US: 100,000 Teachers Nationwide Face Layoffs

100000-teachers-nationwide-face-layoffs
“Higher-needs schools are hit inequitably” by the cuts, says Jennifer Moless, a kindergarten teacher in San Francisco. Moless has been pink-slipped but has also been told she’s likely to get a reprieve. (Randi Lynn Beach For The Washington Post)

Senior congressional Democrats and the Obama administration scrambled Wednesday to line up support for $23 billion in federal aid to avert an estimated 100,000 or more school layoffs in a brutal year for education budgets coast to coast.

As early as Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee expects to take up a bill that couples the school funding with spending for the Afghanistan war — a measure that has bipartisan support. But a parallel push in the Senate stalled this week after a leading proponent concluded that he couldn’t muster enough votes to surmount Republican opposition.

“We desperately need Congress to act — to recognize the emergency for what it is,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday on Capitol Hill. “We have to keep hundreds of thousands of teachers teaching.”

Republicans and some Democrats say the government can’t afford an extension of last year’s economic stimulus that would add to the federal deficit. The stimulus law kept many school budgets afloat with $49 billion in direct aid to states and billions of dollars more for various programs. But the stimulus funding is trailing off before state and local tax revenue can recover from the recession.

Skeptics of a new education jobs fund point out that the teaching force in recent years has grown faster than enrollment, with schools adding instructional coaches and reducing class sizes.

“Giving states another $23 billion in federal education money simply throws more money into taxpayer-funded bailouts when we should be discussing why we aren’t seeing the results we need from the billions in federal dollars that are already being spent,” said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

How many of the estimated 3.3 million public school teachers nationwide will lose their jobs remains unknown. Duncan often says 100,000 to 300,000 education jobs are at risk, including support staff. Teachers unions have put the layoff threat in the range of 160,000 — including 9,000 in New Jersey, 16,000 in New York and 36,000 in California.

Read moreUS: 100,000 Teachers Nationwide Face Layoffs

1 in 5 British Teenagers Leaving School Is ‘Illiterate And Innumerate’

One in five teenagers is practically unemployable after leaving school lacking the English and maths skills needed for everyday life, research suggests.

The number of 16- to 19-year-olds rendered functionally illiterate or innumerate has failed to improve over the last two decades, the study said, despite billions spent attempting to raise standards in the three-Rs.

Teenagers’ reading ability has barely changed since 1960, it was claimed, leaving thousands of young people struggling to “partake fully in employment [and] family life”.

The conclusions – in research from Sheffield University – come amid continuing fears over levels of basic skills.

Last month, a cross-party committee of MPs said that the number of school leavers without a job or college place had failed to improve “despite one policy strategy after another”.

It will also raise doubts over Labour claims that school standards have risen dramatically in the last 13 years.

Read more1 in 5 British Teenagers Leaving School Is ‘Illiterate And Innumerate’

US: Mass School Closures Approved in Kansas City, Mo.

In this photo taken Feb. 28, 2010, unused space is seen in the Board of Education building in Kansas City, Mo. The district will renew efforts to sell the administration building, which is less than half used, to help cut $50 million from next years budget. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
In this photo taken Feb. 28, 2010, unused space is seen in the Board of Education building in Kansas City, Mo. The district will renew efforts to sell the administration building, which is less than half used, to help cut $50 million from next years budget. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City school board narrowly approved a plan Wednesday night to close nearly half the district’s schools in a desperate bid to avoid a potential bankruptcy.

The board voted 5-4 after parents and community leaders made final pleas to spare the schools even as the beleaguered district seeks to erase a projected $50 million budget shortfall. The approved plan calls for shuttering 29 of 61 schools – a striking amount even as public school closures rise nationwide while the recession eats away at academic budgets.

“The urban core has suffered white flight post-the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. the Board of Education, blockbusting by the real estate industry, redlining by banks and other financial institutions, retail and grocery store abandonment,” Kansas City Councilwoman Sharon Sanders Brooks said to applause from a standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 people.

“And now the public education system is aiding and abetting in the economic demise of our school district,” she said. “It is shameful and sinful.”

Read moreUS: Mass School Closures Approved in Kansas City, Mo.

US: Girl, 12, handcuffed and arrested for doodling on her desk

NEW YORK, N.Y.-A New York City junior high student has been arrested for doodling on her desk.

Alexa Gonzalez, 12, scribbled “Lex was here 2/1/10” on her desk Monday. She also wrote “I love my friends Abby and Faith.”

Moraima Tamacho says her daughter was released several hours after she was taken in handcuffs to a police station, according to the Daily News.

Education department spokesman David Cantor said the incident shouldn’t have happened, and that common sense should prevail.

Last month, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit alleging more than 20 instances of wrongful arrests and assaults by school safety officers.

