He’s got the smarts.

30 04 2013

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The Onion: 4 Copy Editors Killed In Ongoing AP Style, Chicago Manual Gang Violence

7 01 2013

This is hilarious! Gotta love The Onion!

For the record, I roll with the AP posse, but my wife got jumped in to MLA. We’re star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of the tracks.

– dEV

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Onion Logo

News in Brief  • ISSUE 49•01 • Jan 7, 2013

NEW YORK—Law enforcement officials confirmed Friday that four more copy editors were killed this week amid ongoing violence between two rival gangs divided by their loyalties to the The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual Of Style. “At this time we have reason to believe the killings were gang-related and carried out by adherents of both the AP and Chicago styles, part of a vicious, bloody feud to establish control over the grammar and usage guidelines governing American English,” said FBI spokesman Paul Holstein, showing reporters graffiti tags in which the word “anti-social” had been corrected to read “antisocial.” “The deadly territory dispute between these two organizations, as well as the notorious MLA Handbook gang, has claimed the lives of more than 63 publishing professionals this year alone.” Officials also stated that an innocent 35-year-old passerby who found himself caught up in a long-winded dispute over use of the serial, or Oxford, comma had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

(Original Story)

http://www.theonion.com/articles/4-copy-editors-killed-in-ongoing-ap-style-chicago,30806/





Headline Writer Also Hates Math

26 12 2012

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CBS: Schools’ Tracking Devices Cause Controversy

30 11 2012

This is an intriguing article, and not just because neither CBS nor the Associated Press caught the typo in the headline.

In two Texas schools, student ID cards have been embedded with a chip that allows administrators to locate any student at any time around the campus. Personal privacy rights aside, I question the real necessity for such a measure, and can’t help but wonder how effective it would be. Why not leave your card somewhere, or insist that it was lost or stolen? Why not pass it off to a friend who is going to be where you’re supposed to be? It seems like a lot of wasted time, money, and energy for a program that might not hold up in court, and more importantly might not yield much in the way of results.

And now, one of the schools has had their website attacked by… Anonymous. Fun times.

– dEV

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Schools’ Tracking Devices Causes Controversy

November 25, 2012 7:28 PM

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A San Antonio school district’s website was hacked over the weekend to protest its policy requiring students to wear microchip-embedded cards tracking their every move on campus.

A teenager purportedly working with the hacker group Anonymous said in an online statement that he took the site down because the Northside school district “is stripping away the privacy of students in your school.”

The teen, who identified himself in an email as being 16 years old, said he hacked into the website Saturday, and it was not working Sunday. District spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said he has not yet been able to confirm that it was hacked.

Starting this fall, all students at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School are required to carry identification cards embedded with a microchip. They are tracked by the dozens of electronic readers installed in the schools’ ceiling panels.

Northside has been testing a “radio frequency identification” tracking system for the two schools to increase attendance in order to secure more state funding, officials have said. The program, which kicked off at the beginning of this school year, eventually could be used at all of Northside’s 112 campuses, officials have said. The district is the fourth largest in Texas with more than 97,000 students.

The hacked website isn’t the first controversy over the program.

One John Jay student refused to wear the device, citing religious reasons, and then filed a lawsuit after Principal Robert Harris threatened to remove her from the school and stopped her from petitioning against the ID badge. Last week a judge said the principal’s actions violated the student’s speech and religious rights, and granted a restraining order barring Harris from removing her from the school, San Antonio television station KENS reported.

(Full Story)

http://houston.cbslocal.com/2012/11/25/schools-tracking-devices-causes-controversy/





NBC News: Cheating scandal: Feds say teachers hired stand-in to take their certification tests

28 11 2012

I mentioned this at an earlier juncture, but it looks like it’s blowing up into something much more widespread. This irritates me, as it reflects poorly on the entire teaching community. I hope those responsible, as well as anyone who participated in this scam, gets punished to the fullest extent of the law.

– dEV

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Cheating scandal: Feds say teachers hired stand-in to take their certification tests

By Adrian Sainz, The Associated Press

It was a brazen and surprisingly long-lived scheme, authorities said, to help aspiring public school teachers cheat on the tests they must pass to prove they are qualified to lead their classrooms.

For 15 years, teachers in three Southern states paid Clarence Mumford Sr. — himself a longtime educator — to send someone else to take the tests in their place, authorities said. Each time, Mumford received a fee of between $1,500 and $3,000 to send one of his test ringers with fake identification to the Praxis exam. In return, his customers got a passing grade and began their careers as cheaters, according to federal prosecutors in Memphis.

Authorities say the scheme affected hundreds — if not thousands — of public school students who ended up being taught by unqualified instructors.

