Archive for November, 2009

North Carolina and California also raise college costs

We aren’t the only state socking it to college students:

From the New York Times:

The University of California Board of Regents was expected to approve a plan on Thursday to raise undergraduate fees — the equivalent of tuition — 32 percent by next fall, to help make up for steep cuts in state funding.

The state allocation for the 10-campus system, one of the leading public university systems in the nation, was cut $813 million, or 20 percent, this year, leading to a hiring freeze, furloughs and layoffs.

The impact on the University of California campuses has been dramatic: faculty hiring is not keeping up with enrollment demand, and many course sections have been eliminated. Instructional budgets are being reduced by $139 million, with 1,900 employees laid off, 3,800 positions eliminated and hiring deferred for nearly 1,600 positions, most of them faculty.

From the Triangle Business Journal:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees Thursday approved a …

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Student sex in the classroom: How is the teacher to blame?

I didn’t want to post this as I think poor Clayton schools have had more than enough negative publicity in the last few weeks, but a teacher friend said she thought it was a good topic and please put it out there for discussion.

In a nutshell, a Clayton teacher was suspended without pay because a 17-year-old current senior and a 2o-year-old former student – both in the building after hours for a drama practice – chose to have sex in his classroom.

Forest Park High School teacher Kevin Jones was suspended for 20 days without pay. He had been leading a drama club rehearsal after school with a 20-year-old Forest Park High graduate.

“The teacher left the classroom after he had informed the students they had to go home,” school spokesman Charles White said.

A short time later, a school administrator entered the classroom and found a 17-year-old female student having sex with the 20-year-old graduate, White said. The other students had left. (No criminal charges were filed as the …

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Facebook in the workplace: Take care on both sides

The Barrow County case has drawn comments and e-mails from around the country. Here is an astute note from a Californian in the information technology field.

I thought Andrew Karp raised compelling issues, and he was happy to allow me to post his comments. (Karp has a technology consulting firm,  Sierra Information Services, in Northern California.)

He writes:

Ashley Payne’s predicament is both upsetting and illustrative of the perils our “information society” faces.  Normative values for “privacy” and “appropriate conduct” are rapidly changing, largely fueled by Internet-based tools like social networking sites allowing near-instant access by others to our personal information, whether we like it or not.

My job as an independent information technology consultant and my personal experiences with the Internet inform my opinions about and reactions to Ms. Payne’s case.  She seems to have been done in by an anonymous predator who took innocuous information and images from her …

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“Ratted out” or not, Cherokee gun story had a good outcome.

I was going to strongly urge a rewording of the way the Cherokee County school spokesman explained how officials at Dean Rusk Middle School learned today that a 12-year-old-boy brought a gun and ammo to the Canton school. But the quote in the story was changed in the course of the day.

In the original posting of the story earlier today, the spokesman Mike McGowan was quoted as saying:

“He told a buddy who ratted him out.”

A reader sent me a note about the quote minutes after it appeared: ”Ratted? To quote my favorite AJC writer, Judas Priest!!! What the hell’s wrong with those people?”

In later stories, the “ratted” reference is gone, which I attributed to the spokesman recovering his sanity. We should never refer to kids who report classmates with guns as anything but heroes.

After I posted this originally Tuesday night, Cherokee spokesman Mike McGowan posted a response, which I am reproducing here. I didn’t understand what Mike was saying so I sent him an e-mail asking him …

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Regents turn to college students to cover budget cuts

As expected, public college students in Georgia will have to dig deeper to meet their bills next semester as the Regents grapple with new budget cuts.

Public college students including those at UGA will have higher fees next semester as a result of a Regents vote Tuesday.

Public college students including those at UGA will have higher fees next semester as a result of a Regents vote Tuesday.

AJC reporter Kristina Torres reports that the State Board of Regents voted this afternoon to double a mandatory student fee that, starting in January, will cost students up to an extra $100 per semester depending on which campus they attend.

Torres reports:

Regents instituted the fee last January, as the economy tanked and the state cut funding to Georgia’s University System. Now, university system officials said the state plans to cut an additional $41 million out of the higher education budget.

Increasing the student fee will make up about $24 million of that amount, according to the regents.

