Thursday, September 30, 2010

Student kills himself after gay sex footage put online

30 September 2010
Student kills himself after gay sex footage put online

A New Jersey college student has leapt to his death a day after authorities said two students secretly filmed him having sex with a man and broadcast it over the internet.

Tyler Clementi's wallet was found on the George Washington Bridge on 22 September after two witnesses saw someone jump from the structure, authorities told the AP news agency.

Mr Clementi's body has not been found.

Two students have been charged with illegally filming the 18-year-old.

"Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words," Paul Mainardi, a lawyer for Mr Clementi's family, said in a statement confirming the suicide.
Room-mate charged
Continue reading the main story
Iain Mackenzie BBC News, Washington

The tragic death of Tyler Clementi brings together two contentious issues - gay rights and cyber bullying.

Technology certainly seems to have been played a role in driving the teenager to kill himself. However, equality campaigners say the real problem is a culture where young homosexuals feel persecuted and marginalised.

A recent study of gay students suggests one in four is regularly harassed because of their sexual orientation.

For some, Tyler Clementi's suicide has put a human face to that statistic.

The footage was allegedly taken using a web camera in Mr Clementi's dorm room at Rutgers University and broadcast live over the internet.

The two charged with filming and broadcasting the images are Mr Clementi's room-mate, Dharun Ravi, and Molly Wei.

If convicted, the two students face up to five years in prison...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Census Finds Record Gap Between Rich and Poor

Census Finds Record Gap Between Rich and Poor

AOL News
Sept. 28, 2010

The income gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew last year to its widest amount on record as young adults and children in particular struggled to stay afloat in the recession.

The top-earning 20 percent of Americans - those making more than $100,000 each year - received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line, according to newly released census figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Keeping Great Teachers in the Classroom

See all posts re evaluating teachers.

September 22, 2010
Keeping Great Teachers in the Classroom
By Steve Owens

Teacher Leaders Network According to the United States Education Department, the country will need 1.6 million new teachers in the next five years. Yet a recent report by the nonprofit National Commission on Teaching and America's Future reports that “approximately a third of America’s new teachers leave teaching sometime during their first three years of teaching; almost half leave during the first five years. In many cases, keeping our schools supplied with qualified teachers is comparable to trying to fill a bucket with a huge hole in the bottom.”

With two-year alternative programs like Teach for America only able to fill part of the gap, the role of teacher retention in solving our massive recruitment task becomes a key question.

A new book by Katy Farber, Why Great Teachers Quit: And How We Might Stop the Exodus (Corwin), speaks powerfully to causes and cures for teacher attrition. It’s a book that is very much of the moment in contributing to the national education policy conversation. Farber wonders: What if we shrink the recruitment problem by stopping the hemorrhage?

In a recent speech in Arkansas, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said much the same thing:

"The Asia Society recently held an international symposium on teacher quality and they found that high-performing countries put much more energy into recruiting, preparing, and supporting good teachers—rather than on the back end by reducing attrition or firing weak teachers."...

[San Diego Education Report has long advocated
the recruitment and retention of good teachers as opposed to firing poor teachers.

Eight Bell leaders arrested on charges of misappropriating $5.5 million

See all posts re City of Bell scandal.

Eight Bell leaders arrested on charges of misappropriating $5.5 million
By Jeff Gottlieb, Ruben Vives and Jack Leonard
Los Angeles Times
September 22, 2010

Eight current and former Bell city leaders were arrested Tuesday on charges of misappropriating more than $5.5 million from the small, working-class community as prosecutors accused them of treating the city's coffers as their personal piggy bank.

The charges follow months of nationwide outrage and renewed debate over public employee compensation since The Times reported in July that the city's leaders were among the nation's highest paid municipal officials.

Among those charged was former City Manager Robert Rizzo, who led the way with an annual salary and benefits package of more than $1.5 million. Prosecutors accused him of illegally writing his own employment contracts and steering nearly $1.9 million in unauthorized city loans to himself and others.He was booked into Los Angeles County jail and was being held on $3.2-million bail.

"This, needless to say, is corruption on steroids," said Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley in announcing the charges.

Cooley described Rizzo as the "unelected and unaccountable czar" of Bell, accusing him of going to elaborate lengths to keep his salary secret. Prosecutors alleged that Rizzo gave himself huge pay raises without the City Council's approval.

