Category Archives: Education

Sweden school bans homework and tests to “reduce stress”

Judge Judy shakes head rolls eyes

The students are happy with this decision. Duh.

Guess that’ll give them more time to enjoy their smart phones…

From Yahoo: It’s no secret that homework is stressful. But in recent decades, researchers have begun to wonder whether the anxiety it produces outweighs its benefits. A myriad of research suggests that indeed, the bad may overshadow the good. One study in particular, from Stanford University in 2014, found excessive homework not only heightens stress, but causes difficulty sleeping, and exacerbates other physical ailments such as headaches.

Given this research, it was only a matter of time before schools began experimenting with a radical solution: eliminating homework altogether. The first to make news for trying this was an elementary school in Montreal, where the principal said he wanted his young students to be “playing” after school instead of working.

But now a school in Sweden has taken it a step further: banning not only homework but tests. The high school, located in a small town called Boden, reportedly informed its students of the new policy, aimed to reduce stress, in February. “It was my idea,” Petronella Sirkka, principal of the Sturenskolan School, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The students have expressed that they are relieved, since they are under a lot of pressure during our school year.”

Sturenskolan’s homework and test ban has met mixed reviews in the town. But that hasn’t stopped Sirkka from pushing onward. “We are constantly receiving new reports that our children feel bad. And that’s because they have a very high stress level all the time,” Sirkka told SVT, the Swedish national public broadcaster. “This is our way of trying to reduce that stress.”

Sirkka said that the curriculum her students study is “very complicated” and “places extremely high demands” on them individually. Eliminating homework and tests (except for nationally required tests) is an attempt to make it “less challenging for their psychological well being” overall, according to a Sputnik News article.

Sirkka says that, since the students were away on Easter break, they haven’t been in class long enough for her to adequately judge how it’s going. But in general, she says the students are happy with the decision. For Sirkka, that’s good news. Her goal, if it goes well, is to introduce a permanent ban on homework and tests at Sturenskolan in 2019.

The anxiety that Sirkka’s solution is aimed at tackling isn’t unique to Sweden. Research shows that young Americans are more anxious than ever. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, 31.9 percent of adolescents in the U.S. now have a diagnosable anxiety disorder, compared with just 19 percent of adults. In the last decade, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports, the number of adolescents and teens admitted to a hospital for suicidal thoughts has doubled.

Although there are many contributing factors to increased anxiety among teens — threats to physical safety being one of them — the burden of homework is real. The aforementioned Stanford study, published in the Journal of Experimental Education, looked at more than 4,000 students in upper-middle-class California communities (a demographic, it should be noted, that receives more homework help than others) and found that excessive homework, along with adding stress, leads to decreased socialization with friends and family.

Studies like that one, combined with anecdotal evidence from parents, have led to a growing irritation with after-school assignments. In a book titled The Case Against Homework, authors Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish argue that there is no evidence showing actual benefits of homework among students — and a wealth of evidence proving its negative effects.

“Homework overload is compromising our parenting choices, jeopardizing our children’s health, and robbing us of precious family time,” Bennett and Kalish write. “Many ‘homework experts’ claim that one of the benefits of homework is increased parental involvement. But is it really beneficial when we constantly argue about homework or stay up late to do our kids’ assignments with them — or for them?”

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

Bank of America to stop lending to some makers of “military” firearms

bank of america

Know thy enemies of the Second Amendment.

From Yahoo (via Reuters): Bank of America Corp plans to stop lending to companies that make military-style firearms for civilians, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, making it the second major U.S. lender to address gun sales after the Florida high school shooting that left 17 dead in February.

The company is in discussions with a few manufacturers who make military-style firearms for civilians, Bank of America’s vice chairman, Anne Finucane, told the news agency in an interview.

“It is not our intent to underwrite or finance military style firearms on a go-forward basis,” she said.

A spokesman for Bank of America declined to comment on the report.

Last month, Citigroup Inc added restrictions on firearm sales for new retail sector clients, requiring them to sell firearms only to customers who passed a background check, restricting sales for buyers under 21, and not sell so-called bump stocks or high-capacity magazines.

The second-deadliest shooting at a U.S. public school re-ignited the long-running national debate over gun rights, pitting many of the students who survived the Feb. 14 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, against powerful gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association.

See also:

DCG

Pennsylvania teachers given baseball bats to remind them to fight back against school shooters

possibly go wrong

From Daily Mail: A Pennsylvania school district has given its teachers small wooden baseball bats as a reminder to fight a school shooter with any weapon available should other options fail.

