Tag Archives: Schools

Smaller is better – for learning

smallschoolWho really thinks that large factory size schools where principals and teachers carry walkie-talkies to manage the place are better than small schools with fewer students in each class room?

If you’ve ever taught a class, or attended one, you know you can give or get more attention in a smaller class, and it’s hard for any son or daughter to get lost or hide from the teacher’s attention when the class is smaller.

We all know what drives the super-sized school is the uncontrolled residential development that, these days, burdens all manner of resources including whether our aquifers can continue to supply enough water for all the wells that will be necessary to serve the residential deluge as yet unbuilt.

We have folk, mostly elected, who rattle the budgetary sabre, threatening to close the small legacy schools, running them down, slandering them – in my opinion.

It’s a test of political wills, to see if the political class can cauterize the right-minded impulse of communities and parents who prefer that small schools educate our young.

What’s the proof that small schools are better? Continue reading

Taxes, Schools, and Sidewalks

Kids went to school one day this week. This marks the second week this winter where the Loudoun Schools have only been in session for one day. Many members of the community are incensed at the fact that our kids have been kept home so often this year. They complain that it is “just a little snow and cold,” and where they’re from originally, this kind of “wussiness” in the face of winter wouldn’t be tolerated.IcySidewalkTweet

Funny thing about that, though: Where they’re from originally, there is a long-standing local commitment to the public’s responsibility to take care of public infrastructure, like schools and transportation infrastructure, at the public’s expense. Here in Loudoun County, Republicans who run the Board of Supervisors and the School Board, not to mention those in the House of Delegates, have no such commitment. On the contrary, there is an attitude of “Starving the Beast” when it comes to public services and investment. As if our children’s education were a Beast of some sort.

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The Edge-Ucation Candidate – AG Cuccinelli

Our outgoing State Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, who wants to be Governor, got a fine higher education himself but, it appears, he hasn’t learned the value of an education for others, certainly not for our children.

We learned early on following his election as AG that he did not respect academic freedom.

Mr. Cuccinelli went after one university researcher’s studies of climate change, Professor Michael E. Mann, because Mr. Cuccinelli couldn’t believe that humans since the industrial revolution could have an adverse effect on climate change.

Having no evidence of any possible fraud, Mr. Cuccinelli simply subpoenaed a volume of Professor Mann’s private academic materials and correspondence, UVA resisted, and a state judge quashed Mr. Cuccinelli’s attack; so, the AG tried again and the Court said he was wrong again; the Washington Post wrote an editorial saying that Cuccinelli was “determined to embarrass Virginia.” Continue reading

Juvenile Injustice In Our Schools

Many students and parents are rightly upset that school principals, administrators and counselors conspire and combine with police assigned to the schools (called “resource officers”) to make schools more like prisons.

Police are assigned to almost every school with one principal function being to criminalize what used to be student discipline, to stigmatize young students, to compromise their futures – what schools they may attend and what jobs they may aspire to have.

Nor is this some informal arrangement between the school and the police.  It’s the law.  Virginia Code Annotated Section 22.1-279.3:1 spells out how student discipline at the school transmogrifies into a crime.

This offensive pincer movement, by which the state combines a school disciplinary action with a criminal prosecution has prompted righteous fury among students and parents for the students have been denied the basic protections any adult would enjoy in his defense. Continue reading

Just a kid!

I’m just a kid, 16 ½ years old.  The half year matters.  I’m getting older.  I play b-ball and f-ball at Park View High School and can palm a ball.  I like rap, rhyme and rhythm.  I’m kind of square.  I hang with great kids, no h8ers, and I’m blessed that they seem to like me.  My Mom and Dad are fine.  My Dad’s white and my Mom’s black.  So I’m like President Barack although I’m Caleb and my parents are race-reversed.  Like a verse I’d rehearse.  I’m a person of color but don’t feel that I’m treated differently.

We live in a nice home.  The other homes on Pullman Court are like ours – all nice – very much the same.

