms he killed the two adults in each room, fifteen children in classroom 8 and five in classroom 10. All of the killings were done with the Bushmaster rifle.

He then took his own life with a single shot from a Glock 20, 10 mm pistol in classroom 10. [...]

It is the conclusion of this State’s Attorney that the shooter acted alone and was solely criminally responsible for his actions of that day. Moreover, none of the evidence developed to date demonstrates probable cause to believe that any other person conspired with the shooter to commit these crimes or aided and abetted him in doing so.

Unless additional – and at this time unanticipated – evidence is developed, there will be no state criminal prosecution as result of these crimes. With the issuance of this report, the investigation is closed.” (pp. 1-3)

3. How Adam Lanza gained entrance into the school:

“On the morning of December 14, 2012 … Shortly after 9:30 a.m. he approached the front entrance to the school. He was armed with a Bushmaster Model XM15-E2S rifle (also Bushmaster rifle), a Glock 20, 10 mm pistol and a Sig Sauer P226, 9 mm pistol and a large supply of ammunition. The doors to the school were locked, as they customarily were at this time, the school day having already begun. The shooter proceeded to shoot his way into the school building through the plate glass window to the right of the front lobby doors … at approximately 9:35 a.m.” (p. 9)

shattered glass near front doorNote the pile of shattered glass outside

SHES6An inside view of the glass window, with a bigger pile of shattered glass inside.

4. Shootings in the school’s hallways:

“The main office staff reported hearing noises and glass breaking at approximately 9:35 a.m. and saw the shooter, a white male with a hat and sunglasses, come into the school building with a rifle type gun. The shooter walked normally, did not say anything and appeared to be breathing normally. He was seen shooting the rifle down the hallway. … As the staff member left the room, the staff member heard gunshots and saw [Principal] Mrs. Hochsprung and [School Psychologist] Mrs. Sherlach fall down in front of the staff member. The staff member felt a gunshot hit the staff member’s leg. Once down, the staff member was struck again by additional gunfire, but laid still in the hallway. Not seeing anyone in the hallway, the staff member crawled back into room 9 and held the door shut. A call to 911 was made….

At the same time the shooter was firing in the hallway, another staff member was at the far east end of the hallway near classroom 1. The staff member was struck by a bullet in the foot and retreated into a classroom.

Both Dawn Hochsprung, age 47, and Mary Sherlach, age 56, died as a result of being shot. Both wounded staff members shot in the hallway were later evacuated to the hospital and survived.” (pp. 9-10)

_______________

Note: So there were two wounded adults, but we’ve only been told of one, Natalie Hammond (See “Who, Where are the Sandy Hook wounded?”).

_______________

Here are some photos of SHES’s hallways:

SHES2SHES3SHES4SHESSHES15. Shootings in Classrooms 8 & 10:

“The evidence and witness statements establish the shooter went down the hallway in an easterly direction ultimately entering first grade classrooms 8 and 10. The order is not definitively known. While in classrooms 8 and 10, the shooter shot and killed four adults and twenty children with the Bushmaster rifle. Twelve children survived, one from classroom 8 and eleven from classroom 10. The shooter finally killed himself in classroom 10 with one gunshot to his head from a Glock 20, 10 mm pistol. This is believed to have occurred at 9:40:03. … In all, eighteen children and six adult school staff members were found deceased within the school. Two more children were pronounced dead at Danbury Hospital. Two other adult school staff members were injured and were treated at nearby hospitals and survived.” (p. 10)

Recall that Lanza had shattered the glass window at 9:35 am and killed himself at 9:40:03, which means we are to believe that this young man, afflicted with Asperger Syndrome (Wolfgang Halbig says those with Asperger typically have very poor motor skills), shot and killed 26 people in 5 minutes.

6. Photos of bullet holes:

bullet hole1bullet hole2

I've painted red circles around the "bullet" hole and the little pile of drilled dust underneath.

