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On the Key West pen fodder wing of the State Mental, see the Truman Waterfront rigor mortis, or rigor lacktus – Key West post at goodmorningkeywest.com today.
Meanwhile, blackboard jungle email chat with Larry Murray yesterday:
Why am I not surprised that a teacher at the Big Pine Academy would not be familiar with the candidates in last year’s election for the School Board?
Me to Larry:
Maybe because charter schools chart their own course and don’t get involved in the School District’s politics and madness. And maybe because charter school teachers don’t belong to the teacher’s union, and maybe because charter school teachers are more invested in teaching, and maybe because charter school teachers look to their principals and their schools’ boards of directors for their paychecks and jobs.
Tim Gratz, of Keys Coaltion sent me this yesterday:
I know you are all interested in anti-bullying.
I commend to your attention the review of “The Brutal Years” in today’s New York Times.
The book critic’s own two cents worth:
“Sticks and Stones” lacks a central thesis; it describes a problem, reports on many proposed solutions and leaves it to readers to draw their own conclusions. As someone who was bullied as a child, I found myself wishing to avoid these familiar narratives, which stirred up nostalgic fear; as the father of young children, I devoured them with anticipatory terror. Yet even though I came away from this book far better informed, I was left with no particular sense of what to do. Bazelon often provides excessive detail about process: details of how she arrived at conclusions that are not particularly startling. There is little meta-thinking; the analysis has an atomized quality. In “The Bully Society,” published a year ago, Jessie Klein argues persuasively that the preponderance of bullying stems from the escalating social imperative for boys and girls to conform to oppressive masculine stereotypes. Bazelon accurately avers that such generalizations are reductive. “We have to be smart and careful about the Web,” she concludes. “The Internet won’t do it for us. The best thing we can do is help kids learn to look out for themselves.” But sometimes reductive answers can be arresting, and one longs for Bazelon to proclaim a bit more, not always to let common sense trump revelation.
I agree with Bazelon, testosterone emphasis (worship) fosters bullying, and, it won’t surprise me if some day I read of a kid, maybe a Florida Keys kid, who instead of going home from school and using his father’s pistol to shoot himself in the head, takes the pistol to school in his backpack, and when the opportune time comes, he takes the pistol out of his backpack and starts shooting kids who have been bullying him. Now that would make for lots of interesting reading in The Key West Citizen, don’t you think?
Nashville J had this to say yesterday:
Thought you might find this of interest since we are both concerned with the total lack of investigation or response to the young man who killed himself after being bullied a couple months ago in Key West.
Two day suspension by the school for the boys who beat him up and bullied him.
Bullied Boy Dies in Hospital: Family
A young boy who was the victim of bullying died at the hospital Sunday morning, according to his family. Bailey O’Neill, who turned 12 on Saturday, was in a coma after suffering several seizures.
Bailey’s family says he was jumped by two classmates during recess at Darby Township School back in January and suffered a concussion as well as a broken nose as a result. He then began to suffer seizures the next day, forcing doctors to put him into a medically-induced coma.
Joy Fecanin, the boy’s grandmother, told NBC10′s Katy Zachry that he had to have a blood transfusion after getting pneumonia.
On Sunday, the following message was posted on the Building Hope for Bailey Facebook Page:
I would like to thank everyone who has prayed and supported Bailey and his family!! Bailey has been the strongest toughest boy I know. He has fought this battle long and hard. There just wasn’t a way to fix this. I wish I could say he will get better but I can’t. Bailey has gone to be with God today I love you Jina Risoldi with all my heart and I will help you through this. Bailey I love you!!! Please keep Baileys family in your prayers!!!
While the students who jumped Bailey were suspended for two days, police have not yet revealed whether they will be criminally charged.
“I would like to see these kids punished,” said Fecanin when she spoke to Zachry last month. “Something has to be done. I don’t know what’s taking them so long.”
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan says investigators are trying to determine if the injuries Bailey received in the fight caused his seizures. Investigators interviewed kids and recess aides who were on the playground when the fight broke out.
“We can assure them that we are going to continue with our investigation,” said Whelan.
Bailey’s younger brother was taken out of the school because his parents were worried that he’d also be the victim of bullying.
Can’t say I blame the parents. Great response by the school and the police. I’m sure it pleased God.
Then, J sent this:
You get the same suspension IF you beat a kid up and he dies OR if you make a PopTart look like a gun. WE ARE DOOMED ! (Pogo)
Student suspended for shaping Pop-Tart into gun
Baltimore, MD (KTNV)
– A student in Baltimore was suspended over breakfast.