My friends joke I’m “black Irish” — so we’re going out tonight – to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.   It’s quiet in my house so I’m going to sneak out now, and go out with my friends.  I kind of know better.  But my parents must have done the same when they were my age.  Huck Finn did this kind of thing.  Right? Continue reading

“Tebow Bill” passed by House Reps; Intercepted by Senate Dems

Home school advocates are suffering buyer’s remorse and lately demand the right by legislation to select ala carte services from the public schools that they, by homeschooling, have pronounced unworthy to educate them.

Home school parents want the right by law for their home school students to play on the athletic teams of the schools that they have chosen to avoid.

Republican Delegate Rob Bell, from the 56th District, Albemarle County, authored what he called the “Tebow bill” to force every public school in the Commonwealth to allow homeschoolers to compete on public school teams even though they don’t attend the school.

The first fair concern is that Bell has widely characterized his proposal as the “Tebow bill” after the home-schooled Denver Bronco’s quarterback, Tim Tebow, who struck kneeling, fisted praying poses on the playing field when he scored.

Bell plays to that large fraction of the home schooling movement therefore that schools at home to avoid being taught, among other things, modern science that contradicts their fundamentalist beliefs that the Bible is to be understood literally and not as metaphor or allegory. Bell says he is a “committed supporter of home schooling.” Continue reading

Bill Fox’s bright idea

The Loudoun Times Mirror reports that conservative Leesburg School Board representative Bill Fox suggested a creative bit of growth in our local government – the procurement and maintenance of elementary school arsenals. For an initial outlay of $100K plus $50K annually we can outfit each elementary school with a gun safe, semi-automatic shotgun, and training in the “art” of lethal killing.

Prove to me why keeping a gun in each Loudoun County elementary school wouldn’t be a cheap and effective school shooting deterrent, asked School Board member Bill Fox (Leesburg), in the comment section of a TooConservative.com blog post titled “Since Nothing Else Works, Arm the Principals.”

If Mr. Fox’s suggestion is approved, there will need to be a mandatory assembly to inform students and parents of the new policy. Here is a draft of the LCPS presentation:

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Road spam and special rights: Two great tastes that taste great together?

Now this is really getting interesting. The new Board of Supervisors is apparently considering a motion to kill the volunteer illegal sign removal program, and it is not going over well with LI. I happen to agree; the program seems like a perfectly sensible way of dealing with the vexing problem of road spam.

“So in keeping with the overriding theme of this Board, paybacks, one of their first acts will be to kill this program as payback to those who helped fund their campaigns – the builders and developers and David Ramadan, and Godfather Dick Black as well. Here is the link to the staff report for this item, pay special attention to the motions at the end. They’re not doing this to keep things the way they are. This program costs Loudoun very little in minimal staff oversight, and provides its citizens with a great service – keeping our roadways safe and free of trash. But does that matter to this Board? Apparently not – this program ticks off their masters, so it must be done away with.”

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The first priority of the new School Board: sneer at human rights

Crossposted at Equality Loudoun

The very first action taken by the newly elected Loudoun County School Board was this:

Regarding the Virginia Human Rights Act:

“I move to amend the Board’s previously adopted Legislative Program by removing the recommendation to expand the protected classifications contained in the Virginia Human Rights Act, Code of Virginia §2.2-3900 and §2.2-3901, to include gender orientation and gender identity and to further amend the Code of Virginia §22.1-78 to allow local school boards to similarly expand the protected classifications contained in local school board policies and regulations and that Staff be directed to make such other changes to the Legislative Program as to conform to the Program language of this motion.”

[from page 5 of the adopted Legislative Program]

Motion: Mr. Kuesters
Second: Mr. Fox

Vote: 6-3-0 (Mr. Reed, Mrs. Bergel, and Mrs. Sheridan opposed)

The only reason for initiating such an action is ideological, and the idea in play is that gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender and gender variant youth are not deserving of having their human rights protected. The Wisconsin School District that was the subject of the film Bullied found out the hard and expensive way that this is not a good position for school boards to take. I hate to being up money when this is a fundamental moral issue, but unfortunately that’s the only language some people seem to understand.