I’ve painted red circles around the “bullet” hole and the little pile of drilled dust underneath.

bullet hole4bullet hole5bullet hole6bullet hole7

7. Photos of the school’s classrooms:

Note the clean carpets and floors, the absence of blood spatter, how in some rooms everything is stacked along the sides and the windows (creating a fire hazard), while other rooms are so cluttered, which also creates a fire hazard.

SH classroom1SH classroom2SH classroom3SH classroom4SH classroom5SH classroom6SH classroom8SH classroom

8. Bullets:

You may think: “Maybe the Connecticut State Police had cleared some of the classrooms, pushing stuff to the sides of the room, before they took the photos.” But then, there are many photos (like the one below) of bullets next to yellow crime scene markers, which suggest the photos of the classrooms had been taken as they were, without disturbing or altering the crime scene.

bullets

9. Photo of Nancy Lanza’s bedroom:

The Final Report says that “Prior to going to the school, the shooter used a .22 caliber Savage Mark II rifle to shoot and kill his mother in her bed at the home where they lived at 36 Yogananda Street in Newtown.” (p. 3)

Nancy Lanza's bedNancy Lanza had lived in that home for many years, a pricey home in an affluent neighborhood. How could her bedroom walls be bare of pictures, paintings or mirrors?

As seen in these photos, does Sandy Hook Elementary School look to you to be an actual active school or does it look abandoned or decommissioned?

For all the other posts FOTM has done on the “shooting,” go to our “Sandy Hook Massacre” page!

A big h/t to FOTM’s amanda

~Eowyn

Brandeis U. decides against honor for Islam critic

 

AP Photo

AP Photo

Sacramento Bee: After taking heat from some of its own over a decision to grant an honorary degree to an advocate for Muslim women who has made comments critical of Islam, Brandeis University withdrew the honor Tuesday night.

The university said in a statement that Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali would no longer receive the honorary degree, which it had planned to award her at the May 18 commencement.

Ali, a member of the Dutch Parliament from 2003 to 2006, has been quoted as making comments critical of Islam. That includes a 2007 interview with Reason Magazine in which she said of the religion: “Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace. I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars.”

Brandeis, outside Boston in Waltham, Mass., said it was not aware of Ali’s statements earlier.

“She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world,” said the university’s statement. “That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.”

Even though the university withdrawing the honorary degree, “Ali is welcome to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues,” the statement said.

Ali was raised in a strict Muslim family, but after surviving a civil war, genital mutilation, beatings and an arranged marriage, she renounced the faith in her 30s. She declined to comment this week to The Associated Press.

In 2007, Ali helped establish the AHA Foundation, which works to protect and defend the rights of women in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture, according to its website. The foundation also strives to protect basic rights and freedoms of women and girls. This includes control of their own bodies, access to an education and the ability to work outside the home and control their own income, the website says.

More than 85 of about 350 faculty members at Brandeis signed a letter asking for Ali to be booted off the list of honorary degree recipients. And an online petition created Monday by students at the school of 5,800 had gathered thousands of signatures from inside and outside the university as of Tuesday afternoon.

“This is a real slap in the face to Muslim students,” senior Sarah Fahmy, a member of the Muslim Student Association who created the petition, said of the honor before the university withdrew it.

Bernard Macy, a 1979 Brandeis graduate, sent an email this week to university President Frederick Lawrence and several members of the faculty saying, “Thank you for recognizing Ayaan Hirsi Ali for defending Muslim women against Islamist honor violence.”

But Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group, said, “It is unconscionable that such a prestigious university would honor someone with such openly hateful views.”

The organization sent a letter to Lawrence on Tuesday requesting that it drop its plans to honor Ali.

“This makes Muslim students feel very uneasy,” Joseph Lumbard, chairman of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, said in an earlier interview. “They feel unwelcome here.”

You want to talk about hateful views (sorry if they make you feel very uneasy)? Take a look:

DCG

 

Northwestern U hosts event for female students who are ‘having trouble masturbating’

sex week

Campus Reform: Northwestern University is sponsoring an event for female students who are “having trouble masturbating.”