Superintendent William Hall of the Millcreek Township School District near Erie, Pennsylvania, said that the distribution of the 16-inch bats on Monday was primarily symbolic, but the district did want to have a ‘consistent tool’ for all teachers should they need to fight and attacker.

Hall told the Erie Times-News that the mini baseball bats were handed out to the approximately 500 teachers employed by the district’s elementary, middle and high school teachers during a training session on how to respond to school shootings.

Hall said the district’s revised school shooting response plan puts more emphasis on options other than ‘hiding and waiting.’ 

The president of the local teachers union said he supports the move — ‘It’s to make people comfortable with the idea that they can attack and not simply go into hard lockdown and just hide, as we’d been told in our training up to this point,’ Jon Cacchione, president of the Millcreek Education Association told the Erie Times-News.

The district spent about $1,800 buying 600 mini baseball bats. In addition to those given out during the training session, bats will be put inside offices and other school areas.

Millcreek Township School District has also been taking additional security measures at school entrances.

In March, another Pennsylvania district said it was arming teachers and students with buckets of rocks.

Blue Mountain School District Superintendent David Helsel said the five-gallon buckets of river stones would be kept in classroom closets. As part of their active shooter training, students and teachers were meant to use the rocks to help defend themselves and fight back against intruders who entered classrooms.

DCG

Charles Barkley to Trump voters: “Look in the mirror and say, ‘My life sucks because of me’ “

charles barkley

Sorry Charlie. I don’t take life advice from someone who said republicans have “lost their minds.”

From Seattle Times: Charles Barkley is weary. He was never a fan of Donald Trump’s, even before the election, but now he’s tired of “this turmoil every single day – the tweeting, the hiring and firing.”

In an interview with David Axelrod on CNN’s “Axe Files,” Barkley was angry with those voted for Trump, saying that the president’s message had resonated with voters “who just won’t look in a mirror and say, ‘My life sucks because of me.’ “

I’ve never been more angry and disgusted at this situation than I am now. This turmoil every single day – the tweeting, the hiring and firing.

“Dude, I’m blessed, and you are, too,” he told Axelrod. “Like, it really ain’t gonna have a big effect on our life. But I actually have humanity. I want everybody to have a good life. I want everybody to have a good job. I want their kids to go to school, I want their kids to be safe. I want everybody to have economic opportunity.

And I want to make sure we don’t forget about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which Trump tweeted about ending Sunday), our public schools. I don’t want to forget about those poor people in Puerto Rico. I was watching the news last night, and still, six months out, they don’t have power. And we don’t even mention them anymore. We’re wasting all our time on Russia and Stormy Daniels. It’s ridiculous.”

Barkley also felt that the president “has done an awful job of trying to be inclusive,” partly because of his emphasis on building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Do we have some bad Hispanics? Of course, we do. Do we have some bad Muslims? Of course, we do. But I believe the majority of the Muslim people in this country are amazing, hard-working people,” he said. “The president has done an awful job of trying to be inclusive.”

Barkley believes that “there’s only economic opportunity if you’re rich” and that voters were looking to blame others for economic disparity.

“I think he reached a demographic who just won’t look in a mirror and say my life sucks because of me,” Barkley said. “So every person who can’t get a job says yes, he’s right, that some Mexican has taken my job. I’m like, well, wait, ‘Did you want that job, No. 1? Or did you put yourself – did you work hard enough, educate yourself enough to get – deserve that job?’ So it’s easy to blame somebody.”

Barkley, who has toyed with the idea of running for political office, campaigned against Roy Moore in the Senate race in his native Alabama last year. Campaigning for Doug Jones, he told Alabamians bluntly, “We’ve got to stop looking like idiots to the nation. I love Alabama, but we’ve got to draw a line in the sand. We’re not a bunch of damn idiots.” Jones won the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“We have spent the last year talking about Russia every single day,” Barkley told Axelrod. “Now we got Stormy, now we got another girl (Karen McDougal), and I’m sitting here saying, ‘When are we actually going to help the people?’”

DCG

Gov. Jerry Brown pardons five “nonviolent” illegal aliens facing deportation

jerry brown

According to Brown’s office: Kidnapping, robbery, using a firearm, inflicting corporal injury, intent to terrorize and obstructing a police officer are now classified as “nonviolent crimes.”

That’s California for you…

From Sacramento Bee: Amid a brewing legal battle with the Trump administration over California’s liberal immigration policies, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday granted pre-Easter pardons to five immigrants illegal aliens facing possible deportation.

They were among 56 pardons and 14 commutations that the Democratic governor handed down ahead of the Sunday holiday. The majority were convicted of drug-related or other nonviolent crimes, according to Brown’s office.

