Education News: February 15, 2008
Following are some of the top headlines from the world of education for the week ending February 15, 2008.
Oxnard School Shooting Called a Hate Crime
(Source: The Los Angeles Times, 2/15/08): A 14-year-old boy who gunned down a classmate in Oxnard, California, has been charged with committing premeditated murder and a hate crime and will be tried as an adult. Brandon McInerney shot 15-year-old Lawrence King the day after McInerney and other students had an altercation with King regarding his recent coming-out. The shooting took place in a classroom full of students.
‘Choking Game’ Deaths on the Rise
(Source: The Baltimore Sun, 2/15/08): A new study by the CDC has found that the ‘choking game’ and its devastating consequences are on the rise. Resulting in 57 deaths in 2005 and 2006, the ‘game’ consists of children and teens choking themselves in order to get high. Increasingly, kids are doing it alone and using ligatures, thereby heightening the risk of death, brain damage, and other injuries. The study’s authors are seeking to raise awareness of the problem among parents and educators so adults can spot the signs before it’s too late.
Teachers’ Union President to Step Down; New Yorker Is Seen As Successor
(Source: The New York Times, 2/13/08): Edward J. McElroy, current president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), has announced that he will leave his post this summer. It is widely believed that Randi Weingarten, the president of New York's teachers' union (the United Federation of Teachers), will be chosen to succeed McElroy, though she has not yet committed to running.
College Applications Can Be Too Good
(Source: The Boston Globe, 2/12/08): College admissions officials have found a relatively new bone to pick with certain applicants: unbelievably good application essays. As admissions have become increasingly competitive, many students have turned to professional editors for help, but many admissions personnel say that overly perfect essays indicate that students may have relied too much on adult help. Application readers investigate suspiciously good essays by looking at SAT Writing scores, English grades, and other evidence as to whether the student has a history of being a strong writer.
For Many Teachers, Two Jobs a Prerequisite
(Source: The Miami Herald, 2/12/08): Anecdotal evidence suggests that a growing number of South Florida teachers are working second jobs to make ends meet. Nationwide, 16 percent of teachers hold second jobs during the school year, but the figure is likely higher in urban areas where the cost of living is higher. Education experts worry that both teachers and students suffer in this scenario. Teachers end up overworked with no time for a personal life; and students miss out on having teachers who have time to prepare lesson plans and grade assignments.
Online Courses Aim to Prevent Dropouts
(Source: The Washington Post, 2/11/08): Nationwide, about 30 percent of students who begin ninth grade drop out prior to graduation, and educators are continually looking for ways to raise graduation rates. Increasingly, Washington-area schools are using online courses as a means of getting students to stick with high school. For a certain segment of potential dropouts—those who are self-motivated, but prefer to learn at their own pace—the online courses have proven effective.
Catching Up With the Boys, in the Good and the Bad
(Source: The Washington Post, 2/10/08): Recent research has shown that in addition to catching up with boys academically, girls are also catching up with boys in rates of drinking, drug use, and tobacco use. In light of these findings, education experts are calling for drug-and-alcohol prevention programs to become better suited for reaching girls.