“Vulvas too confusing? Having trouble masturbating? Wanna please your consenting female-bodied friend?” asks the “Cum*tactics” event description posted on a college website.

The workshop will be taught by Early2Bed, a “feminist sex shop” in Chicago. It is not clear why Northwestern was concerned about the ability of its female students to masturbate.

The event is part of Northwestern’s Sex Week, which will also feature events on BDSM and a screening of “Unhung Hero,” a film about a man “born with a micropenis … on a fact-finding mission … as he confronts the stigma of having a small dick.”

The school’s Sex Week runs from April 7-12 and is sponsored by the College Feminists, the “premier feminist and only pro-choice organization” on campus, according to its website.

The orgasm workshop will be co-sponsored by the school’s Sexual Health & Assault Peer Educators group.

Sex Week organizers did not respond to requests from Campus Reform in time for publication.

More about this “higher education” event:

  • “We will have free condoms, lube and candy to help you get in the mood for all of our lusty events.”
  • “Sex origami, sex toys, sexy trivia, prizes and more! There’s a very small chance that you’ll have the opportunity to explore and experience all these sexciting things in one location again.”
  • “For our headlining event, feminist blogger Kara Brown will discuss the importance of Beyonce’s new self-identification with feminism, the necessity of a departure from traditional/academic views of the feminist movement, and the role of sex and sex appeal in feminism.”

DCG

DCG

7 of 10 black babies don’t have dads

black AmericaCarol Morello reports for The Washington Post, May 1, 2013, that the latest Census Bureau report shows that single motherhood, while on a steady uptick since the 1940s, has accelerated in recent years. The birth rate for unmarried women in 2007 was up 80% in the almost three decades since 1980. But in the previous five years alone, between 2002 and 2007, it was up 20%.

Today, more than six out of 10 women who give birth in their early 20s are unmarried. Overall, 36% of all births in the United States were to unmarried mothers in 2011, the year that the census analyzed from answers provided in the American Community Survey.

Other findings from the report:

  • There are harp discrepancies in single mothers related to income, education and race.Women with college degrees and higher household incomes are far less likely to be single mothers than are women who have lower household incomes and less education.
  • In Washington, D.C., more than half of all births, 51%, were to unwed mothers. Maryland also had a higher rate than the national average, with 39% of all births out of wedlock.
  • Asian mothers were the least likely to be unmarried, with just 11% of new Asian mothers being single.
  • White single mothers also were below the national average, at 29%. Among
  • 43% of all new Hispanic mothers were unmarried.
  • The highest rate of unwed single mothers is among blacks: 68% of all African American women who had recently given birth were unmarried.

Study after study has shown that single motherhood is a recipe for poverty, which means more and more U.S. children, especially black children, are growing up in poverty.

And for that, there’s no one to blame but pop culture, the welfare state that replaces men as breadwinners, the irresponsible sperm-donors and the women themselves.

The Census Bureau attributes the long-term increase in single mothers in large part to changing norms for sexual behavior and a decrease in marriage rates.

H/t FOTM’s Wild Bill Alaska for the pic.

~Eowyn

College-readiness not keeping up in California

lausd

Sacramento Bee: Fewer than 4 in 10 California high school students are completing the requirements to be eligible for the state’s public universities, fueling worries of a shortage of college-educated workers when the value of a bachelor’s degree has never been higher.

To meet entrance requirements, high school students must complete 15 classes with a grade of C or better, including foreign language, lab science, intermediate algebra, and visual or performing arts.

At the current rate, educators and policy experts say, far too few students are finishing high school with the minimum coursework needed even to apply to a University of California or California State University campus. In 1994, 32 percent of public school graduates met the course and grade prerequisites, known as “A-G requirements” because they cover seven subject areas. For the Class of 2012, it was 38 percent.

