NY Education

RFP Posted: Assessment of Homeless ...

RFP Posted: Assessment of Homeless Education Programming for McKinney-Vento Grantee Districts

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking proposals to design and conduct a statewide assessment of homeless education programs supported by McKinney-Vento grant funding. The study will focus on promising features of program implementation at the LEA level; outcomes for students experiencing homelessness; and academic and social-emotional program supports and resources provided by NYSEDís Homeless Education current technical assistance vendor, NYS-TEACHS.
News and Notes: New Professional De...

News and Notes: New Professional Development Materials

News and Notes: New Professional Development Materials
Funding Opportunity: 2014-15 Title ...

Funding Opportunity: 2014-15 Title I School Improvement Section 1003(a) - Basic School Improvement Grant Application

Section 1003(a) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires that State Education Agencies allocate funds to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) for Title I Priority and Focus Schools to meet the progress goals in their District Comprehensive Improvement Plan and School Comprehensive Education Plan(s) (DCIP/SCEP) and thereby improve student performance. These funds are to be used to support implementation of school improvement activities identified through the Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness (DTSDE) reviews or a school review with district oversight and included in the DCIP/SCEP.
RFP Posted: Special Education Media...

RFP Posted: Special Education Mediation Technical Assistance Center

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) P-12 Office of Special Education is seeking proposals to provide annual training to approximately 125 individuals who serve as New York State special education mediators, promote the use of special education mediation, provide reimbursement of mediation administrative costs to the Stateís twenty one (21) Community Dispute Resolution Centers (CDRCs) and to collect and report data on the number and type of special education mediation sessions conducted throughout the State. NYSED seeks applicants for mediation training (Part I) with documented experience and expertise in alternative dispute resolution processes in special education and for data collection (Part II) with demonstrated experience in the collection and reporting of statewide data.
RFP Posted: State Performance Plan ...

RFP Posted: State Performance Plan Indicator 8; Parent Survey for Special Education Consumer Satisfaction

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Special Education is seeking proposals for the distribution, collection and analysis of a parent survey relating to special education.
RFP Posted: Evaluation of Categoric...

RFP Posted: Evaluation of Categorical Bilingual Education Programs

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking proposals to design, develop, and conduct evaluations of all Categorical Bilingual Education Programs funded by New York State and managed by the Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies (OBE-FLS). The selected vendor will design and develop protocols to assess implementation and effectiveness of all programs. Due to the variety of goals and objectives of each program to be evaluated, in addition to protocols that can be used for all programs (demographic data, evaluation elements that are common to all programs, etc.), each program is likely to also require evaluation components that are specific to that programís evaluation (See Attachment C).


Essay on how tenure-track faculty m...

Essay on how tenure-track faculty members should treat adjuncts

Patrick Iber, working off the tenure track, considers the basics on how those who have tenure-track security should treat those who don't.

Essay on how to succeed on academic...

Essay on how to succeed on academic job market while A.B.D.

Melissa Dennihy offers advice on how to juggle the tasks.

Essay on how to succeed on academic...

Essay on how to succeed on academic job market while A.B.D.

Melissa Dennihy offers advice on how to juggle the tasks.

Essay on how to get the most out of...

Essay on how to get the most out of a conference

Conference coming up? Mandi Stewart offers tips for making the most of it.

How to know when to give up a facul...

How to know when to give up a faculty job at a religious college

Brandon Withrow, discussing his own experience, describes how to tell if the time has come to give up a full-time job at a Christian college.

Essay on the mismatch between gradu...

Essay on the mismatch between graduate programs at research universities and hiring needs at most colleges

Paula Krebs writes about the need for graduate programs at research universities to learn about the colleges that will actually employ their new Ph.D.s.

BBC News Education

Call to scrap term-time holiday ban

Call to scrap term-time holiday ban

Council leaders call for a more "common-sense approach" to term-time holidays.
Employers condemn student visa rule...

