Category Archives: Education

Texas Teachers’ No Homework Policy Gaining Momentum (Even Parents Love It!)

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*Wow. Wow! Wow!!! Where in the world was this teacher when I was in school…at ANY grade level!? When second grade teacher Brandy Young wrote a note to parents informing them of a new policy where her students would have no homework for the entire year, no one clapped back. There was no, “What the heck?” No…”Let’s contact the school board”…No phone calls requesting a meeting to vent.

What there was, was a lot of… Hey, we think that’s a great idea.

Who’da thunk it?

The thousands of people sharing a post of the letter Young sent to parents. One of those parents uploaded it to Facebook telling how “Brooke is loving her new teacher already!”

Needless to say, the post has gone viral.

“After much research this summer, I am trying something new,” read the note from Young to parents of her second-graders. “I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your children to bed early.”

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I hope my teenaged grandson’s school adopts this policy. He works SO hard on homework….hours…even after a full day at school. Continue reading

Black Guest on C-SPAN Tells White Caller How ‘Not to Be Prejudiced’ (Watch)

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*When a white man called into C-SPAN to speak with Heather McGhee, an African American woman who was a guest on the show, and is president at Demos Action, a progressive public policy organization advocating for equality, he asked a question that I don’t believe he realized was profound. He asked, how can I get over being prejudiced? First of all, note that he said “prejudiced” not “racist.” We all know that the two words are different, as a racist is backed by a systematic power structure; whereas anyone can be prejudiced.

Even Black folks.

“I am a white man and I am prejudiced. The reason is it wasn’t something that I was taught, it was something I learned. I have these different fears and I don’t want my fears to come true.”

This is how the caller from North Carolina opened up the conversation.

He concluded with, “What can I do to be a better American?”

I was glad that McGhee, who was visibly moved by the callers words, opened her response to this man, thoughtfully, by acknowledging his honesty (and thanking him for it) in posing the question. And further, reminding him that it is precisely this question, or topic, that we in this country need to address. Continue reading

Gender is ‘Out’ — You’re Either ‘Student’ or ‘Scholar’ at Charlotte Schools

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*…unless you’re Transgender, that is.

Shakespeare once asked, what’s in a name? Well today’s unedited response might be, a whole helluva lot if it determines your sex! However, staff at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools have been told to no longer refer to students as “boys” or “girls.” Instead they must be addressed as “students” or “scholars.”

Well, I guess I get how this can now be so problematic. But I am sure these staffers are gonna need some time to acclimate to the new rule so I hope they won’t be tapped too badly if they slip up.

The new instruct, targeted to school principals and counselors, is actually to offer more support for transgender students, who, by the way, are to be addressed by their new, chosen gender.

Focus is also to be more directly placed on supporting these students; who may become the target of bullying due to their chosen role. And to this end, the staff has been provided training via a presentation entitled “Supporting Transgender Students.”

LifeSite refers to an opinion piece article by the Independent Journal Review (IJR) that says under the new guidelines a boy who dresses like a girl may go on all-girl overnight trips, literally sleeping with a girls team while “no one outside of those on a ‘need to know’ basis will know,” and “any school administrator who alerts the other girls without the consent of the student will presumably be disciplined.”

In other words, a student’s privacy usurps even a parent’s need to know; as included in the new list of guidelines is…

“A student’s transgender status is confidential.”

Continue reading

Glendale Suspect Caught, Now Kids Let’s Talk About ‘Strangers’

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*With the recent scare in Glendale, where a suspect made brazen attempts — twice within 30 minutes — to kidnap children in broad daylight, its time to revisit the conversation on teaching kids about strangers. Fortunately, the Glendale police made an arrest in the kidnapping case two days later, and Lisa Arnold, 52, is set to be in Glendale Municipal Court on attempted kidnapping charges on Tuesday.

Glendale police say they are relatively sure that Arnold is the same person in both attempts, so they are not looking for any other suspects. But they have yet to release a booking photo of her, saying the investigation is still ongoing.

“Any person that’s willing to stop a car … and approach a child is very dangerous,” Sgt. Robert William, Glendale PD

Arnold, and people like her, provide wake-up calls to parents when we least expect it. Though we hear stories about child abduction all the time, we never think its going to hit so close to home, and it shook the small Southern California city of Glendale to its core. In addition, because one of the attempts occurred close to a school, John Marshall Elementary, the Glendale Unified School District has asked parents to remain present whenever children are arriving or leaving the school grounds. And parents are telling their children to hold hands with siblings and others more than usual.