“We need young adults to be successful in the future economy of our state, and to be successful, an increasing number of them will need to go to and graduate from college. And the A-G course completion share, while it’s going up, is not sufficiently high to meet that economic need,” said Public Policy Institute of California Senior Fellow Hans Johnson, who has estimated the state will have 1 million fewer college graduates than it needs in 2025, if current trends continue.

The sobering numbers do not tell the whole story, according to John Rogers, director of UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access. Once students who drop out or do not finish high school in four years are removed from the equation, the proportion of public high school graduates who met the UC and CSU entrance criteria in 2012 drops to 30 percent statewide, 20 percent for Latinos and 18 percent for African-Americans, Rogers said.

“They speak to a huge gap between the expectations that parents and students have, which is that if they complete a rigorous high school curriculum they will be college-eligible, and the sorts of outcomes that are emerging from our K-12 system,” he said.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have made a push in recent years to prepare their students for college by updating their high school graduation requirements to include four years of math and English, the course of study that Achieve, a nonprofit education reform group based in Washington, considers essential to post-secondary success.

California’s high school graduation requirements, which have not been substantially revised in more than a decade, only require two years of math, three years of English and no foreign language or science labs. Students hoping to study at one of the state’s 32 public universities must opt into the courses that make up the more strenuous A-G sequence and repeat the classes if they do not earn a C.

For families without previous higher education experience or living in communities without enough guidance counselors, chemistry sections or money for private tutors, “that’s a big hurdle,” said Michele Siqueiros, executive director of Campaign for College Opportunity. She said she often meets parents and students who are devastated to learn, in the child’s junior or senior year, that they do not meet the entrance requirements for the state’s public universities.

“I always tell folks that not everybody who works at a high school sees it as their responsibility to prepare your kid for college. They see it as their responsibility to get kids to graduate from high school,” said Siqueiros, whose group has examined the college achievement gap for blacks and Latinos in California.

With Latino children now a majority of California’s public school students, community groups increasingly are framing the problem as a civil rights issue and lobbying local school districts to put more young people on the college track by aligning their own graduation requirements with the A-G requirements.

Students in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and several other districts now are expected to complete the 15-course sequence, although they can still earn a high school diploma even if they earn D’s. In Los Angeles Unified School District, the state’s largest, this year’s 9th graders will be required to pass each of the prescribed classes with at least a C by graduation.

“We are not saying every student will be guaranteed of going into college because there are additional requirements the colleges have, a certain GPA being one, a certain score on the ACT or SAT are another,” said Nader Delnavaz, LAUSD’s administrative coordinator for college and career education. “What we are saying is we are not having a two-track or three-track high school diploma.”

In June, San Francisco Unified School District will graduate its first class that had to meet the minimum college entrance requirement. Jessica Hernandez, 17, a senior at Abraham Lincoln High School, had hoped to attend UC Berkeley but got a D in geometry in 10th grade, had to repeat it, got behind in some classes and saw her grades slide.

Hernandez now plans to attend community college and hopes to go to Berkeley as a junior and become the first in her family to earn a degree. Meantime, she has offered advice to her younger sister who will start at Lincoln next fall.

“I’ve already been telling her that if she needs help, there is help here,” she said. “I’ve told her it is stressful, but if you keep up with all your work, it will pay off.”

Administrators say the switch to college-prep for all involves more than doing away with low-level math and science and is not a magic fix. Before San Jose Unified adopted the A-G course requirements starting in 1998, about 37 percent of its graduates were eligible for admission to a UC or CSU school. By 2012, it had risen only to 44 percent.

Thousands of students throughout the state are missing out on being deemed “A-G eligible” by virtue of one or two D grades, says Linda Murray, who was superintendent in San Jose when it updated its graduation requirements and now helps other districts.

That phenomenon suggests the problem is not standards that are out of reach for some but inadequate “safety nets” for young people, said Murray, now superintendent-in-residence for The Education Trust-West, an advocacy group addressing racial disparities in education.