Employers condemn student visa rules

Universities and business leaders call for changes in student visa rules, but the immigration minister says their criticisms are based on "myths".
Fewer teenagers got five good GCSEs

Fewer teenagers got five good GCSEs

New data shows fewer teenagers got five good GCSEs, including English and maths, this year amid major changes to the exams system.
'Anti-extremism' school code shelve...

'Anti-extremism' school code shelved

The Department for Education has shelved plans for a code of practice for some religious schools which operate outside of mainstream education, the BBC learns.
Graduates 'pay fees to universities...

Graduates 'pay fees to universities'

Graduates should pay their university a proportion of their future earnings rather than taking out loans, a report by a free-market think tank suggests.
Police 'let down' abuse-risk childr...

Police 'let down' abuse-risk children

A whistleblower tells the BBC hundreds of people at risk of sexual exploitation in Sheffield were let down by police.

US Govt Dept of Education

U.S. Department of Education Announ...

U.S. Department of Education Announces Upcoming Cities on its First-Ever School Environment Listening Tour for Native American Students

The White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education (WHIAIANE) has announced additional locations it will visit during its first-ever School Environment Listening Tour.
U.S. Education Department Announces...

U.S. Education Department Announces Final Rule to Strengthen Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program

The Department of Education announced publication of a final rule to strengthen the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program today helping more students and families pay for college, and ensuring they have the tools and resources to make informed decisions about financing their educa
Bullying of Students with Disabilit...

Bullying of Students with Disabilities Addressed in Guidance to America?s Schools

As part of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today issued guidance to schools reminding them that bullying is wrong and must not be tolerated—including against America's 6.5 million students with disabilities.
Highlighting Hispanic Education Yea...

Highlighting Hispanic Education Year-Round

It?s the middle of October. The leaves are changing colors, baseball playoffs are under way, and Hispanic Heritage month ? celebrated each year from September 15 to October 15 ? just came to close.
Getting Assessment Right to Support...

Getting Assessment Right to Support Students, Educators and Families

The following op-ed piece by Secretary Duncan originally appeared in the Washington Post on Oct. 17. Secretary Duncan addressed the issue of getting assessment right in conjunction with an Oct.
Community Colleges: Helping the U.S...

Community Colleges: Helping the U.S. Become ?First in the World?

About three-quarters of college students in this country attend a community college or public university. President Obama understands the crucial role that community colleges play in helping students and our nation skill up for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.


College prep tests go missing for 2...

College prep tests go missing for 200 students

College prep tests go missing for 200 studentsNearly 200 high school students are on edge after their college prep test scores were lost.

Teachers occupy Acapulco city hall ...

Teachers occupy Acapulco city hall over missing students

People march in protest in Acapulco, Guerrero state, on October 17, 2014Around 100 teachers occupied the city hall of the Mexican tourist resort of Acapulco to demand authorities find dozens of students who disappeared nearly a month ago. "We demand to see alive the 43 victims of kidnapping by the authorities," said Walter Anorve, spokesman for the CETEG radical wing of the teachers' union. Anorve told AFP that the authorities were "delaying the process, while families are awaiting anxiously with uncertainty" since the night the youths disappeared on September 26 in the town of Iguala, which shares the state of Guerrero with Acapulco. Protesters torched the Iguala city hall Wednesday, while nearly 50,000 people marched in Mexico City.

Congressman should have been 'more ...

Congressman should have been 'more sensitive' in suicide remarks: spokesman

By Steve Quinn JUNEAU (Reuters) - A U.S. congressman should have taken a more "sensitive approach" when talking about teen suicide to a group of Alaska high school students he was addressing after a classmate recently took his own life, a spokesman said on Wednesday. Representative Don Young, a Republican, was answering questions on Monday from an initially friendly crowd of students and teachers at Wasilla High School when the politician said suicide can be attributed to a lack of support from family and friends, principal Amy Spargo said. ...
Cosign of the Times: The Rich Are B...

Cosign of the Times: The Rich Are Borrowing to Pay for College Too

Government grants and student loans notwithstanding, paying for college isn?t easy if you?re poor or working-class. When the affluent and the rich struggle with the same issues, however, the problems?spiraling college tuition coupled with the impact of the Great Recession?become a lot more obvious.†
Is Iowa's Joni Ernst a pragmatist o...