Read moreUS: Girl, 12, handcuffed and arrested for doodling on her desk

Build-A-Bear: The Sinister Green Plot to Turn Our Kids Into Eco-Fascist Manchurian Candidates

Do Al Gore or Dr Rajendra Pachauri own shares in the international toy franchise Build-A-Bear? Here is a video – one of a series of three – that the company’s impressionable young customers are being directed to watch via its website www.buildabearville.com. (Hat tip: Plato Says)

You can watch the other two here and here.

America’s parents aren’t happy at this kind of eco-indoctrination. Here’s a taste from Big Government.

Every year we take the kids to Build-A-Bear, but we have now gone for the last time. I get enough indoctrination from the main stream media, and now I need to worry about what political messges Build-A-Bear feels a need to pass on to my grandchidren? I don’t think so. They just made sure that we will now switch to a store that sells toys that don’t come with political indoctrination. Build-A-Bear, you just lost an entire family and generation of good customers.

Leave our children alone Build a Bear. I once thought your store was cute …. the whole concept of it but not anymore. Let children be children. They should not have to deal with heavy subjects such as Global warming which is a hoax anyway. Pure disgusting on your part and I will no longer shop at your stores or online.

Wow … more like build-a-scare than a bear. This is unconscionable. My kids have a dozen of their products but we will NOT be shopping there anymore. I just can’t believe they actually did that. I shouldn’t be surprised but what a mistake.

and here is Build-A-Bear’s CEO’s not altogether convincing response.

Our goal with the online webisodes was to show children, through two animated polar bears and a penguin, how they could also make a difference in big and small ways. The animated story occurs in the North Pole where the 2 polar bear characters live and they want to help keep the ice from melting so Santa and the reindeers can take off safely in time to deliver all their gifts. Thanks to the giant ice cubes created by the bear and penguin team they replace the melting ice and all is well so Santa and the reindeers do not miss a beat.

We had no other intentions with the story whatsoever. we do hear you and will certainly take your opinion into consideration when developing future stories. It is interested customers like yourselves that help us do a better job.

Sincerely,

Maxine Clark

Maxine Clark
Founder and Chief Executive Bear

Merry Christmas, Maxine. Something tells me that your Yuletide sales figures are about to stink like Mr Hankey.

Read moreBuild-A-Bear: The Sinister Green Plot to Turn Our Kids Into Eco-Fascist Manchurian Candidates

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: ‘These Wars Are Corrupting The Heart Of Our Nation!’

Listen America! Listen!




On Sat., Dec. 12, 2009, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) was one of the featured speakers at the emergency End-the-U.S.-Wars rally.

The event was held in Lafayette Park, opposite the White House. Rep. Kucinich has acted as the conscience of the House of Representatives in opposing U.S. wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read moreRep. Dennis Kucinich: ‘These Wars Are Corrupting The Heart Of Our Nation!’

A to Z of what’s wrong with America

A is for Aspartame – The magic powder that turns diet soda into brain poison.

B is for Bailout money – Because all we really need is another trillion dollars.

C is for Codex Alimentarius – Because we all need to be protected from dangerous vitamins, right?

D is for Dumbing Down – No matter how uneducated the kids are, there’s always a public school willing to compromise its standards just enough to let them pass.

E is for Environmental Policy – Because treating the rivers and waterways like America’s toilet makes for fascinating beach swimming.

F is for FDA (or Foreclosures) – Just what we need: A Big Pharma tyranny enforcement branch in Washington D.C.

G is for Genetically Modified Organisms – Because playing God with the food supply sounded like such a great idea, we just couldn’t resist.

H is for Health insurance (or lack thereof) – Just another financial scam to enslave Americans in a medical police state while denying them access to real health services.

Read moreA to Z of what’s wrong with America

Children in modern Britain living in poverty ‘mirroring the times of Dickens’

Poverty levels in parts of Britain mirror “the times of Dickens”, leaving schools struggling to cope with increasing numbers of children lacking the most basic personal skills, according to a teachers’ leader.

Children in modern Britain living like times of Dickens
Three million children still live below the poverty line Britain Photo: GETTY

Some pupils from the poorest areas arrive at school unable to dress themselves or use a knife and fork, with some even unable to use a toilet properly, she said.

Lesley Ward, president of the 160,000-strong Association of Teachers and Lecturers, warned that many children were also being relied upon to raise younger brothers and sisters and lacked stable father figures in the home.

In a speech last night, Mrs Ward, a primary school teacher from Doncaster, said Labour had “tried hard on this issue” but had failed to fill the vacuum left by the death of the mining and manufacturing industries in many working-class communities.

She said it meant a “small, significant and growing minority” of children were being raised in families with low expectations and a level of poverty “mirroring the times of Dickens”.

It was “next to impossible”, she added, for schools to counter the effect of serious deprivation, family breakdown and a lack of parenting skills in many communities.

Her comments follow the publication of figures showing nearly three million children still live below the poverty line in Britain. Ministers have admitted there is little chance of hitting their target to half child poverty by 2011.

Read moreChildren in modern Britain living in poverty ‘mirroring the times of Dickens’