About a dozen Marinette Middle School parents complained to Wisconsin school officials when students were asked to give very personal information as part of an anti-bullying exercise. Students were asked to step forward to indicate a positive response to questions about suicidal thoughts, their parents drinking habits, and whether anyone in their family had ever been in jail. School officials claim, “The intent of the activity was to build stronger, more respectful relationships among students.” Parents fear that children could later be teased and bullied as a result of their responses.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is adding African-American studies as part of their core curriculum, with the stated goal that students are “taught this history over the course of the entire year and across disciplines — not just during Black History Month or in a social science course.” 21% of CPS 8th-graders scored proficient in 2013 NAEP reading assessments; 20% scored proficient in mathematics.
In February, two South Carolinians, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Jeff Duncan, introduced in the Senate and the House, respectively, Resolutions that proclaim education is a state, local, and parental issue. Their resolutions, sponsored by nine additional Senators, with 52 co-sponsors in the House, denounces Sec. of Education Arne Duncan and Pres. Barack Obama for using $4.3 billion in Stimulus-funded Race to the Top grants and No Child Left Behind waivers as bribes to coerce states into adopting Common Core standards.
More than 40 states have reading programs that bring certified reading therapy dogs into classrooms to provide comfort to students when they read aloud. Some children, like many adults, fear being in the spotlight. “Qualitative research” indicates that a friendly canine friend gives readers confidence in front of classmates. (Chicago Tribune, 1-6-14)