Is Iowa's Joni Ernst a pragmatist or a partisan? The Senate's balance of power could hinge on the answer

The contest between Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst and Rep. Bruce Braley is one of the closest Senate races in the country. And whether Iowans believe her claim that she is a middle-of-the-road Republican conservative who likes to solve problems ? rather than a tea party candidate who wants to impeach President Barack Obama and abolish the Department of Education and the IRS ? will decide the race and possibly determine which party controls the Senate.
14 to be charged after fight at New...

14 to be charged after fight at Newark High School

14 to be charged after fight at Newark High SchoolMore than a dozen high school students are facing charges in Delaware after a series of fights inside their school.


Let parents take kids out of school...

Let parents take kids out of school to beat half term holiday costs, LGA says

Local council leaders have urged the Government to let up on its attempts to stop parents taking their children out of school during term time.

First fall in pupils gaining top GC...

First fall in pupils gaining top GCSE passes

The percentage of pupils obtaining the GCSE benchmark of five A* to C passes including maths and English has fallen for the first time, an official breakdown of this summer?s results has revealed.

Pushy parents putting children as y...

Pushy parents putting children as young as three into private tutoring to win prep school places

Children as young as three are being traumatised by the strain of private tutoring to get them into the best prep schools, the head of a leading tutoring agency has warned.

Nursery-age children ?should get to...

Nursery-age children ?should get tooth-brushing lessons?

Nursery-age children should be given lessons in how to brush their teeth to counter a worsening dental health crisis in the most socially disadvantaged sections of the population, experts have said.

More girls opting for science in sc...

More girls opting for science in school, BTEC results show

Science is no longer being seen as a traditional male subject in Britain?s schools, according to new vocational exam figures.

Nick Clegg launches bid to win teac...

Nick Clegg launches bid to win teachers back to the Lib Dem fold

Nick Clegg will heap praise on public sector workers today as he tries to rebuild bridges with them before next May?s general election.

Education Week

Court: Police can't use teen's alco...

Court: Police can't use teen's alcohol admission

Most voucher students came from pri...

Most voucher students came from private schools

NY state to review schools' immigra...

NY state to review schools' immigration compliance

Treasurer race draws education fund...

Treasurer race draws education funding concerns

Montana applies for $40M pre-kinder...

Montana applies for $40M pre-kindergarten grant

Education board OKs budget request ...

Education board OKs budget request for teacher pay


The Role of Campus Leadership in En...

The Role of Campus Leadership in Ensuring IT Accessibility

“Everyone should have an opportunity to participate in higher education.”

With those words, Michael K. Young, President of the University of Washington, opens a new video from his institution’s AccessComputing Project, IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say. Developed with support from the National Science Foundation, this video presents university presidents, chief information officers, and other higher education leaders who stress the importance to higher education of accessibility for persons with disabilities, and of having campus technology environments that support it.

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The Game is Changing. What Will Be ...

The Game is Changing. What Will Be Expected of You?

“When we were doing our studies for the National Academies, the typical first response of university presidents or CFOs or provosts was to say: ‘I understand things are changing very rapidly, but I'll ask my CIO to take care of it. The CIO usually can.’ We would then ask: ‘Suppose you wake up in the morning and come in to your office and nothing works anymore. You can't access e-mail. All of your course systems have collapsed. Who fixes the problem?’ They begin to scratch their heads, and pretty soon it's like the five phases of grief. They start off with denial and anger, move through bargaining and depression, and finally reach acceptance.” — James J. Duderstadt, Change and the Research University

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The Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012

The Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012

EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues, 2012

The EDUCAUSE annual publication of top IT issues has long resonated as a yearly snapshot of the most pressing issues for IT leaders in higher education. At the top of list for 2012:

Updating IT professionals’ skills and roles to accommodate emerging technologies and changing IT management and service delivery models Supporting the trends toward IT consumerization and bring-your-own device Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy


Below are the EDUCAUSE Review article summarizing the IT Issues Panel's findings for 2012 and accompanying resources.