“The right question isn’t: ‘Should every kid go to college?’ The question is: ‘Who should decide?’” Murray said. “It just seems to me the right thing to do is to make sure the doors are kept open so they have good choices when they are 18 years old.”

The California Teachers Association must be so proud.

DCG

 

Transgender George Fox student told he can’t live in male dorms

jaycen

KGW.com: A transgender student has filed a complaint against George Fox University after officials said he couldn’t live with other men on campus during the upcoming school year.

Jaycen, who goes by ‘Jayce,’ is currently a sophomore at the Christian college in Newberg. He has been undergoing a female-to-male transition over the past few years.

Next week, a judge will issue a court order affirming his gender, allowing him to change his gender on his driver’s license, birth certificate and with Social Security.

But when Jayce asked school officials in December if he could live with his male friends during the upcoming school year, George Fox denied his request.

Now, Jayce is fighting to live in male housing and has filed a formal complaint against the college, alleging discrimination on the basis of sex and gender in violation of Title IX.

“The university’s decision makes me feel rejected, misunderstood and punished for something I cannot change,” Jayce said. “It also makes me anxious and nervous about where I’ll be able to live next year, and the year after that.”

Jayce said the university is proposing a housing policy based on “biological birth sex,” which would mean if he wanted to live on campus, it would have to be with women.

I feel like I deserve to be treated better, so I am asserting my rights under Title IX,” he said. “I am a man. I deserve to be treated like any other man on campus.”

According to the complaint, George Fox University did “conditionally approve” Jayce to live off-campus with male students during a one-year exception.

The school also said the Jayce could live in a single room on campus, but according to the complaint, that option “would harm him psychologically and socially and make it impossible for him to receive a safe and quality educational experience at George Fox.”

Jayce’s mother, Janice, has started a Change.org petition, asking George Fox to stop denying her son’s on-campus housing request.

(From the petition: “Being a religiously-affiliated school does not mean having to be unwilling to hear Jayce’s story, see past preconceived notions of sex and gender and respect him for who God made him.”

“As Jayce’s mother, I am deeply concerned by George Fox University’s decision,” Janice said. “I want Jayce be safe and feel included in the campus community.”

The petition has more than 1,000 signatures so far.

In response to the petition, George Fox University issued a statement saying they were “disappointed in how the situation has escalated.”

(From the University’s statement: “Out of respect for the student’s wishes, university staff refers to the student using the masculine pronoun. At this time, the student has not legally changed genders. On many occasions, the student has expressed to Student Life staff that he has felt safe, listened to, supported and cared for at George Fox – by students, faculty and Student Life staff. He has acknowledged that this is why he has chosen to remain at the university.“)

George Fox strives to be a Christ-centered community and our residential facilities are single sex because of our theological commitment,” the response said. “The university has researched the student’s attorney’s legal claims and believes they are without merit, especially given the religious nature of the university.”

From Title IX:

Section 1681. Sex

(a) Prohibition against discrimination; exceptions. No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, except that:

(3) Educational institutions of religious organizations with contrary religious tenets

this section shall not apply to any educational institution which is controlled by a religious organization if the application of this subsection would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization;

DCG

CalSTRS says pension funding gap has grown to $73.7 billion

cals

Sacramento Bee: CalSTRS said Thursday that its long-term funding shortfall has risen to $73.7 BILLION, a stark reminder of the financial issues facing the teachers’ pension fund.

The newest tally reflects CalSTRS’ financial condition as of last June 30. The pension fund said the shortfall grew by $2.7 BILLION in the 12 months since the previous valuation of June 30, 2012.

CalSTRS’ latest calculation comes as the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown continue to debate how to fix the teachers’ retirement fund. Brown originally said the Legislature could enact a funding plan for CalSTRS in 2015, but he also supported the decision by Senate and Assembly committees to hold hearings last month on the issue.

