Drug war sends emotionally troubled kids to Texas

The classroom falls silent as the teacher explains that victims of violence go through specific psychological stages in the aftermath of an attack. Most of these students, though, don’t need a lecture to understand the lesson. It’s part of their everyday lives, the Associated Press reports. Many of the teens came to the U.S. seeking refuge from Mexico’s drug war, which made violence a constant companion since childhood.

“I’ve been through all three stages: impact, recoil, reorganization of my life,” 17-year-old Alan Garcia told the class before breaking down in tears. “My mom goes in and out of recoil stage.”

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EU data protection reform to replace national laws

The European Union wants to replace a mishmash of national laws on data protection with one bloc-wide reform, updating laws put in place long before Facebook and other social networking sites even existed, the Associated Press reports. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said Monday that social networks must become more open about how they operate. Under her proposals, businesses—including internet service providers—would have additional responsibilities, such as having to inform users of what data about them is being collected, for what purpose, and how it is stored. EU regulators have been concerned about how commercial online services use customers’ personal data to attract advertisers, saying they want to make sure that citizens’ internet privacy rights are respected…

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Watch: Former Atlanta schools chief: ‘I can’t make you cheat’

In her first official television interview since investigators uncovered one of the largest cheating scandals in public school history, former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall said she takes responsibility for not recognizing the need for heightened test security, but doesn’t acknowledge personal accountability for the individual cheating teachers or the scandal as a whole, NBC reports.

“I can’t make you cheat. Nothing that I could ask of you … would be an excuse for you to cheat,” Hall told NBC’s Harry Smith on Rock Center. “We did not emphasize testing at the expense of integrity.”

Over the summer, findings from a two-year investigation found widespread cheating among at least 44 Atlanta schools and implicated 178 educators involved in test tampering, including erasing students’ incorrect answers on standardized tests and replacing them with correct ones…

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HIV positive teachers to petition China government

Three Chinese men who say they were illegally denied government teaching jobs because they are HIV-positive have taken their cases to the country’s top leaders, their lawyer told AFP on Tuesday. The men all had passed employment exams but were rejected by education departments in three separate provinces when physical exams revealed that they each carried the virus that can lead to AIDS…

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Colleges defend humanities amid tight budgets

As states tighten their allocations to public universities, many administrators say they're feeling pressure to defend the worth of humanities.

Like many humanities advocates, Abbey Drane was disheartened but not surprised when Florida’s governor recently said its tax dollars should bolster science and high-tech studies, not “educate more people who can’t get jobs in anthropology.”

Drane, a 21-year-old anthropology major at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has spent years defending her choice to pursue that liberal arts field.

And now, as states tighten their allocations to public universities, many administrators say they’re feeling pressure to defend the worth of humanities, too, and shield the genre from budget cuts.

One university president has gone as far as donating $100,000 of her own money to offer humanities scholarships at her school.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s comments last month cut to the heart of the quandary: whether emphasizing science, math, and medical fields gives students the best career prospects and a high-tech payback to society, and whether humanities fields are viewed as more of an indulgence than a necessity amid tight budget times.

“You can definitely feel the emphasis on campus, even just based on where the newest buildings go, that there is a drive toward the sciences, engineering and (the) business school,” said Drane, a senior from Plymouth, Mass. “I’m constantly asked what job opportunities I’ll have in anthropology or what I’m going to do with my degree, and I tell people that it’s giving me a skill set and critical thinking you can apply to anything.”

Humanities studies peaked in U.S. colleges in the 1960s and started dwindling in the 1970s as more students pursued business and technology and related fields. Today, more than 20 percent of each year’s bachelor’s degrees are granted in business; in humanities, it’s about 8 percent.

Liberal arts colleges, too, have declined. A study published in 2009 by Inside Higher Ed said that of 212 liberal arts colleges identified in 1990, only 137 were still operating by 2009.

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Teen tweeter won’t apologize to Kan. governor

A Kansas teenager who wrote a disparaging tweet about Gov. Sam Brownback said Sunday that she is rejecting her high school principal’s demand for a written apology, the Associated Press reports. Emma Sullivan, 18, of the Kansas City suburb of Fairway, said she isn’t sorry and doesn’t think such a letter would be sincere. The Shawnee Mission East senior was taking part in a Youth in Government program last week in Topeka, Kan., when she sent out a tweet from the back of a crowd of students listening to Brownback’s greeting. From her cellphone, she thumbed: “Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person (hash)heblowsalot.”

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Could this be a way to speed up learning?

One of the most difficult tasks to teach Air Force pilots who guide unmanned attack drones is how to pick out targets in complex radar images. Pilot training is currently one of the biggest bottlenecks in deploying these new, deadly weapons. So Air Force researchers were delighted recently to learn that they could cut training time in half by delivering a mild electrical current (two milliamperes of direct current for 30 minutes) to pilot’s brains during training sessions on video simulators, Scientific American reports. The current is delivered through EEG (electroencephalographic) electrodes placed on the scalp. Biomedical engineer Andy McKinley and colleagues at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, reported their finding on this so-called transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) here at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting on November 13…

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Video: 180-day suspension for ‘accidentally’ touching teacher?

Seventh grader Je’Terra Bowie has been suspended for the past month from Wilkinson Middle School in Detroit for allegedly accidentally touching her teacher as she reached back to stretch, WDIV reports.

“I didn’t know she stopped behind me,” Bowie told the station. “She stopped, and I stretched back. I turned back and said, ‘Sorry. I didn’t mean to.'”

After the teacher demanded Bowie leave the classroom, other students wrote letters asserting the incident was an accident. Although the family is appealing the suspension, the teacher maintains the poke to her inner thigh was not an accident, WNEM reports. This isn’t the only time parents have recently disagreed with school suspensions. Earlier this month, 14-year-old Nick Martinez was given one-day in-school suspension for hugging his female best friend between classes.

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Michigan to fine Detroit Public Schools for high truancy

State officials are weighing how much to penalize Detroit Public Schools for persistent truancy, a problem that could cost the financially troubled district up to $25.9 million, according to documents obtained by the Detroit News. In the past school year, attendance at DPS fell below the state minimum of 75 percent on 46 days. The district says it is bracing for a loss of the full amount, though the Michigan Department of Education expects a much lower final figure. State officials say incomplete record-keeping by Michigan’s largest school district is making it difficult to determine how much to subtract from DPS’ per-pupil allotment. Jan Ellis, a department spokeswoman, said her office is working with DPS to review attendance records before making any deductions. For 2009-10, DPS lost $680,000 to low attendance…

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Library group denounces book destruction at Occupy Wall Street

The American Library Association has denounced the destruction of books at a library set up by Occupy Wall Street when New York police raided a park where protesters were staying earlier this month, the Washington Post reports. The ALA, the oldest and largest library association in the world, issued a release that said some of its members who had visited the site before the Nov. 15 raid in Zuccotti Park had praised the People’s Library for having a balanced, catalogued collection of materials that included works of different views. The library maintained at the park had held more than 5,000 items and provided free access to books, magazines, newspapers and other materials. A reference service, often staffed by professional librarians, was offered…

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