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Tune In June 5 -- Rolling Out a BYO...

Tune In June 5 -- Rolling Out a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program

This free hour-long session, “Rolling Out a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program,” will offer ideas, sample policy statements and guidelines, and lessons learned for campuses interested in implementing a BYOD strategy for mobile devices on campus.

Those unable to attend may wish to visit the archives after the event or browse related resources.

Interact on Twitter at #EDULive.

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Get Involved with EDUCAUSE -- Volun...

Get Involved with EDUCAUSE -- Volunteer Submissions Are Due June 1

As someone who has a vested interest in higher education IT, you are part of a dynamic and close-knit community where we share new ideas, network with peers, and work toward the common good of the profession.

EDUCAUSE provides opportunities to be an active member by volunteering in a variety of roles, either short- or long-term, throughout the year. These opportunities include:

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Is Agile the Future of Project Mana...

Is Agile the Future of Project Management?

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2012, agile development methods will be used on 80 percent of all software development projects. Project Management Institute’s research shows that agile project management tripled from December 2008 to May 2011, and can help decrease product defects, improve team productivity, and increase business value.

Read the latest article release on agile project management from the Project Management Institute.

To help you apply project management processes at your organization, EDUCAUSE members have access to a selection of professional development resources:

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The Attempts by the School Board of...

The Attempts by the School Board of Jefferson County, Colorado to Erase Significant Chunks of Our Nations' History Has Not Gone Unnoticed

The attempts by the school board of Jefferson County, Colorado to erase significant chunks of our nations' history has not gone unnoticed. I want to make it perfectly clear to the people behind this movement that this will never happen in New Jersey as long as I am Senate President. History should not be rewritten or reinterpreted because of an ideological agenda. We want young people to learn the truth about our history. We learn from our history and it can guide us to do more and to do better. The Jefferson County school board attempted to re-write the history books to teach students the "benefits of the free-enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights" while omitting events that "encourage or condone civil disorder or social strife." As an ironworker who was born and raised in a proud union house, I find this attempt to be despicable. It is abundantly clear that this agenda is being pushed by the newly elected right wing members of the school board and is in line with the radical Republican agenda in Washington. From the time this new majority of the school board took office, they have been waging a fight against teachers and unions. Language like "free-enterprise system" is code for anti-union and their attitudes and their actions are consistent with their rhetoric. This attempt to cleanse from history anything conservatives find objectionable repudiates everything our Founding Fathers believed. The Declaration of Independence, potentially the single most important document ever written, was a clear objection of English Authority over the colonies. The Declaration states: "That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it." Without efforts of Civil Disobedience and empowerment of those oppressed, our country would not have freed the slaves, allowed non-land owners to vote, given women a right to vote, passed the New Deal, or passed Civil Rights Laws. It is only when the citizens of this great country have followed the words of the Declaration that the country has moved forward. Preventing our students from studying subjects like slavery, the New Deal, women's liberation, civil rights, the Great Depression, and the Trail of Tears won't make them more patriotic. It will make them less prepared for college, uninformed of their nations' history and ill prepared to think critically. The beauty of history is that it allows students the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills in ways that most courses could never come close. These skills are developed and sharpened by being presented opposing views of people and events and drawing your own conclusions based on the facts at hand. This is what we are all required to do in order to assimilate and find success in life. In New Jersey, I have made education one of the chief priorities from the moment I sought elected office. From building national model schools for the disabled as a Gloucester County Freeholder, to pushing for passage of the Dream Act and fighting to make college more affordable, I have always put education at the forefront. I believe it is incumbent upon our teachers and our educators, my son now among them, to present history in a way that is impartial and unbiased in order to allow students the opportunity to think for themselves and examine all sides of an issue. Those are skills that will serve them well throughout their entire life regardless of what profession they choose. The school board in Jefferson County essentially wanted to eliminate any conflict or controversy in United States History. That's unfortunate, because part of what makes this nation so great is precisely the history of how we have arrived at this point. It isn't always pretty and that's the point. ________________ Senate President Steve Sweeney represents the Third Legislative District, which includes portions of Gloucester and Cumberland counties and all of Salem County. First elected to the New Jersey Senate in 2001, Senator Sweeney has been reelected four times. He was chosen by the Democratic Majority to lead the Senate in the 214th Legislature in 2009, and took the oath as Senate President on January 12, 2010. Senate President Sweeney entered public service after his daughter was born with Down syndrome. He was horrified at the manner in which individuals with disabilities were treated and set out to make a difference not just in his daughter's life, but in lives of those in his community. Follow Senate President Sweeney @NJSenatePres
Black Women Less Biased Against "Ma...