Princeton, N.J.-based Educational Testing Services writes and administers Praxis teacher certification examinations.

Mumford faces more than 60 fraud and conspiracy charges that claim he created fake driver’s licenses with the information of a teacher or an aspiring teacher and attached the photograph of a test-taker. Prospective teachers are accused of giving Mumford their Social Security numbers for him to make the fake identities.

The hired-test takers went to testing centers, showed the proctor the fake license, and passed the certification exam, prosecutors say. Then, the aspiring teacher used the test score to secure a job with a public school district, the indictment alleges. Fourteen people have been charged with mail and Social Security fraud, and four people have pleaded guilty to charges associated with the scheme.

Mumford “obtained tens of thousands of dollars” during the alleged conspiracy, which prosecutors say lasted from 1995 to 2010 in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Among those charged is former University of Tennessee and NFL wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, who is accused of employing a test-taker for a Praxis physical education exam. He was charged in late October with four counts of Social Security and mail fraud. He has pleaded not guilty and is out of jail on a $10,000 bond. He has been suspended by the Memphis City Schools system.

In this photo taken Friday, Nov. 23, Neal Kingston, director of the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas, talks about testing fraud in his Lawrence, Kan., office.

If convicted, Mumford could face between two and 20 years in prison on each count. The teachers face between two and 20 years in prison on each count if convicted.

(Full Story)

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/25/15430647-cheating-scandal-feds-say-teachers-hired-stand-in-to-take-their-certification-tests?lite





NBC News: Can kids be taught to become bullyproof?

19 09 2012
By BETH J. HARPAZ

updated 5/31/2012 1:22:58 PM ET

NEW YORK — Teaching kids to become “bullyproof” is all the rage. Books, videos and websites promise to show parents how to protect their kids from being bullied; school districts are buying curricula with names like “Bully-Proofing Your School,” a well-regarded program used in thousands of classrooms. Even martial arts programs are getting into the act: “Bullyproofing the world, one child at a time,” is the motto for a jujitsu program called Gracie Bullyproof.

But can you really make a child invulnerable to getting picked on? And even if you could, should the burden really be on potential victims to learn these skills, rather than on punishing or reforming the bullies?

Parents and educators say when bullyproofing programs are done right, kids can be taught the social and emotional skills they need to avoid becoming victims. But bullyproofing is not just about getting bullies to move on to a different target. It’s also about creating a culture of kindness, beginning in preschool, and encouraging kids to develop strong friendships that can prevent the social isolation sometimes caused by extreme bullying.

Who’s got your back?
Bullies “sniff out kids who lack connections or who are isolated because of depression, mental health issues, disabilities or differences in size and shape,” said Malcolm Smith, a family education and policy specialist at the University of New Hampshire who has been researching peer victimization for more than 30 years. “So if you’re worried about your child being a victim, the best thing a parent can do from a very young age, starting in preschool, is ask, ‘Who’s got your back? When you’re on the bus, when you’re in the hall, who’s got your back?’ If they can’t name someone, you should help them establish connections to their peers.”

Smith, who is working on a program called “Courage to Care” that’s being tested in three rural New Hampshire schools, cited an example of a new boy who was being pushed and shoved by other boys in the hallway. “We didn’t know how to empower him,” Smith said, until the staff noticed that he’d become friends with a girl. “This girl is sweet but really assertive. What are seventh grade boys more afraid of than anything? Girls! So having her walk down the hall with this boy was the immediate solution to ending the bullying.”

Psychologist Joel Haber, a consultant on the recent documentary “Bully,” says kids should also have “backup friends” outside school through sports, hobbies, summer camp or religious groups. “That’s hugely important, especially as kids move from elementary to middle school.”

Emotional skills
Haber says “most kids can learn skills to make themselves less likely to have the big reactions” that feed bullies.

“Let’s say you’re one of those kids who, when I make fun of your clothes, you get really angry and dramatic. If I taught you in a role-play situation as a parent or a therapist to react differently, even if you felt upset inside, you would get a totally different reaction from the bully. And if you saw that kids wouldn’t tease you, your confidence would go up,” said Haber

One way parents can help is to normalize conversations about school social life so that kids are comfortable talking about it. Don’t just ask “How was school today?” Ask, “Who’d you have lunch with, who’d you sit with, who’d you play with, what happens on the bus, do you ever notice kids getting teased or picked on or excluded?” advises Haber, who offers other bullyproofing tips and resources at RespectU.com and is co-authored of a new book called “The Resilience Formula.”