Executive clemency is particularly significant for immigrants, since they can be deported for old convictions, even if they have legal resident status. By forgiving their criminal records, Brown eliminates the grounds on which they could be targeted for removal from the country.

“These are individuals who have turned their lives around and deserve a second chance,” said UCLA School of Law Professor Ingrid Eagly, who represents two of the immigrants pardoned Friday. She added that the stakes are higher since the election of President Donald Trump, who has emphasized stricter immigration enforcement.

“Under the current administration, there’s much more of a focus on deportation. More individuals are being picked up and placed into deportation proceedings,” Early said. “There’s also less discretion being exercised by immigration agents on the ground and by immigration prosecutors.”

The pardoned immigrants are:

  • Sokha Chhan, who is in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement pending deportation to Cambodia. He came to the United States at the age of 13 to escape the Khmer Rouge regime and has lived here for 35 years. Chhan was sentenced in 2002 for inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize, both misdemeanors; he served three years probation and 364 days in jail. In his clemency application, one his five children, whom Chhan raised as a single father, wrote that he had shown her “what it meant to be a loving and independent individual.”
  • Daniel Maher, who has publicly advocated for immigrants with a criminal record to have an opportunity for redemption. Maher moved to California from Macau legally when he was 3 years old, according to KQED, but he never applied for citizenship and he lost his green card when he was sentenced in 1995 for kidnapping, robbery and using a firearm (as a prohibited possessor). He served five years in prison, before being released early for good behavior, and three years on parole. Maher now oversees the curbside recycling program in Berkeley and has been recognized by the city for training at-risk youth for green jobs. He was detained, but not deported, by ICE in 2015.
  • Phann Pheach, who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and came to the United States at the age of 1, according to a GoFundMe account set up by his wife. Pheach was convicted in 2005 for possession of a controlled substance for sale and obstructing a police officer; he served six months in prison and 13 months on parole. Pheach has been detained by ICE and is facing deportation proceedings to Cambodia, “a place he never once knew,” his wife wrote on the fundraising page for his legal defense. “He is the glue that holds his family together,” she added. “I am crumbling apart without my husband, who I have been with for over 10 years.”
  • Francisco Acevedo Alaniz, who was convicted for vehicle theft in 1997 and served five months in prison and 13 months probation. In his clemency application, he reported being active in his church and volunteering with a youth sports program.
  • Sergio Mena, who was sentenced in 2003 for possession of a controlled substance for sale and served three years probation.

Immigration has been at the center of a political showdown between California and the Trump administration. Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed suit against California for three new laws passed last year to protect immigrants living in California illegally.

Brown slammed Sessions for “initiating a reign of terror” against immigrants illegal aliens in California and accused the federal government of “basically going to war” against the state. Days later, Trump visited California for the first time as president and dismissed the state as “totally out of control.”

During the past year, as federal immigration authorities have escalated their enforcement efforts, Brown has regularly included immigrants in his annual Easter and Christmas acts of clemency.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

Georgia middle school assignment: Write a gun control letter to your congressmen

indoctrination

From The College Fix: A recent assignment given at a Georgia middle school shows that last weekend’s March for Our Lives and the walkouts which preceded them are not exactly all “student-led.”

According to Georgia’s teaching standards, seventh graders are supposed to be learning about Asia, Africa and the Middle East in their social studies class, but according to Blue Lives Matter teacher Corey Sanders decided to assign the following to his Hampton Middle School class:

You are trying to persuade lawmakers to have stricter gun laws to help prevent another school shooting from taking place.

For this assignment, you are writing a letter to the lawmakers of the United States. The purpose of this letter is to pressure lawmakers to have stricter gun laws in the United States. Your letter should contain at least five complete sentences. Make sure that you use proper grammatical skills when writing your letter.

Upon seeing his son’s homework, police officer William Lee said “No, you’re not doing that assignment” and proceeded to email teacher Sanders to inform him of just that.

The teacher wrote back to Lee and told him that it was fine, and that he wouldn’t mark off his son for not turning it in, he said.

“The first thing I wondered was what was their intent with these letters,” Lee said. “Were they planning to mail them?”

“And then I’d like to know how this fits into my son’s actual curriculum […] Lee said. “There’s nothing in the course curriculum about gun control.”

Lee said that a number of other parents of his son’s classmates expressed concern about the assignment; however, they hadn’t found out about it until after their children had completed it and turned it in.

“Where are these letters now?” Lee asked.

“Why are they giving this as an assignment? It has nothing to do with the curriculum that they’re supposed to be following,” the angry father said.

Lee said this isn’t the first instance of a teacher with an agenda at Hampton. He noted that a sixth grade teacher recently was recorded calling President Trump a racist and referencing Rodney King (the 1992 Los Angeles riots).