Black Women Less Biased Against "Masculine" STEM Fields

By: Isabella Ordaz What do Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and even Bill Nye the Science Guy all have in common? They are white guys. STEM fields are infamous for lacking females and people of color participants, but maybe not for long. According to a study published by the American Psychology Association, black women are less likely to hold subconscious sexist stereotypes about STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields than white women. The authors conducted their research with 1,108 students from various universities across the nation for each different study conducted. Professor Laurie O'Brien of Tulane University, one of the main researchers on the study, spoke to Youth Radio in more depth about the findings. "Stereotypes are such a pervasive problem because they affect not only what people are interested in, but they also affect the attitudes of teachers and parents," O'Brien said. O'Brien explained that the research team measured gender biases in black and white women through conscious and unconscious testing. The researchers asked all the women†to what extent they felt that people in general associated STEM with masculinity. The responses were the same for both black and white women: they †felt that people heavily associated STEM with masculinity. The research team then tested participants at an unconscious level through an implicit association test. They were able to look at the way the participants internally felt about STEM gender biases. The responses, this time, were different. "These implicit stereotypes showed kind of a different picture," O'Brien said. "That's where we found that black women were less likely to hold stereotypes associating science with men as compared to white women." It seems surprising that black women, who might be considered at a dual disadvantage in the STEM world, generally feel more confident than white women while approaching these fields. One theory presented in the study is that perhaps African American culture does not view STEM in the hyper-masculine lens that Euro-American culture does. In African American culture, traits associated withworking in the field, such as †independence and assertiveness, may not be considered unfeminine. "We aren't saying that just because black women are more interested in science, they won't face racism in those fields," O'Brien said. "I think we kind of need more research [on this]. Our study just focused on gender and gender stereotypes." O'Brien told Youth Radio that internalized gender biases may be constructed by multiple sources, including the the presence of visible models of what type of people excel in STEM. "Our stereotypes can also be shaped by media. You have shows on TV like The Big Bang Theory, which is about a group of young men who are scientists, and the central characters on the show who are in science are all men," O'Brien said. "If you're starting college, and you start taking math and science courses, and most of your professor are either white or male, that could actually create stereotypes about what type of people do science."   Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe. Youth Radio/Youth Media International (YMI) is youth-driven converged media production company that delivers the best youth news, culture and undiscovered talent to a cross section of audiences. To read more youth news from around the globe and explore high quality audio and video features, visit Youthradio.org
Addressing the Student Debt Crisis:...

Addressing the Student Debt Crisis: We Can Do More to Encourage Responsible Borrowing

