$11M to create or expand smaller learning communities

The purpose of the Smaller Learning Communities (SLCs) program is to promote academic achievement through the creation or expansion of small, safe, and successful learning environments in large public high schools to help ensure that all students graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to make successful transitions to college and careers. This opportunity supports only those projects designed to create or expand SLCs that will implement a coherent set of strategies and interventions that are designed to ensure that all students who enter high school with reading/language arts and mathematics skills that are significantly below grade level “catch up” quickly so that, by no later than the end of the 10th grade, they have acquired the reading/language arts and mathematics skills they need to participate successfully in rigorous academic courses that will equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to transition successfully to postsecondary education, apprenticeships, or advanced training.

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$40,000 for nonprofits helping low-income children

Rosie’s For All Kids Foundation welcomes unsolicited requests for support in the Early Childhood Care and Education program area. Approximately 2,500 requests are received every year. Each inquiry receives personal attention and a timely response within 90 days. Awarded grants are issued only to nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping low-income children and their families through quality childcare and early childhood education curriculum. Grants are made in the form of tuition subsidies, small renovation projects, and playground renovations.

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Counterfeiters fake whole company

The New York Times reports that in 2004, managers of the Tokyo branch of the Japanese electronics manufacturer NEC received notice that pirated keyboards, CD, and DVD disks were for sale in both Hong Kong and Beijing. As a result, the company hired an investigator to track down the culprits. What they found was shocking. After a couple of years, and thousands of hours of investigation, they found that the pirates had been faking their entire company. The pirates used NEC’s company name, and copied their products. The thieves even developed their own range of consumer products and administered their own distribution line and manufacturing. NEC itself had received complaints about the counterfeit products–which admittedly, were of a pretty good quality. All told, approximately 50 products were counterfeited, from home entertainment systems, MP3 players, DVD players and more. Investigations showed that the counterfeiters carried NEC business cards, commissioned research and development, as well as signed production orders under the NEC name… (Note: This site requires free registration.)

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S.C. posts teacher punishments online

The Charlotte Observer reports that students interested in digging up a little dirt on their instructors need to go no further than the net. Earlier this year, the South Carolina Education Department began posting online disciplinary measures against teachers. In 2005, 82 teachers in the state had their licenses suspended or revoked, and half were disciplined for improper acts against students–acts that mostly involved inappropriate physical and sexual contact. Currently, there are 291 disciplinary actions posted online. State education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum believes that this is a good way to: “…make government as transparent as possible and to ensure the public has access to as much information as possible.” However, Palmetto State Teachers Association director Kathy Maness believes that this is a bad idea. While the information is in the public domain, she feels that it doesn’t need to be “blasted across a web page”…

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Bullying bill gives schools more power

The Ledger Online reports that a new bill in the Florida State Legislature would give unprecedented power to schools over students who engaging in bullying outside of school hours. Under the new law, schools would have to write bullying policies that give teachers the authority to punish students who use cell phones, web pages, messaging software, etc., to criticize other students, even if the messages originate from the student’s home. Bill sponsor Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff says: “Where and when the cyber bullying takes place ‘is not a defense’.” As long as the evidence is pulled up on a school computer, it is “fair game.” However, lawmaker Sen. Victor Crist feels that the bill is “overreaching” and that what a “student does in his own home should be between parent and student.” Educators and communities have struggled with the ever-growing number of cyber bullying instances, but most schools lack clear policies on how to deal with the problem.

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