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How to bully a girl into having an abortion, by Keith Deltano

Keith Deltano, a self described “Christian comedian“ is back.  On October 3, 2011, he’ll appear at Smarts Mill Middle School in Leesburg for anti-bullying assemblies and a parent meeting.  According to his secular anti-bullying web site,  “no workshop is complete without teaching parents how to protect their children form online porn and gambling as well as bullying.”  Why he discusses porn and gambling in an anti-bullying program is a puzzle.  He may not have any real bullying expertise, like this, or he may believe that these things;  bullying, gambling and porn are somehow related.  I hope somebody asks.

Deltano first visited in 2007 and caused a controversy when he humiliated students and provided inaccurate information and horrible parenting advice.  He told parents not to trust their kids.  He said that kids will lie to parents, so parents have to spy on them.  If I recall, he said “you know that cute Nemo toy?  Your kid will hide an SDRAM full of porn in there“.  He also instructed parents to humiliate their kids.  “If your daughter is listening to raunchy music, make her repeat all the words back to you.” Authoritarian instruction is a Deltano theme.  His methods don’t help parents open communication channels.  They close them down.

On his Christian Comedian web site, Deltano explains a bit more about himself (emphasis mine).

“Christian comedy is rarely used for its entertainment value alone. Event organizers have used Christian comedy as a tool for outreach, fundraisers, gospel presentations, youth events and to deal with specific issues that are important to the body of Christ. A short list of these issues would include sexual abstinence, overcoming drug and alcohol abuse, strengthening marriage, singles issues, and scriptural inerrancy and apologetics. The list is as long as the topics that challenge us all….

Or, one could look at the fruit of Christian Comedy to determine if it is a valid and God honoring evangelistic tool. I have witnessed, as have many others, thousands come forward at the end of a comedic presentation. (The presenting comedian is more serious during the conclusion of a gospel presentation.)  Am I a comedian or a funny Christian youth speaker?  Can I be both? Many Christian comedians have used their abilities to raise funds for Crises Pregnancy Centers throughout the country.”

This time around, Deltano will address bullying.  He’s well aquainted with the topic.  In his abstinence gig, he shames and humiliates students.  At one point he holds a cinder block over a prone male student’s crotch.  The Smarts Mill PTA and administration seem to think he’s a good investment.  Maybe we should trust them give him a second chance.  His bullying routine has some good content.  In Mean Girls, he describes bullying by exclusion.

“how do you decide who’s in and who’s out…that’s bullying…my value comes from who I am…I’m a Wal-Mart shopper and i’m proud…You cannot judge people by clothing and appearance you should never pick on people for their clothing and appearance”

He’s on to something.  Exclusion – making a person an outcast – is a form of bullying.  If I had one question for Keith Deltano, it would be:

If a student is told that she doesn’t or shouldn’t exists, is that bullying?”

Ask yourself that question as you watch Deltano’s Pregnant In The USA: Sex Sells video.  The featured photo shows Deltano imitating a girl’s unintended pregnancy.  “Sex sells” he says but the “result of sex“; pregnancy and disease, doesn’t.  His message is that a pregnant girl isn’t sexy.  She’s rather ugly.  Nobody wants her.  She has nothing to be proud of.  She’s not like a ”Wal-Mart shopper”.  She’s an outcast.  She’s in a shameful state.  She shouldn’t exist, at least not in his secular context.

If he switched to his ”Christian” context, she would no longer exist as an independent person.  She’d be a ward of the state, a vessel for the “most vulnerable member of society“.  But this is his secular show, so she’s just fat, ugly and shameful.

What message is Deltano sending to a real-world pregnant girl?  She’s a person who shouldn’t exist.  She’s going to get fat and ugly.

What option does she have to avoid the shame?  What’s the path of least resistance?

Abortion?

Thanks Keith!