We are all aware of the growing student loan crisis -- $1.2 trillion in student loans, alarming default rates and average debt amounts rising every year. While Washington is working to find ways to alleviate the burden of staggering student debt, and some institutions are experimenting with innovative ways -- like competency-based education -- to make college more affordable, we must also do more to encourage responsible borrowing. Colleges and universities need to take the lead on this, and while there are some government restrictions on what we can do, there are some relatively simple things we can do that can make a real difference. The Responsible Borrowing Initiative at WGU is a case in point. Like all universities serving nontraditional students, WGU has a large number of students who borrow money to pay tuition and defray their costs while they attend college--about 75percent of the student body. And while the average debt at graduation for our students earning bachelor's degrees (of those borrowing) is substantially lower than the national average, until recently, it was following the national trend and creeping up. We wanted to reverse this trend, and we have. In the past year, our Responsible Borrowing Initiative has reduced total borrowing by WGU students by $45 million, even as the university's enrollment grew by 18 percent during the same period. Adjusting for growth, this represents a reduction in student borrowing of $93 million. How did we do this? We simply gave our students more information. Here's how it works: All students who complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) receive a "shopping sheet," a form created by the U.S. Department of Education. The sheet provides each student with a breakout of their tuition and fees, grants and scholarships, and student loan eligibility. But the WGU version of this sheet is slightly different. In addition to showing the maximum amount the student is eligible to borrow, our shopping sheet lists a recommended amount. The recommended amount equals direct costs (tuition and fees) minus any grants or scholarships the student is receiving. It includes a note stating that this is a recommended amount and that the student may be eligible for a different amount, and instructs the student to contact the university's financial aid office for more information. While students can call and arrange to borrow up to their maximum eligible amount, most, about 75 percent, choose to borrow only the recommended amount. In just over 12 months, average borrowing per student (of those students who borrow) has decreased from $7,870 to $4,785 , a reduction of 39 percent. While this initiative has made a measurable difference in borrowing at WGU, some simple changes in government policy and administration are also needed to encourage responsible borrowing across all institutions. First, the FAFSA as well as the Award Letter and Financial Aid Shopping Sheet should be simplified and should show recommended borrowing amounts. Second, these documents should make it easier for students to understand their financial aid eligibility by providing them with a simple lookup table. Using income and family size, the table would inform students of their loan and grant eligibility early in the process. Third, cost of attendance, which is currently used to help determine the amount students are eligible to receive or borrow, should be eliminated, and students should be granted a set amount, regardless of institution. This will provide students with a fixed amount to spend at an institution of their choice. Awarded funds should carry over, so students can mix and match institutions and apply them to graduate school. Much like health savings accounts, this approach will encourage students and parents to be smart shoppers. We need to do all we can to encourage responsible borrowing. For so many students, particularly nontraditional students, student loans are the only way to pay for college. As educators, we owe it to them to make sure that they understand the implications of borrowing. Students and their parents need to look at direct costs and borrow only what they need. And, to make the biggest impact, we need to find more ways to make college affordable.
Taking a Break From the Negative

Taking a Break From the Negative

This coming weekend close to 30,000 of NYC's 8th (as well as some 9th) graders will be taking the specialized high school test (SHSAT), trying to earn seats at one of the city's eight specialized high schools, some of the top institutions not just in the city but country. The original three: Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech and Bronx Science have been renowned for decades not just for the rigorous educations they provide but the notable graduates they nurtured. Much has been written in the press lately about the lack of diversity at these schools, even though several of them are remarkably diverse. Politicians in Albany are currently working to overturn a law that's been in place for over 40 years and has protected the legacy of these schools and their purely merit-based admittance. The mayor is trying to change the test itself, in spite of the aforementioned law, as that would be the magic bullet to raise the ratio of certain currently underrepresented ethnic groups in the mix. These proposed changes are now being used by politicians on both sides: both in support of or against them, to curry favor with voters. The diversity angle has been usurped by the mayor as a platform to deflect attention from profound systematic discrepancies between poorly performing and successful elementary and middle schools. More attention is being paid to the parameters of the test than to the preparation of the students themselves who are or aren't a scoring seats and how perhaps how the playing field can be leveled. Let's step away from rhetoric of the moment and acknowledge the kids who will be sitting for this difficult test. The 30,000 young teens who are striving for rigorous study and challenging education as an option. The kids who studied, some for months, some for years, some with test prep classes, some with tutors, some with workbooks on their own, dedicating countless hours to improving their chances. Here these kids are, from a range of middle schools, all putting themselves up to the challenge of not only getting in, but spending the next four years dedicating themselves to learning and to preparing themselves well for college. Let's acknowledge the families of these hard-working kids, who supported them in their educational quest. Families from all five boroughs, many recently hailing from a veritable United Nations of countries, running the gamut of economic backgrounds. Families at or below the poverty level (at Brooklyn Tech this year where my daughter is a junior, 64 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch). Families that do not speak English at home and yet navigated a complicated and unwieldy system to get their kids to test day. Let's applaud these specialized schools that offer consistent rigor and unique opportunities for their students. Schools that encourage them become independent thinkers and involved learners. Let's say thank you to the legislators who, years ago, created a law to protect the current merit-based system from political whim and to ensure fairness to students taking the test. Academic rigor is alive and well in NYC. The city's goal should be bringing that to more children rather than taking opportunities away from others.
Bystander Intervention and Double S...

