The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
The best, worst, and most outrageous in education news this month.
Chevron awarded the first of $18 million in Energy for Learning grants to pay for technology and programs for students affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Overall, the program supports 23 Louisiana and Mississippi school districts. ... New Jersey says no to cheaters by flagging 40 schools statewide with unusually high or low test scores in 2006. The decision to analyze test-score data comes nine months after The Philadelphia Inquirer published an investigative report uncovering cheating at two Camden schools that may have been going on since the 1980s. ... The National Academy of Sciences created www.iwaswondering.org to encourage middle school students, especially girls, to pursue an interest in science. The site includes labs, games, and a parent-teacher guide. Lia, the site’s host, a teenage cartoon character, guides visitors through interactive resources and activities.
Colorado auditors released a scathing report on the state’s online education and demands that no new virtual schools be created until changes are made. The audit blamed the state education commissioner for lack of oversight. ... Detroit Public Schools has a $58 million information technology contract on the table, but it has so far produced only glitches. After the board rescinded several contract offers, one company, Staffing Solutions, actually said “No, thank you” to a nearly $1-million-a-year contract to complete data warehousing, complaining that the bidding felt “shrouded in secrecy.” ... Principal Linda Theret resigned and assistant principal Richard Brunner is on paid leave from McKinney North High School in Texas for favoring “The Fab Five,” a group of cheerleaders who reportedly disrespected teachers and felt entitled to special treatment. Theret’s daughter is part of the group.
Administrators at Monacan High School in Virginia fired art teacher Stephen Murmur for his cheeky extracurricular behavior. Murmur, also an avant-garde painter, smears paint on his rear end, presses it against canvases, and sells the result as art. Students discovered Murmur’s moonlighting gig when a video showed up on YouTube. ... Why is the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) saying “no” to 50,000 free DVDs of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth? Because it’s saying “yes” to Exxon, claims Laurie David, a producer of the film and a trustee of the National Resources Defense Council. In its e-mail to the company that produced the film, NSTA stated, among its reasons for not distributing the DVDs to classrooms, that doing so would place “unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain target supporters.” Exxon Mobil Corp. is one of those supporters.