The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Kids get into a cause, meditation gets mixed, and a school newspaper is censored.
Students at more than 300 high schools and colleges on four continents took part in a fund-raising drive in October for civilian protection in Sudan’s Darfur region. Participants donated the money that they saved by giving up a luxury item such as chocolate or coffee. U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios praised young people for raising public awareness about the genocide. ... A $12 million federal grant will boost bonus checks awarded to teachers in Houston, Texas, who succeed at raising student test scores. Even before the increase, the program was thought to be the largest teacher incentive-pay program in the nation. The funds are now expected to reach up to $3,500 per teacher. ... Arkansas has set up an exchange program for K–12 teachers to apply for a year of teaching in Taiwan with all travel, living expenses, and salaries paid by the Taiwanese government.
Faced with protests from parents, a foundation backed by filmmaker David Lynch withdrew the $175,000 it had pledged to Terra Linda High School in San Rafael, California. The grant would have provided funds for 250 students and 25 staff members to practice the meditation style developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, spiritual teacher to the Beatles. ... A school in Marion, Indiana, suspended four eighth-grade girls because they wore identical outfits on the same day. The girls, who participate in an after-school dance group together, claimed that McCulloch Middle School officials misconstrued them as gang members. ... A total of $2,331 has been spent on Buddy, the school pet at Lakeside Elementary in Coppell, Texas. The poodle, who was given to the school by a parent in 2005, has been the lucky recipient of activity funds that are under the principal’s discretion.
William Orr, principal of Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida, pulled an article from the student newspaper that included a chart breaking down student test scores—the same scores that were available for public viewing online—claiming it might embarrass students. Orr cited a U.S. Supreme Court case giving school administrators power to censor student newspapers. ... Oscoda Area High School’s football season came to an abrupt end when the Michigan district canceled all remaining games, reasoning that the team hadn’t scored a single point in four games. … During the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, the superintendent of Harrisonburg Schools in Virginia ordered a display of banned books removed from Harrisonburg High School. His reason? Students might be tempted to read the books simply because of their controversial content.