Two months ago, CalPERS approved a plan to raise contribution rates from state and local agencies to deal with a long-term shortfall of around $100 billion. Unlike the public employees’ pension fund, however, the teachers’ fund needs the Legislature’s permission to implement a rate hike.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System has been struggling financially for some time and was badly wounded by the 2008 market crash. It has enjoyed recent investment gains, and the worsening of its long-term deficit has actually moderated; it had earlier forecast that the gap would grow by almost twice as much as it did.

Nonetheless, the fund insists the Legislature must act.

“Since at least 2006, we’ve said that CalSTRS cannot rely solely on healthy investment returns to make up the ground lost to the economic downturns and market volatility of the past 14 years,” said CalSTRS Chief Executive Jack Ehnes in a prepared statement.

Although CalSTRS has enough cash to deal with its obligations for the foreseeable future, it is only 66.9 percent funded for the long term. The pension fund said its shortfall grows by $15 MILLION a day. If the problem isn’t corrected, CalSTRS said it expects to run out of cash by 2046. That’s actually three years later than the last time CalSTRS issued a prediction, but the pension fund said the problem can’t wait much longer.

The latest calculation “reflects a reality, affirmed by the Legislature, the administration and stakeholders, that stabilizing CalSTRS funding will require contribution increases,” Ehnes said. “These can be gradual, predictable and fair to all parties, while meeting the long-term needs of the system.”

Considering the monetary drain on this system, I expect that CalSTRS will have no money left to spend on anybody’s future.

DCG

University to teach students ‘How To Be A Lesbian in 10 Days or Less’ during seminar

lesbian

Campus Reform: An upcoming LGBTQ seminar at the University of South Carolina Upstate (USCU) will teach students How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less and will focus on LGBTQ cultural mores.

According to the school’s website, theater artist Leigh Hendrix will perform her one-woman show, How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less, to kick off the sixth Bodies of Knowledge Symposium and Conference.

The show is a one-hour performance that follows Butchy McDyke, a motivational speaker and expert lesbian, as she “deftly guides her captive audience in an exploration of self-discovery and first love, coming out, lesbian sex, queer politics, and a really important Reba McEntire song.”

Hendrix encourages her audience to shout “I’m a big ‘ol dyke!” in a show that is “one part instructional seminar, one part personal story, and one party wacky performance art.”

The symposium is funded by outside grants as well as university funds according to Dr. Lisa Johnson, the Director of the Center for Women’s & Gender Studies at USCU.

Dr. Johnson declined to discuss what percentage of the funding was coming from the university.

“Until you call and ask how much money has been spent on heterosexual literature, I’m not going to answer that question,” Johnson told Campus Reform.

Earlier this month, the South Carolina House of Representatives voted to cut almost $70,000 in funding for two public universities, including $17,142 from USCU, over literature containing gay themes.

The symposium will also include presentations of papers from students, faculty, and community members “on topics related to LGBTQ lives and culture.”

“In a historical moment that defines ‘gay,’ ‘lesbian,’ and ‘trans’ according to highly assimilative models, we hope to document, analyze, and disrupt this too-easy cultural knowingness about what it means to be, become, advocate for, recognize, or represent any element of ‘the’ LGBTQ community (as if there is one unified community), as well as the various identities included in, compelled by, or excluded from that community,” reads a call for papers.

Suggested topics include queer places and regions, and LGBTQ uses of social media such as “the queerness of instagram, the transness of tumblr, displays of compulsory heterosexuality on Facebook,” and “the lesbigay selfie.”

Scheduled talks during the conference include “Trans, but Not Like You Think” and “The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays.” The two panel discussions are titled “Queer Moods, Moody Queers” and “How to Be Queer.”

It’s not as if the good Doctor has an agenda to push or anything. From her web site:

johnson“Author of GIRL IN NEED OF A TOURNIQUET: MEMOIR OF A BORDERLINE PERSONALITY. Writing my way through life as a high-functioning borderline personality, a radically tenured member of la vida academia, and a queer-married gal in the rural southeastern United States.

