Posts Tagged ‘schools’

Advocates seek tighter state reins on homeschooling

Pointing out that it sometimes turns out badly for the kids involved, an emerging group of advocates critical of homeschooling “want stronger oversight, methods to monitor the quality of the education and ways to protect children from the dangers that can unfold behind a family’s closed doors.” One lesson of the American past — which has included long periods in which most states either banned homeschooling outright or subjected it to onerous legal restrictions — is that there’s an inherent conflict of interest when the state is allowed to regulate a substitute (home-based schooling) that competes directly with the state’s own educational enterprise. [Washington Post] More: Charlotte Allen, Weekly Standard.

Schools roundup

  • Judge Neil Gorsuch on education law issues [Clint Bolick and Marty West, Education Next] And if you haven’t read Gorsuch’s dissent in the “burping student” case, A.M. v. Holmes — among his most famous opinions — it’s here;
  • Tables for sharing food at cafeterias: “‘It’s the same objections every single time,’ he said. ‘There’s this myth that they’re going to get sued.'” [Michael Melia, AP/Yahoo]
  • “Why heroin and classroom sex aren’t enough to get teachers fired anymore” [Julia Marsh, New York Post]
  • “…a story of the pitfalls that await teachers who make extended efforts to aid troubled students.” [Andrew Marra, Palm Beach Post]
  • St. Paul, Minn. saga of school discipline and “disparate impact,” cont’d [Katherine Kersten, earlier here, here, and here]
  • “I first found ‘Free Range Kids’ from the Overlawyered site” — one commenter’s tale of the fate of children’s books at a local library after CPSIA came in [Free-Range Kids]

Schools and childhood roundup

  • “California’s Absurd and Insidious ‘Bill of Rights for Children’ Invites Pernicious Meddling” [Jacob Sullum]
  • “1 in 4 U.S. teachers are chronically absent, missing more than 10 days of school,” and rate in some districts reaches 80+%; AFT chief Randi Weingarten cites “root causes” [Alejandra Matos, Washington Post]
  • Steve Horwitz reviews Abby Schachter’s book No Child Left Alone: Getting the Government Out of Parenting [Law and Liberty, earlier] “Napping Child Left in Car While Parents Run Quick Errand, Everyone Loses Their Minds” [Lenore Skenazy; Valley Stream, Long Island]
  • Ex-teacher who passed out after showing up drunk to elementary school field trip gets $18,000 settlement to resign, then further $75,000 on argument town should not have released her blood alcohol results [Fox News; Janesville, Wisc.]
  • Employment complaint filed on behalf of assistant principal against Chappaqua, N.Y. school district makes unfortunate first impression by misspelling name of Horace Greeley High School [Taylor complaint via @TheSuburbanist; Examiner News, Chappaqua Voice]
  • “Youth hockey game leads to adult spectator fight — is the league liable?” [Eugene Volokh]

Parents sue school counselor over student suicide

In Loudoun County, Virginia, the parents of Jay Gallagher are suing school counselor Richard Bader following the suicide of their 18-year-old son [Washington Post]:

The lawsuit accuses the school counselor of negligence and ignoring school guidelines that direct counselors to notify parents if their children express suicidal thoughts.

But Julia Judkins, Bader’s attorney, said the lawsuit does not tell the full story. Judkins said that the teen told Bader not to talk to his parents about their meeting and denied he was suicidal.

“They’ve left out the fact that this young man was 18 years old and he had the right to tell Mr. Bader, ‘Please don’t tell my parents,’” Judkins said.

Can and should the classroom remain politically neutral?

It’s a common hope that public schools will maintain some semblance of broad political neutrality between the great parties and causes in U.S. society. But many have been failing badly at this [Frederick Hess and Chester Finn/U.S. News, AP/Fox News (San Francisco teachers’ union lesson plan)] Related: Washington Post [Montgomery County, Maryland; liberal excused-absence policy following street protests by high school students; dissident student injured]

I’ve got a letter in the Frederick News-Post responding to the paper’s editorial on these topics, which begins with the unfortunate headline “Hate speech is not free speech” and never recovers its footing from there. Related, from Eugene Volokh last year: “No, there’s no ‘hate speech exception to the First Amendment.” (& welcome Instapundit readers)

Schools roundup

“Family of NYC autistic teen found dead to get $2.7M”

14-year-old Avonte Oquendo left his school in Queens without permission and was later found dead. “A law passed after his death required schools to install audible door alarms.” [Associated Press]

Update Sept. 17: Original link above now broken, but many other links to the same AP coverage remain active as of this writing [NBC New York, Insurance Journal, Chicago Tribune, WPIX, etc.] The New York Post’s coverage is here.

Non-Spanish-speaking teacher sues after being denied job teaching Spanish

A third-grade teacher “says the Miami-Dade County School Board discriminated against her by not hiring her for a job. One requirement of the position? Teaching an hour of Spanish per day….Her complaint says the school could have given her the job and then just had someone else teach the foreign language component for one hour per day.” [Miami New Times, Miami Herald]

“Why police were called to a South Jersey third-grade class party”

“A third grader had made a comment about the brownies being served to the class. After another student exclaimed that the remark was ‘racist,’ the school called the Collingswood Police Department, according to the mother of the boy who made the comment.” Police calls seem to be a frequent occurrence in the local schools: “Superintendent Scott Oswald estimated that on some occasions over the last month, officers may have been called to as many as five incidents per day in the district of 1,875 students.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Schools and childhood roundup

  • In the mail: “No Child Left Alone: Getting the Government Out of Parenting,” forthcoming book by Abby Wisse Schachter [more: Pittsburgh Tribune Eric Heyl interview]
  • Neighbor reports Winnipeg mom to child services for letting kids play in fenced-in back yard [Canadian Press/National Post via Amy Alkon]
  • “Public space in Germany is not held hostage by liability lawsuits; Berlin playgrounds are not designed by lawyers.” And they’re awesome [Anna Winger, New York Times]
  • Controversy intensifies further on Scotland’s Named Person scheme [Scottish Mail on Sunday (“complete stranger” will be assigned as Named Person to each child over school holidays), Gerald Warner/CapX, earlier here and here]
  • Omar Mateen’s road to becoming a security guard: “He had issues. All the records were discarded by the school system, per statute. Clearly, if his employer had access to his juvenile record, he would be the last person to own a weapon.” [Yahoo]
  • Kansas Supreme Court orders state legislature to increase funding for poor districts [ABA Journal, earlier here, here, etc.]
  • Left-right cooperation on school reform begins to break down amid demands to toe social justice line [Robert Pondiscio]