7-year-old Josh Welch was eating a Pop-Tart at school. A teacher saw the pastry and said she thought it looked like it was being shaped into a gun.
The teacher also said she heard Welch say, “Bang Bang” while he was holding it.
That was enough to get him suspended.
Welch said his teacher got it completely wrong, “It was already a rectangle and I just kept on biting it and tore off the top, and it kind of looked like a gun but it wasn’t.”
Welch said he was trying to shape the Pop-Tart into a mountain.
The school sent out a letter late in the day to parents explaining what happened and why they thought it was a threat saying, “A student used food to make an inappropriate gesture.”
Welch was suspended for two days.
What if, instead, Josh had shot the other kids a bird, or had pointed a finger at them, and said, “Bang”? Looks like a snow ball has more chance in hell, than our school district getting serious about giving bullies a taste of their own medicine.
While Key West High School’s Matthew Gilleran’s suicide remains shoved under the rug, this guest editorial in The Key West Citizen today:
Paving a path from education to employment
BY JOHN R. PADGET
Most students invest16 to 20 years acquiring knowledge, at an enormous cost to
them, their families, and our society. Far too often the process doesn’t yield efficient outcomes. Time and again, there is misalignment between scholarly pursuits and the job marketplace, and many kids end up with unbearably high student loans.
We can tweak this “education to employment” process and achieve some valuable results: a modern model to prepare young people for the workplace and accelerate Florida’s economic growth.
Learning should be both “curiosity-driven” and “workplace- relevant” starting at early ages. A good example is keyboarding with proper hand placement and words-perminute awareness, avoiding hunt-and-peck keyboarding. Especially at the earliest ages, this skill can be acquired in a fun, game-like atmosphere.
Not many students today have fast and accurate keyboarding skills, especially while looking away from the keyboard. Imagine the productivity gains throughout an entire lifetime if someone is an excellent keyboarder.
How about a “workplace relevant” course? According to the Huffington Post, “Learning (basic software coding) is the new literacy. It accelerates child development, it stimulates creativity and builds confidence, and it unlocks the best careers in America.”
To start, most good jobs require knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. With these skills one can manipulate data, write essays, prepare and understand presentations.
We are fortunate here in Florida: Starting in middle school, our students can earn Industry Certificate MICRO069 — Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS). Some 4,074
Floridians did just that two years ago, and the number is rapidly rising. Teenagers, still in school, can get higher paying jobs with this certificate in hand.
According to the College Board, only 2 percent of students learn to code, but computer science majors have no trouble landing jobs. In fact, there are more computer programming jobs than all other math and science jobs, and almost 70 percent are outside the tech sector, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How about some other industry certificates? Florida offers certificates in 90 different professions, and Florida’s secondary students earned 33,523 such certifications in 2010-11. They are trained to do something, in addition to the standard high school diploma, and they earn much more than minimum wage. Certificates range from Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) to Certified Food Manager (CFM).
Earning one or two industry certificates in middle and high school will put Florida’s students into one or more workplace-relevant courses at an early age. Imagine if we added an industry certificate qualification to gain entry to our universities and to get Bright Futures scholarships.
And, allowing students to follow their curiosity by choosing industry certificates in areas of their own interest is bound to reduce high school dropout rates. Even eventual dropouts will be more employable at higher wages if they have a certificate.
We must abandon the question “college or career?” We should ask each student about their interests and place them on a certificate pathway to “career and college!” Attaining some skill in something (anything!) and being employable comes first. Then, formal and continuous education follows.
Education to employment starts with keyboarding, enhanced computer skills, enriched with another industry certificate — all while studying common core subjects. Ready with some employable skills, our high school graduates can proceed to any of Florida’s 44 technical centers, 28 colleges or 12 universities a bit more rounded and a lot more focused.
John R. Padget
a board member of Florida’s State Board of Education and a former Monroe County superintendent of schools.
Or, such courses and training could be offered in Keys schools, starting in K grade, when it’s easiest for kids to learn touch typing (keyboarding), and when kids already are using keyboards and learning hunt and peck, which is not easy to let go of, as any hunt and peck keyboarder knows all too well. I learned touch typing my sophomore year in high school, at my father’s suggestion; he said it would come in handy later. Little did he know. I ain’t a great touch typer, I have to watch the screen, and I still make some mistakes, but it sure is a lot faster and a lot easier than hunt and peck.