Body language
Bullies “feed on the body language of fear. It’s a physical reaction — how the victim responds, how they hold their head and shoulders, the tone of voice,” said Jim Bisenius, a therapist who has taught his “Bully-Proofing Youth” program in more than 400 schools in Ohio and elsewhere.

Teaching a kid to appear confident physically can sometimes be easier to teach than verbal skills, Bisenius said. “If a kid who’s never been mean in his life tries to fake it, or tries to outdo a bully with a verbal comeback, the bully sees right through that.”

Lisa Suhay, a mom in Norfolk, Va., said her 8-year-old son Quin was helped by Gracie Bullyproof, a martial arts program taught in 55 locations that combines verbal strategies with defensive jujitsu moves. Quin had been bullied so much on the playground that Suhay stopped taking him there. But she decided to give the park one last try after he completed the Gracie training.

No sooner did Quin begin playing on a pirate ship than a bigger boy knocked him down and ordered him to leave. But this time, as his mom watched in amazement, Quin grabbed the other kid around the waist “and landed on him like a big mattress, all while saying, ‘That was an incredibly bad idea you just had. But I’m not afraid of you.'” The other boy swung again, and Quin took him down again, then asked, “Now do you want to play nice?” They played pirates for the rest of the afternoon.

“It’s about respect and self-confidence,” said Suhay. “You’re not teaching them to beat up the bully. But they’re not cowering. They make eye contact. They talk to the bully. So much of the time they avert the situation because the bully doesn’t expect them to say, ‘I’m not scared of you.'”

(Full Story)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47629812/ns/health-health_care/#





Y!: More public schools splitting up boys, girls

5 09 2012

This is one of those articles that I’ve been hesitant to post, but it’s just too darn interesting not to. And thus, I unleash the can of worms…

– dEV

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MIDDLETON, Idaho (AP) — Robin Gilbert didn’t set out to confront gender stereotypes when she split up the boys and girls at her elementary school in rural southwestern Idaho.

But that’s exactly what happened, with her Middleton Heights Elementary now among dozens of public schools nationwide being targeted by the American Civil Liberties Union in a bitter struggle over whether single-sex learning should be continued. Under pressure, single-sex programs have been dropped at schools from Missouri to Louisiana.

“It doesn’t frustrate me,” Gilbert said of the criticism, “but it makes the work harder.”

While Gilbert’s school is believed to be the only one in Idaho offering single-sex classes, the movement is widespread in states like South Carolina, which has more than 100 schools that offer some form of a single-gender program.

Single-sex classes began proliferating after the U.S. Education Department relaxed restrictions in 2006. With research showing boys, particularly minority boys, are graduating at lower rates than girls and faring worse on tests, plenty of schools were paying attention.

In 2002, only about a dozen schools were separating the sexes, according to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, an advocacy group. Now, an estimated 500 public schools across the country offer some all-boy and all-girl classrooms.

[Related: Why single-sex education is a bad idea]

Proponents argue the separation allows for a tailored instruction and cuts down on gender-driven distractions among boys and girls, such as flirting. But critics decry the movement as promoting harmful gender stereotypes and depriving kids of equal educational opportunities. The ACLU claims many schools offer the classes in a way that conflicts with the U.S. Constitution and Title IX, a federal law banning sex discrimination in education. Researchers also have weighed in.

Diane F. Halpern, a former president of the American Psychological Association, co-authored a review of studies last fall in the journal Science that found research doesn’t support the benefits of single-sex education. Additionally, there are lots of problems whenever you segregate people into groups, Halpern said.

“Stereotyping increases so we really do have lots of data that says it’s just not supported,” she said.

However, proponents have put out their own studies, showing the benefits of separating students. Middleton Heights Elementary cited the research when it first piloted single-sex classes in a few grades. The goal was to address the struggles boys were having in reading.

The idea proved so popular that single-sex classes have expanded throughout the school. Parents can opt out, a choice required by law, if they want their kids in a traditional coed classroom.

In the single-sex classes, teachers use microphones that allow them to electronically adjust the tone of their voice to match the level that research suggests is best for boys. When preparing for a test, the boys may go for a run, or engage in some other activity, while the girls are more likely to do calming exercises, such as yoga.

On a recent tour, Gilbert peeked into a classroom of third grade boys, who had decorated their walls with a camping theme, complete with construction paper campfires and a sign that read “fishing for books.”

Next door, the third-grade girls opted for an “under the sea” motif. When they spotted Gilbert in their classroom door way, a few of the girls jumped from their seats and ran to give her a quick embrace.

They learn the same curriculum, they still lunch and play at recess together, but the differences in their learning environments are apparent, from the blue chalkboards in the boy classrooms, to the red paper hearts that decorated the wall of one of the girl’s classrooms.