Bystander Intervention and Double Standards of Sexual Assault During Hazing

Trigger Warning: Please know some of the content in this article discusses sexual assault. If a newspaper in New Jersey reported that a cheerleader for the high school football team had been brought in the boys' locker room, pinned down, and then lifted up by several males so the males could sexually assault her, what would be the expected reaction by parents in the community? What would be the national reaction? What if this case was not isolated and we found out that multiple cheerleaders had been sexually assaulted in the same way? What if we discovered other team members stood by and did nothing to help stop the crimes against the cheerleaders? It's probably safe to assume that no one would call this hazing. Instead, you would read descriptions of this attack being properly referred to as sexual assault. You would see national media leading with the horror of this story, especially concerning the failure of the larger group to stop the horrible acts from happening. But when an extremely similar crime actually happened to male teammates recently in Sayreville, New Jersey, many people did refer to this criminal act as a "hazing incident," according to news sources such as CNN, ABC News, and the Washington Post. While this case did involve hazing, the more heinous crime here was sexual assaults that were allegedly perpetrated by older male teammates on younger ones. It is unfortunate that the gender of the survivor seems to diminish how seriously we as a country take the violations that occurred. Thankfully, the criminal justice system is taking this case seriously. Seven members of the Sayreville, New Jersey, War Memorial High School football team are being charged with multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault on younger players on their team, according to ABC News. Reports also state that four younger team members were held down one by one and sexually assaulted by older teammates. What's more, this was not a one-time incident. The allegations happened on four different occasions. 2014-10-23-lockerroomfootballsexualassaulthazing.jpg After learning of the allegations, the school board superintendent, Richard Labbe, cancelled the homecoming game and then upon learning that further reports of bullying and physical intimidation with sexual overtones were reported to the police and Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, cancelled the rest of the season for Sayerville War Memorial High School, even in the face of outraged parents -- as reported by USA Today and CNN. And this week the Asbury Park Press reported that the Sayreville Board of Education voted to "affirm the suspensions of embattled head football coach George Najjar and four assistants." The suspensions were effective on October 16. Since CNN reported the alleged incidents occurred in the school locker room where, after practice, underclassmen would hurry in and out so as not to be caught by the group of seven upperclassmen and assaulted, why didn't a coach or another team member step up to stop the sexual assaults? Why was this allowed to happen four times? In education, stepping in to protect another is called bystander intervention. Understanding the importance of bystander intervention and how to make a positive impact using it is a skill set that is needed in every school. These alleged incidents are proof that a conversation and education about bystander intervention is needed in every school and every home in our country. Why didn't someone stop this from happening sooner? In this case, there were several opportunities for bystander intervention to have occurred. As soon as a single person said, "Hey, lets pin someone down and put our finger up his....," a teammate could have said, "That would be sexual assault. I know you do not consider yourself someone who would commit assault and neither am I. That is not how we lead on this team." As soon as the lights went out the first time and the incident began to occur, another teammate could have turned on the lights and yelled "STOP!" to protect their person being victimized. For those fearing retribution, they could have asked to talk with the coach in a confidential setting where no one would know and then share what was going on (how much the coaches knew is not fully understood). Players could have asked their parents for help on how to stop this from happening. They could have anonymously called the authorities and reported the crime. If we value students making the right choices to protect each other and to value the boundaries of every human being, we need to give students the training and skill sets to step in during moments when it could be difficult. What stopped these assaults was the courage of one or two students who finally came forward. Labbe said in an interview with ABC News, "There was one or two courageous kids that stepped up and did the right thing and prevented one less child from being harassed, intimidated and bullied. And to me, those are the true heroes of this. And we need more heroes like this." The responsibility to report such events falls on each of us, even when it is not popular to do so. The brave students who spoke up have our thanks, and the thanks of every survivor. If more students had intervened sooner, fewer survivors would have been sexually assaulted.
Free Speech: A Happy Ending