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Continue reading

South Central LA Community: ‘Add Your Story’ Workshops Announced

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LA’s award-winning Black Theatre company sponsors artist-in-the-community workshops featuring four produced playwrights.

*An artist-in-the-community series of workshops led by Ben Guillory and four of the Robey Theatre Company playwrights has been launched to provide story-telling tools and writing tips for LA’s South Central residents. According to Guillory, the idea is to recognize the community as “History Detectives”, digging for those stories you’ll never find in a history book, yet will never forget.

“We’re looking for everyday residents”,  Guillory continues, “even those who no longer live in the community, but who have been “witnesses” to history—our cultural history.”  Those stories define who we are—explaining where we were, once and informing where we find ourselves now, in and out of “the Community”.  The key to our success will be participation. Continue reading

Hmmm…Can you resist the urge to ‘Just Talk?’

 

Blah. Blah. Blah. And your point is?

With time comes growth. And with growth, what may have at one time been youthful arrogance is now replaced with a degree of wisdom. We are all on a continuing journey…The other day while I was out shopping, I heard a woman talking rather indirectly; to no one person in particular. She used the term “we” as if asserting that what she was feeling, and saying, applied to everyone like her.

For reasons of anonymity, I won’t share what she said.

No one in the immediate vicinity said anything to confirm or deny her statement(s); which could very easily be recognized as disparaging. And I continued to shop with my back towards her, so I did not see if anyone aligned with or against her visually (a smile, thumbs up, or look of disgust).

She went on and on until finally, she stopped talking. Continue reading

TNT Kids Corner: New Section Offers Kid-Friendly News & True Experiences…From Parents!

Bam Bam, August 2016
Hi, my name is Bam Bam and I am a 5-year-old Pit-bull mix. I am as lovable as I look. But don’t get it twisted. Trust me, it’s best that way. (Smiles)

*TRUE STORY ABOUT BAM BAM & THE FRIGHTENED LITTLE WABBIT

Bam Bam was agitated as usual whenever he senses a coyote outside in the yard. So, without hesitation, his gramma decided to let him outside. After all, it was safe because there is a big fence between the “coyote’s territory” and the safety of the family’s big back yard.

But lo and behold, as soon as gramma let the gorgeous hunk of a pit-bull mix outside, she glanced out the window to see that it wasn’t a coyote that their big, lovable but ferocious-looking dog was going after. It was a frightened little rabbit.

And with ears in alert mode, and paws moving triple-time, he was running for his life as the big dog chased him!

Bam Bam’s gramma immediately jumped up and ran outside screaming, “Bam Bam no! Come here! Bad doggie!”

But Bam Bam is stubborn and wants what he wants, when he wants it. So gramma had to call him several times before he finally came inside.

After she let him in, and had seen where the rabbit went, she headed back outside in that direction and stood there, talking to the rabbit (which she could not actually SEE at the time).

“Little rabbit,” she said, talking to the bushes she assumed he was hiding in, in her softest voice: “You’ve got to get out of here the same way you got in.” She continued, “You may not understand this, because that doggie is so much bigger than you, but he just wants to play. He doesn’t realize his strength.”

When there was no movement or sound, gramma waited a few minutes, then went back inside. But after a while, Bam Bam had to come out and do his business. So, assuming the little bunny was now long gone, gramma let the doggie out.

She was so scared that sweat was running down her face and under her arms.

Things seemed good for a minute. Bam Bam, now otherwise distracted, went in a totally different direction and did what he came out to do.

Poop.

But then he remembered…

He started sniffing all around the area. Continue reading

Sesame Street Legends May Not Be Leaving The Show After All (And There’s More…)

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Publish AFTER 2 p.m. Friday *Sometimes, I’m reminded that a voice — or chorus of voices — can make a difference.  And it’s times like that — like today — that I love my job.

Last week, I reported on the firing of three veteran Sesame Street cast members:  Roscoe Orman, who had played “Gordon” since 1974, along with actors who played “Bob” and “Luis”.  Bob had been on the show since its premiere in 1969.

Roscoe Orman, 72, who'd played "Gordon" on Sesame Street since 1974.
Roscoe Orman, 72, who’d played “Gordon” on Sesame Street since 1974.

The show’s producers said the terminations were part of an ongoing retooling of the show and its curriculum.  I (and dozens of other journalists) thought otherwise, particularly as everyone fired from the show was over 70.

A couple of days ago, I heard from Orman.  It seems that, in the wake of the extremely critical media coverage about the firings, the producers of Sesame Street are rethinking their decision and extending an olive branch to the legendary actors. Continue reading