Michigan protests: Teachers remain dedicated despite cuts

Michigan fought long and hard to become a union state. Yet our legislature has passed two right-to-work bills Tuesday, pushed through in a lame-duck session, Yahoo! News reports. There was no open debate on the floor. It was, instead, a rush to action. Instead of representatives paying attention to the estimated 10,000 protesters outside the capital, the people who elected them, the house moved quickly to squash their voice. I’m not in a union, so how does this affect me? My husband, a union teacher, was at work Tuesday. My mother, a union teacher, also went to work Tuesday. They are working for the betterment of your children. My husband, a guidance counselor in an urban district, lost sleep debating whether to go to work, or go to Lansing. While he feels that the legislation is wrong, he did not get into education to become involved in politics. He got into education in order make a difference in the lives of his students…

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Watch: Best eReader for under $100

eReaders are some of this year’s hottest gifts. And good news: they have dropped way down in price. But in the battle for Best E-reader for Under $100, which one comes out the winner? Asks Yahoo! News. The basic model Kindle, the Nook Simple Touch, and the Kobo Touch all share a few traits other than a reasonable price. They all feature 6-inch screens, 2 GB of storage, Wi-Fi for downloading books, and good readability. But a few differentiating factors may tip the balance…

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Teacher tying bathroom breaks to good behavior results in student ‘accident’

NBCDFW.com is reporting that a second-grade teacher at J.O. Davis Elementary in Irving, Texas, had a system in which her students were awarded extra bathroom breaks for good behavior, Yahoo! News reports. The system is causing a controversy because of an “accident.” According to NBCDFW.com, the teacher, who is in her first year, would award her students something called “Boyd Bucks” for good behavior which could be redeemed for privileges such as extra bathroom breaks beyond the three allowed during the school day. The system was meant to provide some positive reinforcement to instill discipline in the classroom. The system went sideways, according to the NBCDFW.com story, when one of her charges, an honor roll student, had an overwhelming call of nature and a lack of Boyd Bucks, suffered an “accident” when he was denied a bathroom break by his teacher. This led to the student’s humiliation and a very angry mother…

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Oklahoma and West Virginia left out of education grants ‘lottery’

The U.S. Department of Education has $400 million in grant funds available to what will be 20 or so finalists from around the nation to improve education in innovative and ambitious ways. Neither Oklahoma nor West Virginia will be seeing any of those grant dollars, says Yahoo! News. Race to the Top grants first became available in 2009, through an initiative spearheaded by President Obama to improve academic standards throughout the country. A total of $4.35 billion of federal government funds were allocated for this program. In his speech announcing the new program, Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan emphasized that states applying for grant funds will need to show plans to meet four core, interconnected educational reforms…

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Everything you need to know about eReaders

Whether you’re buying, gifting, or expecting an eReader this holiday season, the market’s changed a lot from last year and the year before that. Here’s a complete buyer’s guide, starting with the basics and working through the latest trends, says Yahoo! News. Kindle, Nook, or … ? What exactly an “eReader” is, to you, might depend on where you first saw them. Barnes and Noble is pushing its Nook line pretty hard through its retail stores, while the Kindle takes over the front page of Amazon.com every time a new model comes out. There are other eReader devices, though. Kobo sells a line of basic but dependable black-and-white eReaders, which have tons of fans of their own, and a color version’s on its way. Other companies, like Sony, have their own lines; and there are eReader apps for PCs, smartphones, and tablets, which tie into your Kindle, Nook or Kobo device and can even save your place in a book…

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Chicago unveils plans to boost art, cultural opportunities

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has unveiled a plan that would emphasize the arts in the city in a new way, Yahoo! News reports. The arts would become a “core subject” in Chicago Public Schools and classes in drama, dance, visual art, and music would be offered at every grade level. In addition, the plan outlines having at least one teacher qualified to teach these subjects at each school. Here are some facts and details about the plan, including what it would mean for the city and CPS students…

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Former teacher: Unions are bad for teachers

During my years as a teacher, I witnessed more harm than good as a result of the stranglehold my union had on the district where I worked. This is why I became a supporter of Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisc.). Most of my former colleagues cringe at the mention of Walker’s name, but I admire him for taking a stand against public sector unions, says Kristie Farnham for Yahoo! News. First of all, unions protect incompetent teachers. Under the protection of a union, it is nearly impossible for teachers to be fired simply because they aren’t very good at doing what they’re paid to do. I’ve also seen ineffective teachers keep their jobs while highly effective teachers with less seniority have been laid off. Under union guidelines, if cuts need to be made, it isn’t the lowest performing teachers who lose their positions; instead, it’s the ones with the least amount of seniority…

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Michigan school elects special needs homecoming king

Fall in high school means one thing perhaps more than others: football. And with football comes the ritual homecoming king and queen selections. In Linden, Michigan, a small rural community located between Flint, Michigan, and Detroit, it’s no different, Yahoo! News reports. Linden is just an average small town, but in quality of life and paying it forward, it’s a world leader, particularly at the local high school. Students at Linden High School elected a special needs boy, Danny Leideker, as their homecoming king…

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Pennsylvania ready to put scholarship program for failing schools to test

Families and students throughout Pennsylvania got their first glimpse of the news list of failing schools in the Keystone State, Yahoo! News reports. The Pennsylvania Department of Education published the list of the bottom 15 percent of schools based on combined scores in reading and math from the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test. This year’s list is significant because an additional $50 million will be available to students that reside in a failing school’s geographical boundary for a scholarship to another public school or a private school, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Where are the majority of the failing schools and how many are on the list? This year’s list includes 414 schools throughout 74 Pennsylvania school districts, and according to the Associated Press, nearly 40 percent of the schools were in the Philadelphia City School District, which is the largest district in Pennsylvania. However, schools from several counties populate the list…

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Opinion: Despite what Romney says, fewer cops, firemen, and teachers would be bad for America

Mitt Romney, contender for the office of President of the United States, seems determined to prove repeatedly that he cares about as much for American citizens as he does for foot fungus, says Andrew Riggio for Yahoo! News. His recent comments about America needing fewer cops, firefighters and teachers just reinforce his stance that the average American is worthless — just look at what Romney says in this FOX News video. Saying we need fewer cops is saying Americans deserve less protection from criminals. It’s not like the crime rate in the United States as dropped to zero. It’s not like people stopped selling drugs, robbing people, or committing murder. All you need to do is watch any television news broadcast to know crime is a problem. Saying we need fewer firefighters is saying it’s just fine for Americans to burn to death. It’s saying we don’t need people to fight raging wildfires. It’s saying we don’t need as many rescue professionals. Who does Romney think is going to stop thousands of acres of Colorado from going up in flames — schoolchildren with water pistols?

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