‘Simpsons’ Oscar-Nominated Short Takes A Swipe At Education System

img_4667726“The Longest Daycare” packs witty and topical swipes at the country’s education system into its four minutes and 30 seconds. The story sends Maggie, the Simpson family’s youngest child, to daycare, where she’s checked for lice, screened for weapons and sorted separately from the “gifted” students by a machine that admits its own fallibility (standardized tests, anyone?). While trapped in the “nothing special” section of the Ayn Rand School For Tots, Maggie risks it all to save a butterfly she found in a room full of paste-eaters with a “honest bunny” poster saying, “You have no future.”

See full story at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/19/the-longest-daycare-oscar_n_2718982.html?utm_hp_ref=los-angeles&ir=Los%20Angeles

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School “Breaks Barriers” for Kids with Disabilities

School “Breaks Barriers” for Kids with Disabilities

When I first read this tweet I was really excited to see what barriers were being broken.  Seconds into the video I was extremely disappointed when I realized the focus on the clip was on “progressive” education, i.e. including students with various abilities in the same classroom. “A new frontier” in U.S. education they say.  Seriously??

How many classrooms and schools in the U.S still practice exclusionary education?  Is it so pervasive that inclusive education is a new frontier?  What about the “No Child Left Behind” policy.  Oh yeah.  That’s a bit of an oxy-moron.

Perhaps the title of this news clip should be “U.S Schools Struggle to Embrace Diversity”.

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Perspective

“There are no facts, only interpretations.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

A highly debatable quote. Can it be applied to every situation in life? Is it a cop-out or a profound perspective?

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Indiana teacher wants straight prom because LGBT people have no ‘purpose’

A special education teacher from Sullivan, Indiana is joining a group of students, parents and other Christians in the community who are calling for a prom that bans LGBT people because she says they have no “purpose in life.”

“We don’t agree with [homosexuality],” special education teacher Diana Medley told the station. “It’s offensive to us.”

 

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A Long Struggle for Equality in Schools

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Rubin Salter, a lawyer, has been representing black plaintiffs in a Tucson desegregation lawsuit for almost four decades.

“Looking back at the school desegregation case he took as a young lawyer, Rubin Salter Jr. sees a pile of wasted money and squandered opportunities. After almost four decades in court and nearly $1 billion in public spending, little has changed for the black children whose right to a good education he had labored to defend.

They are still among the lowest-performing students in the Tucson Unified School District, still among the most likely to be suspended or to be assigned to special-education programs and still among the least likely to join groups for gifted students. They are, as Mr. Salter put it, ‘still getting the short end of the stick.'”

According to this article, superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District, John J. Pedicone, states that “the plan to desegregate includes strategies like better recruitment and training for teachers, more dual-language programs and more magnet schools. It also suggests re-engineering the curriculum to add cultural references familiar to black and Latino students, opening the doors for another political fight in a district still scarred over the end of a popular program focusing on the Mexican-American perspective that the state outlawed for being antiwhite.”

The plan to “desegregate” sounds just like good teaching to me.  I’m curious as to what the term “magnet schools” mean and what kind of ‘popular program’ focused on antiwhite perspectives.

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“Magnet Schools” – web definitions:

  • In education in the United States, magnet schools are public schools with specialized courses or curricula. “Magnet” refers to how the schools draw students from across the normal boundaries defined by authorities (usually school boards) as school zones that feed into certain schools.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnet_school

 

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Rylee Mackay, 15, Banned From Class For Red Hair Color

MacKay was sent home from school and told not to return until she dyed her hair to meet school district policy. Such regulations require that student hair color “be within the spectrum of color that grows naturally,” according to the report.

Would you kick a student out of class for sporting distracting hair?

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Should empathy be explicitly taught in the classroom?

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Fly Away Home

Fly Away HomeHow many times have we read Eve Bunting’s Fly Away Home to our class because of its message, yet neglecting to fully connect its themes (homelessness and poverty) to our own lives and that of our students?  Is the topic too grim?  Does poverty and homelessness exist in your culture? Or, perhaps you have a student who knows these issues all to well.

Can we as teachers help our students understand these issues more critically at both the local and global level?  Could this be an issue your students act on within your own communities?  At what age?  To what extent?

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Souris students ‘stand up’ to bullying

Souris Consolidated School students can barely contain their excitement after taking a “Stand Up!” pledge against bullying in the school’s gymnasium Thursday.  Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald

photo_2267410_resizeAs a former teacher at Souris Consolidated, I am very proud to see such initiative and participation in what seems to be a never-ending struggle and global phenomenon. As I focus more on critical literacy activities within my new school I would be interested to know what approaches and activities were involved in this pledge.

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Loudmouth George and the New Neighbors by Nancy Carlson

Best5304113selling author-illustrator Nancy Carlson has gained an international audience for her vibrantly illustrated books about Harriet (a nervous golden retriever), Loudmouth George (a very self-assured rabbit), and the indomitable Louanne Pig.

One reader reviews this picture book by stating “Nancy Carlson has done an excellent job at both writing and illustrating this book about the how ugly prejudice towards other people is. Out of all of Nancy Carlson’s books, this book was the most effective in delivering a message about how ugly prejudice is as George dismissed his new next door neighbors because they were pigs and that was a powerful moment about how prejudice can blind your judgment of other people.”

Another reader states “While it’s important to teach children tolerance I found Loudmouth George’s behavior too self serving to the moral of the story. In the previous books from the series the plots aren’t so obvious, aiming instead for a subtle humor.  My daughter enjoyed the book more than I did although she didn’t ask for a re-read like she has with others in the series.”

Have you read Loudmouth George and the New Neighbors?

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