Free Speech: A Happy Ending

Intellectual freedom controversies don't always have happy endings. A happy ending for some may be an unhappy ending for others. But here's a case with a happy ending for everyone. In 2013, the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA), which coordinates athletic and other competitions among Nebraska high schools, adopted a new "Content Standards Compliance Form" for speech and drama competitions. Even the title upset me. The Board of Directors of the Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (AFCON) was equally upset. Where did this form come from? When I brought it to the attention of former AFCON President Doug Paterson, professor of theatre at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he replied "Egad. It reads almost word for word what was read to us in 9th grade players in 1959." He hypothesized that it was found in a discarded mimeograph machine from the 1950s. Among the winners of the March 2014 speech competition was Michael Barth, a student at Gordon-Rushville High School, who presented a poetic recitation concerning gender expectations and identities. Winners were invited to present their work on Nebraska Educational Television. But Rhonda Blanford-Green, Executive Director of the NSAA, had recently experienced the backlash to an unsuccessful effort to protect transgender students. Concerned about potential reactions, she asked Sandi Muirhead, Michael's coach, if he could present a different speech. Deeming this unreasonable, Michael decided, with the strong support of his coach and school, to go ahead with his planned speech, uncertain whether he would be permitted to do so. There was a brief Facebook and media frenzy, leading to a statement by Blanford-Green that Michael was free to present his chosen speech, which he did. Meanwhile, NSAA received a letter from ACLU Nebraska Legal Director Amy Miller questioning the constitutionality of NSAA's policy. In the course of further discussion, she suggested that AFCON could help craft a policy that better respected intellectual freedom. As President of AFCON, I had a very pleasant meeting in May with NSAA Executive Director Rhonda Blanford-Green and Associate Director Deb Velder, who were happy to work with AFCON in revising their policy. They subsequently attended the July meeting of the AFCON Board for further discussion. It turned out that the Content Standards Compliance Form was devised after looking at models from other states and the language was ultimately taken from Texas. So Doug Paterson's hypothesis that it came from the 1950s was not quite correct, but arguably close. I gave him partial credit. After several rounds of revision, the form formerly known as the Content Standards Compliance Form is now simply a Speech Review Form. Among other changes, a mandate that the school administration ensure that "the speech does not offend the moral standards of the community" has been replaced by a standard of consistency with "the educational mission of the school." What made it possible to reach consensus was that there was no fundamental disagreement. NSAA supports intellectual freedom in school activities, though of course insisting on the application of proper academic standards. AFCON supports academic standards, though of course insisting on intellectual freedom. The previous form concluded: It is understood that a speech is subject to penalties through the judging process, if material is deemed inappropriate for high school performance. The revised form concludes: Nothing in these standards is intended to permit or encourage censorship on the basis of topic or viewpoint. The NSAA supports academic standards and academic freedom. Everyone was so pleased with this result that AFCON decided to make the resolution of this issue the focus of its annual meeting and NSAA offered its Lincoln facility free of charge as the venue. The meeting, on October 9, featured an informative discussion about how consensus was reached in the aftermath of controversy and an academic freedom award recognizing Michael Barth for defending and presenting his speech. Michael, now a first-semester student at the University of Nebraska?Lincoln's Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film, could not be present to accept the award because he had already been cast in a play opening that very day in Lincoln. Meanwhile at Gordon-Rushville, in a school of under 200 students over 300 miles away in northwestern Nebraska, Sandi Muirhead's speech team is thriving. So it was a happy ending for Michael, AFCON, NSAA, speech coaches, student contestants, academic freedom and the First Amendment. What could be better than that?


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