Sex-Ed teacher is being punished for saying the word ‘vagina’

Tim McDaniel, an 18-year veteran of the biology department at the public school in Dietrcich, Idaho, might have to figure out how to teach the miracle of life to his high-school students without saying the word “vagina” after a group of unhappy parents found the word offensive, the Atlantic Wire reports. According to what McDaniel told Boise’s Times-News, four parents at the school complained that he taught their children “the biology of an orgasm” and said the word “vagina” during his sex-education lesson to a room of sophomores. Yes, sophomores, some of whom have had vaginas for 14 to 15 years. It’s unclear whether the word “penis” was met with equal offense. But, apparently, allegations from parents also complain that McDaniel has shown the film an Inconvenient Truth in class…

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Can Adderall fix bad schools?

Here’s a modest proposal: Let’s dose up kids stuck in low-income schools with Adderall, even if they don’t have A.D.H.D, to compensate for the advantages enjoyed by kids in richer schools, says the Atlantic Wire. That’s what Dr. Michael Anderson, an Atlanta pediatrician who calls himself a “social justice thinker” has started doing, reports The New York Times’s Alan Schwartz. “I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” Dr. Anderson told Schwartz. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid,” he said. Schwartz notes that he isn’t sure if Anderson is part of a “wider trend,” but cites “some experts” who say the drug is being used in low-income elementary schools on kids whose parents want them to have better performance. And from the sounds of it, Schwartz isn’t alone. “We as a society have been unwilling to invest in very effective nonpharmaceutical interventions for these children and their families,” Dr. Ramesh Raghavan, a child mental-health services researcher at Washington University in St. Louis told Schwartz. “We are effectively forcing local community psychiatrists to use the only tool at their disposal, which is psychotropic medications.”

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This group of 8 black college students has been frisked 92 times by the NYPD

Sure, it’s an informal survey, but a New York Times reporter’s finding that eight black college students he spoke to have been stopped by police a collective 92 times is still a disturbing reminder of how the NYPD wields its stop-and-frisk tactics too heavily against the city’s minorities, the Atlantic Wire reports. In The Times article on New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s aboutface on the efficacy of stop-and-frisk, Michael Powell talked to group of eight black men currently attending the Borough of Manhattan Community College. “Cumulatively, they said they had been stopped 92 times.” That 11.5 friskings per-person, on average, is shocking, although it’s anecdotal evidence, but it’s the stories of these these kids being frisked for seemingly doing nothing other than driving or riding the subway while black that are alarming…

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Is Ralph Nader right about Apple’s Texas campus?

Activist Ralph Nader has written an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook urging the company to refuse the nearly $30 million in Texan taxpayer money already pledged to lure the company to build a $304 million campus in Austin, says Elspeth Reeve for the Atlantic Wire. The money is nothing compared to Apple’s enormous profits, Nader says, but would mean a lot to Texas public schools. Nader writes:

“Already Texas public schools have laid off 32,000 workers, including 12,000 teachers. Another round of $2 billion in funding cuts from the state government is coming this September. Who needs $21 million (plus another $14.5 million) more: the bulging corporate treasury of Apple or the school children of Texas?”

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Kindergarten loans are a sad reality of our time

Following Tuesday’s news that wealthy parents are being targeted for more money from their kids’ expensive private schools comes a very different, but equally terrifying, tale: Some parents are taking out loans to pay for their children’s educations, the Atlantic Wire reports. That’s been happening for years, you say? Well, yes. Except now the loans are being taken out for high school educations—and even kindergarten. There are even lenders who specialize in “pre-college education loans.” Smart Money’s Annamaria Andriotis writes, “Though data is scarce, private school experts and the small number of lenders who provide loans for kindergarten through 12th grade say pre-college loans are becoming more popular. Your Tuition Solution, one of the largest lenders in this space, says demand for the upcoming year is already up: This month, the total dollar amount of loans families requested rose 10% compared to a year ago; at that pace, the company expects its total funding to rise to $20 million for 2012-13. Separately, First Marblehead, which exited the market in 2008, reentered last year as demand for loans began to rise.”

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