Students at Georgia’s research universities as well as Georgia Southern, Valdosta State, Georgia College and State, …

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Rural students in Georgia: Fewer than 6 in 10 will graduate

In a study released today, Georgia emerges as one of the worst states for educating and graduating rural high school students. This ought to concern rural legislators, few of whom have risen up to complain about cuts to education.

More than half a million public school students in Georgia attend rural schools, nearly one-third of all students in the state, according to the new study "Why Rural Matters 2009."

More than half a million public school students in Georgia attend rural schools, nearly one-third of all students in the state, according to the new study "Why Rural Matters 2009."

In fact, this ought to concern all of us as we have many rural students in Georgia.  We are third in the nation in rural school enrollment. Yet, we are in the bottom five in the rural high school graduation rate.

More than half a million public school students in Georgia attend rural schools, nearly one-third of all students in the state, according to the new study “Why Rural Matters 2009.”

In its summary about Georgia, the Rural School and Community Trust study also states, “Rural schools and districts are among the largest in the U.S., graduation rates are lower than all …

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Study notes higher achievement among students with disabilities

One of the adages in business is that things that matter get measured. Even critics of No Child Left Behind concede that the data demands in the sweeping federal law prompted schools to pay attention to the kids in the back row who used to sleep through class.

A new study suggests that schools may be making headway with students with disabilities.

According to the Center on Education Policy:

Since 2006, more states have shown gains than declines in the performance of students with disabilities on reading and mathematics tests, according to a new report by the Center on Education Policy. The report cautions, however, that imprecise data make it difficult to obtain a clear picture of achievement for this group of students.

The report — State Test Score Trends Through 2007-08: Part 4. Has Progress Been Made in Raising Achievement for Student with Disabilities? – analyzes trends in the reading and math performance of students with disabilities from 2006 to 2008 at three …

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No wine on Facebook, no mimosas at wedding shops: Welcome to the new temperance movement

Ok, this has nothing to do with education, but I am wondering if we are seeing a new temperance movement in Georgia between this news story out of West Point and the flap in Barrow over the teacher posting Facebook photos of herself sitting with a glass of wine and mug of beer while on vacation in Europe.

A West Point councilwoman has been arrested after police say they spotted her serving mimosas at a bridal shop she owns in Columbus. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports Monday that 41-year-old Judy Wilkinson was handcuffed in front of about 25 customers around 2:30 p.m. Saturday during a showing at Formal Elegance.

A police officer pretended to be shopping for a tuxedo at the store and saw the drinks made of champagne and orange juice being served.

Police say she broke two city ordinances pertaining to possessing alcohol at a business location without a liquor license.

A hearing on the charges was postponed until Tuesday after Wilkinson’s attorney asked the city to supply a …

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Did Clayton teacher threaten student over being gay or did joke go too far?

Clayton is back in school news with a strange story about a teacher charged with threatening a 16-year-old student because he was gay.

He was also accused of joking about putting a “hit” on the 11th grader. The story raises issues about what is appropriate banter with students and how far teachers can go in “joking” with teens.

On Tuesday, a three-member tribunal was asked to recommend that the county Board of Education fire Randolphe Forde, 33, over the incidents. Clayton School Superintendent Edmond T. Heatley told the tribunal that he reviewed staff reports and believes Forde should be fired, saying “educators have a higher responsibility than most.”

While Forde did not attend the personnel hearing, his attorney made the argument that Forde was kidding in whatever was said and that his students knew that.

According to the AJC story:

The 11th-grader, who turns 17 Wednesday, testified that Forde pulled him out of algebra class one day and asked him twice whether he was gay. …

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Teachers and Facebook: “Don’t do it.”

I asked Tim Callahan of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators about teachers and Facebook in the wake of the messy Barrow County case in which a young teacher resigned after her principal discovered that she had posted Facebook photos of herself drinking in Europe and had posted the word “bitch” as in “I am going to play Crazy Bitch Bingo.”

(See my earlier posts on this if you are unaware of the story. Ashley Payne is now suing and the case has sparked hundreds of comments here at Get Schooled, most in her support.)

Callahan told me:

“We have talked to teachers about their expectations of privacy in this new world. As American citizens, they have a First Amendment Right to have a Facebook page, but we are telling them, ‘Don’t do it.”’

In my interview with Payne last week, she said her teacher pals are frightened after what happened to her.

“My colleagues are scared to death because they are afraid that this is some strange witch hunt. Most of them have changed …

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