Currently at work on a  new book about disorganized attachment style and the spiral of addictions, frustrations, and neurological misfires it has produced in the first year of her very own Borderline/Narcissist marriage, Johnson continues to search for new and better meanings in the opaque moments of intimacy management.  A late-blooming lesbian-after-­marriage, Johnson currently resides in South Carolina where she performs a curious balancing act as author, professor, writing consultant, and Women’s & Gender Studies program administrator.  

She lives with her ftm transqueer spouse, Austin, and their two loyal shih tsus…”

From her book:

For the majority of TOURNIQUET, much of the confusion, panic, and chaos in Johnson’s life centers around her affair with a married co-worker, Emily. Johnson clearly recognizes this relationship as being CO-DEPENDENT (she often capitalizes words or phrases for emphasis). She is able to see herself as enmeshed with Emily and neurotically attached to her, yet she is unable to perceive a way to break free from this self-destructive path. About two-thirds of the way through the book, Johnson finally makes the connection that her symptoms are consistent with BPD. Not only does this help her to view her relationship with Emily in a new light, but also she is able to better understand her behavior in subsequent relationships–including a brief fling with one of her students–in terms of this diagnosis.”

DCG

Kindergartner Told Not to Pray

Kindergartner

Kindergartner praying at lunch says teacher told her, ‘You’re not allowed to pray’
By Charlene Sakoda
Apr 1, 2014 5:42 PM
Odd News
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An Oviedo, Florida family was shocked after they heard their 5-year-old daughter’s account of an incident at the girl’s school during lunch. As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, the kindergartener (whose name is not being released) told her family that a ‘lunch teacher’ at Carillon Elementary School stopped her when she bowed her head in prayer during the meal.

Marcos Perez’s daughter explaining the lunch prayer incident. (YouTube/Marcos Perez)
Last week Marcos Perez, the girl’s father, posted a YouTube video of his daughter explaining the lunchtime interaction. In the footage she recounts the confrontation saying, “My lunch teacher told me that, when I was about to say something, she said, ‘You’re not allowed to pray.’” According to her account the girl continued the conversation with the teacher saying, “’It’s good to pray.’ And she just said, ‘It’s not good.’”

The family says the exchange happened the week of March 10. However, Seminole County Public School officials report that Carillon Elementary’s principal, AnaLynn Jones, spoke to the cafeteria staff present during that time and they do not recall the incident nor interacting with the girl.

(WKMG)
WKMG Local 6 spoke to Michael Lawrence, the communications officer for Seminole County Schools who said, “The situation as stated by the parent has not occurred according to the school’s investigation…We’re dealing with very young children here so there’s quite a bit of an opportunity for miscommunication to occur. The timing and the issues were very odd considering that the first thing that happened was that a video was done, it was on YouTube.” The school district says the parents did not contact school officials until after posting the YouTube video, but Mr. Perez denied that claim and said he sent the district several emails before his post.

A coincidence that is too striking to ignore was pointed out by the Orlando Sentinel. The paper wrote that Marcos Perez is the “…vice president of sales at Charisma House, a Lake Mary-based Christian book publisher. The company is currently promoting the book ‘God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values,’ by Fox News host Todd Starnes. Starnes reported on the lunch prayer controversy for Fox News Radio.”

(WKMG)
The school did not interview the young student, who has since been pulled out of Carillon Elementary and will instead be home schooled. Both Lawrence and the family’s lawyer, Jeremiah Dys, senior counsel for the Texas based Liberty Institute, say that the identity of the staff member allegedly involved has not been given.

Dys has sent the school board and the Carillon principal a letter demanding an apology to the family by April 7 and assurances that steps will be taken to avoid a similar incident in the future.

Lawrence said that Principal Jones would remind Carillon Elementary staff that students are allowed to pray in school, adding, “If a student wishes to pray at lunch to herself we do not have a policy against that.”

Videos and more info: Orlando Sentinel, WKMG, YouTube/Marcos Perez