Bad teachers ‘will be sacked after a term’

Teaching unions clashed with ministers on Friday over plans to let state schools in England sack underperforming teachers after just a term, the AFP reports. The changes would allow staff to be removed from the classroom after nine weeks rather than the current minimum of 24 weeks, although it often takes far longer. The leader of the biggest teaching union said the tougher regime, due to start in September, could end up as a “bully’s charter”.

“The changes to the appraisal and capability policies will rightly be seen by teachers as an attack on their professionalism,” said Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT)…

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UK minister says children ‘bored’ by IT classes

British Education Secretary Michael Gove will unveil major changes to the way technology is taught in schools Wednesday, saying children are “bored out of their minds” by current classes, the AFP reports. Gove wants to shift the focus from learning how to use programs like Microsoft Word to a more creative approach, encouraging pupils to write their own software. He wants to scrap the current curriculum from September, the start of the new school year, and instead let schools decide what to teach, drawing on resources developed by experts.

“Instead of children bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word and Excel by bored teachers, we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations,” Gove will say…

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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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‘Weightless’ U.S. teachers eye giant science leap

“Excited,” “nervous,” “terrified”–just three emotions described by a group of US teachers about to take a dizzying “weightless” flight all for the cause of science, naturally, the AFP reports. The 30 classroom professionals donned blue “astronaut” jumpsuits to defy gravity in the skies above California, in a project designed to help them capture the imagination of young science students. On the back of her jumpsuit, teacher Michelle Luke taped a drawing made by her pupils at Manhattan Beach Middle School, southwest of Los Angeles, showing two figures taking a giant weightless leap into space. But with only a couple of hours to go before the flight, her smile was still a little tense…

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Survey: Half of US students face sex harassment

Forty-eight percent of US middle and high school students suffered sexual harassment in the past school year, both in person and online, a national survey released Monday said, the AFP reports. And 87 percent of those students said the experience had a negative impact on them, according to the survey of 1,965 students in grades seven through 12 conducted by the Association of American University Women (AAUW).

“Sexual harassment is part of everyday life in middle and high schools,” said the 76-page report, which follows the Washington-based charity’s previous investigation of bullying in schools.

“Sexually harassed students who took part in the AAUW survey reported having trouble studying, not wanting to go to school, and feeling sick to their stomach,” it said……Read More

Private schools win legal fight over charity status

Private schools on Friday won a long-running legal battle with the Charity Commission over what schools must do to justify their charitable status, the AFP reports. The Independent Schools Council (ISC), an umbrella body representing more than 1,000 schools, had challenged tighter rules affecting how private schools qualify for the status, which comes with tax breaks. The changes, introduced in 2006, meant private schools in England and Wales had to prove they benefit children who cannot afford their fees in order to keep their charitable status…

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Tech leaders ponder future of mobile

The pace of innovation and change in mobile devices is so dizzying it is difficult to predict the winning platforms and products of the next few years, the AFP reports. With that caveat, a panel of technology executives and experts nevertheless took out their crystal balls on Wednesday at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in this Colorado resort to take a glimpse into the mobile future…

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Exam-obsessed Hong Kong makes celebrity tutors rich

Cut-throat competition for exam success in Hong Kong’s high-pressure education system has spawned a new breed of teacher–celebrity tutors with near cult-like status and millionaire lifestyles, reports the AFP. With their glamorous photographs showing megawatt grins and flashy attire splashed across billboards and buses, the star teachers claim to transform failing students into A-grade pupils–and earn up to $1.5 million a year…

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Judge throws out Wisconsin union-busting bill

A judge in Wisconsin on Thursday threw out legislation backed by Republican lawmakers and the state’s governor that would have stripped public workers of union bargaining rights, the AFP reports. Circuit court judge Maryann Sumi said the legislation, which Governor Scott Walker signed into law in March after weeks of massive protests in the state capital, violated a state law requiring lawmakers to give at least two hours’ notice before voting on legislation and breached the trust of the public…

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US student quits over ‘appalling’ Japan rant

A US student whose “appalling” anti-Asian and anti-Japanese rant went viral on YouTube announced she was quitting college, after receiving death threats, reports the AFP. The University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) undergraduate said the video had led to “the harassment of my family … death threats and being ostracized from an entire community. Accordingly, for personal safety reasons, I have chosen to no longer attend classes at UCLA,” added the student, in her third year studying political science, in a letter to campus newspaper The Daily Bruin. In the YouTube clip she lashed out at the “hordes of Asian people” at UCLA. Speaking in a fake Asian language–“Ohhhh. Ching chong ling long ting tong”–she chastised them notably for talking on their cellphones in the library.

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