"This was calculated greed and theft accomplished by deceit and secrecy," Cooley said...

At a news conference, Cooley accused City Council members of failing to oversee Rizzo's actions saying that they instead had collected more than $1.2 million in total pay since 2006 for presiding over city agency meetings that never occurred or lasted just a few minutes...

The Majestic Plastic Bag - A Mockumentary

The Majestic Plastic Bag - A Mockumentary
Click HERE to see video.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Can You Pay Students to Get Better Grades??

Erik Keith
September 13, 2010

Subject: Can You Pay Students to Get Better Grades??

I wanted to pass along the following excerpt from the recently released Freakonomics movie which explores incentivized education. In other words, can you pay students to get better grades in school? The Freakonomics movie hits theaters on October 1, 2010, and is currently available for iTunes download before its theatrical release HERE.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits

Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits
New York Times
September 6, 2010

Every September, millions of parents try a kind of psychological witchcraft, to transform their summer-glazed campers into fall students, their video-bugs into bookworms. Advice is cheap and all too familiar: Clear a quiet work space. Stick to a homework schedule. Set goals. Set boundaries. Do not bribe (except in emergencies).

And check out the classroom. Does Junior’s learning style match the new teacher’s approach? Or the school’s philosophy? Maybe the child isn’t “a good fit” for the school.

Such theories have developed in part because of sketchy education research that doesn’t offer clear guidance. Student traits and teaching styles surely interact; so do personalities and at-home rules. The trouble is, no one can predict how.

Yet there are effective approaches to learning, at least for those who are motivated. In recent years, cognitive scientists have shown that a few simple techniques can reliably improve what matters most: how much a student learns from studying.

The findings can help anyone, from a fourth grader doing long division to a retiree taking on a new language. But they directly contradict much of the common wisdom about good study habits, and they have not caught on.

For instance, instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention. So does studying distinct but related skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single thing.

“We have known these principles for some time, and it’s intriguing that schools don’t pick them up, or that people don’t learn them by trial and error,” said Robert A. Bjork, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Instead, we walk around with all sorts of unexamined beliefs about what works that are mistaken.” ...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

SDUSD and Mark Bresee tell parents that public school is free

September 1, 2010
District message to parents: Public school is free

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - Thousands of San Diego students head back to school next week, and getting a child ready can be expensive. But if your child attends public school, it's supposed to be free. It's a message that the San Diego Unified School District wants parents to know.

Physical Education uniforms are selling fast at De Portola Middle School in Tierrasanta one week before school begins, $22 for a pair of short and a t-shirt with the school's logo. The principal says uniforms are required.

"Having a PE uniform is very important because kids try to come on campus and blend in, so it's a safety issue," principal Elizabeth Gillingham said.

Paying a fee for a school uniform is voluntary under state law. If a parent can't afford to pay, De Portola Middle School will provide a slightly used uniform for free. That's because public school is supposed to be free.

"There are lot of families out there that are struggling. They don't have the money. You have three children that have to purchase these uniforms, that's a lot of money," parent Sally Smith said.

Smith got tired of paying for calculators, school supplies and gym uniforms for her kids.

"Parents need to know that they don't have to pay for school supplies, and they don't have to tell anybody that it's because they can't afford to pay for it. It's their right to send their child to school and get a free education," she said.

Under California law, school districts cannot charge fees for things like cheerleading or sports uniforms, school supplies or musical instruments. On the other hand, districts can charge for things like bus transportation, food, field trips or damaged books. And if you ever feel pressure to pay a school fee, district officials want to hear from you.

"If you are told that you have to pay a fee for your child to participate in something, or take a class, that should be brought to our attention because that's not right," San Diego Unified Attorney Mark Bresee said.

Of course, schools are still allowed to ask for donations, with is perfectly legal.

"We are asking if a parent wants to donate to the class for the entire class, we are welcoming that," Gillingham said.

The San Diego Unified School District has posted school fee guidelines and frequently asked questions on its web site.

New video by Tim Leung and Gdawg teaches how to graph a line

This video begins with entertainment, then settles down to a clear and simple music-and-graphics demonstration of how to plot a line.
New version with graphics by Gdawg
The original song by Tim Leung
(over 5700 views now, mentioned on "So You Want to Teach")