Blue Lives Matter did not receive responses to inquiries from Sanders, the Hampton principal, nor from the district superintendent.

Read the whole story here at Blue Lives Matter.

h/t Weasel Zippers

DCG

Application for ‘March For Our Lives’ permit was made months before Parkland school shooting

On March 24, 2018, one month and ten days after the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, student-led pro-gun control “March For Our Lives” demonstrations took place across America, including in Washington, D.C.

The word “Our” in March For Our Lives refers to students.

From Wikipedia:

March For Our Lives was a student-led demonstration in support of tighter gun control that took place on March 24, 2018, in Washington, D.C., with over 800 sibling events throughout the United States and around the world. Student organizers from Never Again MSD planned the march in collaboration with the nonprofit organization Everytown for Gun Safety. The event followed the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which was described by many media outlets as a possible tipping point for gun control legislation.

Never Again MSD (MSD refers to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School) is a group started on social media as a movement “For survivors of the Stoneman Douglas Shooting, by survivors of the Stoneman Douglas Shooting” using the hashtag #NeverAgain.

The MSD student survivors who formed Never Again MSD include the now-famous David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, and Cameron Kasky.

Public demonstrations, especially those that are large-scale like March For Our Lives, require a permit from the police department of the city in which the demonstration will take place.

A source of European researcher Ole Dammegard contacted the Metropolitan D.C. Police Department concerning the permit for the March For Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C.

Dammegard’s source received the following email from Officer Scott C. Earhardt of the Homeland Security Bureau of the Metropolitan Police Department and forwarded it to Dammegard:

Good morning,

In reference to your inquiry concerning the March For Our Lives Demonstration, here in the District of Columbia on March 24, 2018. MPD received a permit application several months prior to the actual event, and there was several months of planning for this large event.

If your are requesting additional information reference this event, please follow the below steps to file your Freedom of Information Act request:

https://foia-dc.gov/App/Index.aspx

If your have any additional question sor concerns, please feel free in contacting me directly.

Officer Scott C. Earhardt, Badge No. 2372

Homeland Security Bureau
Special Operations Division
Planning and Logistics
Metropolitan Police Department
2850 New York Ave., N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
202-671-6529 (Office)
202-671-6522 (Planning)
202-671-6511 (Station)

Scott.Earhardt@dc.gov

Below is a screenshot of the email (source: Professor James Fetzer):

According to the PDF document, Metropolitan Police Department, Washington.D.C., Scott Earhardt indeed is a detective there. Here’s a screenshot I took from page 6 of the 65-page document:

Here are some facts:

  1. The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School occurred on February 14, 2018.
  2. A day after the shooting, on February 15, 2018, MSD students formed the group, Never Again MSD.
  3. On March 24, 2018, March For Our Lives demonstrations took place in Washington, D.C. (and other cities).
  4. Among the organizers of March For Our Lives is Never Again MSD, which had not existed before February 15.
  5. The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department received a permit application for March For Our Lives demonstration “several months prior to the actual event”.

Questions:

  1. How can Never Again MSD apply for a permit “several months” BEFORE the group had even been formed?
  2. How can an application be made for a permit for a “March For Our Lives” demonstration “several months” BEFORE the Parkland MSD school shooting that galvanized MSD students to form the Never Again MSD group that organized the demonstration?

See also:

UPDATE (March 31, 2018):

There are claims that the email from Officer Earhardt is bogus, and that there’s a permit application for March For Our Lives in D.C. which is dated February 20, 2018, but which is an application to the National Park Service, not Metro PD. See “The curious ever-changing dates of March For Our Lives permit application“.

I, therefore, asked Professor James Fetzer for the original Earhardt email. Fetzer had obtained the screenshot of the email from Ole Dammegard, whose friend was the person who originally contacted Officer Earhardt about the permit.

I just received an email from Mr. Dammegard, with an attachment of the original Earhardt email, indicating the date on which the email was sent to Dammegard’s friend who, understandably, prefers to remain anonymous.

email from MPD Officer Scott Earhardt

I find the above email from Officer Earhardt to be credible. I also have confidence in the integrity of Professor Fetzer and Mr. Dammegard, neither of whom profits from counterfeiting the email — which is something we can’t say about those people who instigate false-flag mass-shooting incidents like Parkland.

In the meantime, Professor Fetzer had placed a phone call to Officer Earhardt to confirm the latter’s email. When we hear from Officer Earhardt, I will update this post with that information.

Update (April 5, 2018):

Officer Earhardt has given 4 different dates for when Metro PD received the permit application. See “The curious ever-changing dates of March For Our Lives permit application“.

~Eowyn