These environments are driven by student interests and what they’re learning at the time, Gilbert said.

Dr. Leonard Sax, the founder of the Pennsylvania-based National Association for Single Sex Public Education, contends the movement is about breaking down gender stereotypes, not promoting them.

“We want more girls engaged in robotics and computer programming and physics and engineering,” Sax said in a telephone interview. “We want more boys engaged in poetry and creative writing and Spanish language.”

For advocates like Sax, the increase in this form of learning is exciting, but it’s troubling for others.

(Full Story)

http://news.yahoo.com/more-public-schools-splitting-boys-girls-182128857.html





MSNBC: Bullying of teachers more damaging in online era

25 06 2012

Students are now equipped with cellphones with video cameras and a plethora of apps that allow them easily to share information among each other and post online

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO

updated 6/23/2012 10:30:48 AM ET

MIAMI — The bullying that bus monitor Karen Klein endured on a ride home from an upstate New York school was painful and egregious, but also shows how student harassment of teachers and administrators has become more spiteful and damaging in the online era.

Much attention has been paid to students who bully students in class, after school and on the Internet. Less has been given to equally disturbing behavior by students who harass instructors, principals and other adults.

It’s something that’s long existed; think ganging up on the substitute teacher. But it has become increasingly cruel and even dangerous as students get access to advanced technology at earlier ages.

In Maryland, students posed as their vice principal’s twin 9-year-old daughters on pedophile websites, saying they had been having sex with their father and were looking for a new partner. Elsewhere, students have logged on to neo-Nazi and white supremacist sites claiming to be a Jewish or minority teacher and inciting the groups’ anger. Others have stolen photographs from teachers’ cellphones and posted them online.

“The ways they provoke teachers are limited only by their imaginations,” said lawyer Parry Aftab, who described the above cases as just a few of the hundreds she’s handled.

Compared with those, what happened to Klein in Greece, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester, was mild, Aftab said.

Students poked the bus monitor with a textbook, called her a barrage of obscenities and threatened to urinate on her front door, among other callous insults. One student taunted: “You don’t have a family because they all killed themselves because they don’t want to be near you.”

Klein’s oldest son killed himself 10 years ago.

Eventually, she appears to break down in tears. A cellphone video of the incident posted on YouTube went viral.

There is no data collected on how often students bully and harass teachers and other school authorities.

The most recent school safety report from the National Center for Education Statistics, the data branch of the U.S. Department of Education, found that 5 percent of public schools reported students verbally abused teachers on a daily or weekly basis. Also, 8 percent of secondary school teachers reported being threatened with injury by a student, as did 7 percent of elementary teachers.

“Is what we saw in this video occurring with many children every day with adults? No,” said Ken Trump, president of the National School Safety and Security Services, a Cleveland-based consulting firm. “One incident is one too many, but we certainly have a problem where the authority of educators and school support personnel has been undermined.”

Certainly, students harassing teachers isn’t new.

John Ristow remembers an incident from his early days as a teacher’s assistant in Alpena, Mich. A student in the class was upset that he was singled out by the lead teacher for disrupting other students who were trying to study. When Ristow passed him in the hall later that day, the middle school student lashed out.

“It was very nasty swear words that were extremely demeaning to my character,” said Ristow, who now is head of communications for the Broward Teachers Union in Florida.

Ristow held out his hand and said, “Stop.”

A security officer came by and asked if Ristow wanted her to take the boy to the principal’s office. He said no, deciding to resolve the issue directly with the teacher and student instead. He brought both of them together, they discussed how inappropriate the behavior was and told the student he would face a suspension if it happened again.

“It never happened again,” Ristow said.

That was in the late 1980s.

Two decades later, students are equipped with cellphones with video cameras and a plethora of apps that allow them easily to share information among each other and post online.

One of the new ways that students are harassing teachers has become known as “cyberbaiting.” Students irritate a teacher to the point that the teacher breaks down; that reaction then is captured in photos or video to post online. A Norton Online Family Report published last year found that 21 percent of teachers had experienced or knew another teacher who had experienced “cyberbaiting.”

Then there are cases of students who have created websites and blogs against teachers and administrators.

In South Florida, one student created a Facebook group page called, “Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I’ve ever met!” The student encouraged others to “express your feelings of hatred.”

The student, Katherine Evans, took the page down but was suspended for three days and removed from her Advanced Placement classes. She later was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit against the principal of the Pembroke Pines Charter High School, arguing that her right to freedom of speech had been violated. She settled for $15,000 to cover her legal fees and her suspension was wiped from her record.

