The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Your chariot awaits....
GOOD: ExcELLent Idea
Bucking the near-universal ban on iPods in public schools, the Union City (NJ) school district will use 300 iPods in classrooms, at a cost of $130,000, to help Spanish-speaking students sharpen their English vocabulary. Perth Amboy and South Brunswick have also started iPod-based teaching programs in the last year.... Oxford (AR) High School plans to offer its students a real-world entrepreneurial program, with students reopening and running the local, unused Oxford Old Mill. The proposed project will include a gift shop to display and sell student-made artwork, a specialty restaurant, and a musical performance space for students and local talent. A similar project has been tried in Hesston, Arkansas, where students run a coffee shop and are responsible for payroll, ordering, maintenance, and working as employees.
BAD: SHEAR MADNESS
The Leakey (TX) School Board voted unanimously against allowing 18-year-old high school senior Ben Jamin Daly to keep his long hair while attending high school. Daly claims his religion, Rastafarianism, prevents him from cutting it. Until he gets his hair cut, Daly will be taught in isolation and not allowed to participate in any other school activities. Daly and his attorney, Fleming Terrell of the American Civil Liberties Union, are weighing their options as to how to respond to the board’s ruling.... Five Belleville (MI) High School students were expelled over MySpace photos that appeared to show the students sitting around a pool table with guns, drugs, and cash. The pictures were taken for the cover of a rap demo CD. Superintendent Pete Lazaroff claimed that the photos, which were not taken on school property, were nonetheless grounds for discipline—even though the guns and drugs were fake. Parents of the students and their lawyer plan to sue, claiming the expulsions were racially motivated.
UGLY: TAKEN FOR A RIDE
North Hunterdon-Voorhees (NJ) Regional High School District is paying more than $60,000 per year to send a ninth-grade student to a performing arts vocational-technical school. Since the district doesn’t have a comparable program, it is required by the state to pay for the student to attend the Morris County School of Technology in Denville, some 45 miles away.... In another New Jersey school district, the Evesham Township School Board voted to discontinue using That’s a Family!, an Academy Award–winning documentary about children who are being raised by gay or lesbian parents, parents of different races or religions, adoptive parents, single or divorced parents, and grandparents. The decision came due to pressure on the school board from a small number of local opponents. “This decision sends the message that not all families—and not all children—are welcome in the Evesham Township School District,” said Debra Chasnoff, the film’s director.