(Full Story)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47931496/ns/technology_and_science-security/#.T-0fG44f9h5





AP: ‘Where Wild Things Are’ author Maurice Sendak dies

8 05 2012

Author/illustrator Maurice Sendak standing by an life-size scene from his book “Where The Wild Things Are” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Credit: James Keyser/Time Life Pictures/Getty

By Associated Press
Tuesday, May 8, 2012 – Added 3 hours ago

NEW YORK — Maurice Sendak didn’t think of himself as a children’s author, but as an author who told the truth about childhood.

“I like interesting people and kids are really interesting people,” he explained to The Associated Press last fall. “And if you didn’t paint them in little blue, pink and yellow, it’s even more interesting.”

Sendak, who died early Tuesday in Danbury, Conn., at age 83, four days after suffering a stroke, revolutionized children’s books and how we think about childhood simply by leaving in what so many writers before had excluded. Dick and Jane were no match for his naughty Max. His kids misbehaved and didn’t regret it, and in their dreams and nightmares fled to the most unimaginable places. Monstrous creatures were devised from his studio, but none more frightening than the grownups in his stories or the cloud of the Holocaust that darkened his every page.

“From their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions — fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, they continually cope with frustrations as best they can,” he said upon receiving the Caldecott Medal in 1964 for “Where the Wild Things Are,” his signature book. “And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming wild things.”

Rarely was a man so uninterested in being loved or adored. Starting with the Caldecott, the great parade marched on and on. He received the Hans Christian Andersen award in 1970 and a Laura Ingalls Wilder medal in 1983. President Bill Clinton awarded Sendak a National Medal of the Arts in 1996 and in 2009 President Obama read “Where the Wild Things Are” for the Easter Egg Roll.

Communities attempted to ban him, but his books sold millions of copies and his curmudgeonly persona became as much a part of his legend as “Where the Wild Things Are,” adapted into a hit movie in 2009. He seemed to act out everyone’s fantasy of a nasty old man with a hidden and generous heart. No one granted the privilege could forget his snarly smile, his raspy, unprintable and adorable dismissals of such modern piffle as e-books and publicity tours, his misleading insistence that his life didn’t matter.

“I didn’t sleep with famous people or movie stars or anything like that. It’s a common story: Brooklyn boy grows up and succeeds in his profession, period,” he told the AP.

Sendak’s other books, standard volumes in so many children’s bedrooms, included “Chicken Soup With Rice,” ”One was Johnny,” ”Pierre,” ”Outside Over There” and “Brundibar,” a folk tale about two children who need to earn enough money to buy milk for their sick mother.

“This is the closest thing to a perfect child I’ve ever had,” he told the AP.

Besides illustrating his own work, he also provided drawings — sometimes sweet, sometimes nasty — for Else Holmelund Minarik’s series “Little Bear,” George MacDonald’s “The Light Princess” and adaptations of E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker” and the Brothers Grimm’s “King Grisly-Beard.” His most recent book that he wrote and illustrated was “Bumble-Ardy,” a naughty pig party which came out in 2011, based on an old animated skit he worked up for “Sesame Street.”

In recent months, he had said he was working on a project about noses and he endorsed — against his best judgment — Stephen Colbert’s “I am a Pole (And So Can You!)”, a children’s story calculated to offend the master. Colbert’s book was published Tuesday.

“His art gave us a fantastical but unromanticized reminder of what childhood truly felt like,” Colbert said in a statement. “We are all honored to have been briefly invited into his world.”

Somebody up there has a sense of humor: As of Tuesday evening, “I Am a Pole” was No. 14 on Amazon.com’s best-seller list, outranking “Where the Wild Things Are” at No. 19.

(Full Story with Video)

http://news.bostonherald.com/entertainment/books/view/20120508where_wild_things_are_author_maurice_sendak_dies/srvc=home&position=also





FOX: Outdoor libraries set up in Detroit after branch closings

4 05 2012

Published April 13, 2012  –  Associated Press

DETROIT –  Students from a Detroit school and the University of Michigan are setting up six outdoor libraries in the city following recent library branch closings.

The Detroit Free Press reports five of the outdoor libraries opened Wednesday for lending to the public and the sixth will open in June. They operate on the honor system.

The Detroit students, who were on spring break this week, are fourth graders at Marcus Garvey Academy. The plan is from 48-year-old Melanie Manos, a lecturer at the University of Michigan who came up with the idea for the outdoor libraries as a project for her art and design students.

Manos said the outdoor libraries are an attempt to draw attention to the Detroit Public Library branch closings and give back to the community.

(Original Story)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/04/13/outdoor-libraries-set-up-in-detroit-after-branch-closings/?test=latestnews#ixzz1tPEeNBMO